The weather is warming up, flowers begin to bloom, the birds are singing – spring is here, and thoughts begin to turn to lighter, fresher food. Salads, grilled food, fruit, take center stage, as do the bright and light wines which we love to drink with them. Pay attention to your food and wine pairings and your spring entertaining will be doubly enjoyable.
Now is the time for the full bodied reds of winter to make way for Chardonnays, Zinfandels, Sauvignon Blanc and the like. Spring wines should be light, fresh and perhaps with on the light side of the alcohol register.
Riesling, in its light, crisp and dry incarnations is a beautiful white wine to pair with fish and shellfish. In particular it matches ideally with smoked salmon. A glass of Riesling with smoked salmon pate and a salad is the perfect springtime lunch.
A light rose, especially those originating from Provence or Rioja pair delightfully with dishes from the Mediterranean such as Salad Nicoise and grilled tuna.
For a special occasion, seek out a light and sparkling Prosecco, a little like champagne but rounder, softer, and more affordable. Make Bellinis with the earliest soft fruit, and use it to toast the coming of spring.
When spring arrives most of us feel a longing for salads and vegetables, and it can be hard to find the right wine to pair with a dish which has the slight acidity of a citrus or vinegar based dressing. But a hearty salad, especially one using cheese or nuts, does call for wine. Try one of the lighter, fresher reds, such as a young Pinot Noir, which will call out the complex flavors of the meal.
Shellfish really comes into its own in spring, and scallops drizzled with a sweet and spicy sauce will feature on many foodie tables as the weather warms up. White wine is called for of course, and Chardonnay is the go to wine for seafood for many of us. But try instead a flowery Sauvignon Blanc which will cope with complex flavors of the sauce, as well as the sweetness of seared scallops.
Lamb is a classic springtime favorite, and a first class leg of organic lamb roasted and served simply with new potatoes and steamed spring vegetables is a seasonal must. Lamb needs red wine, and Chianti is a light and fresh red which retains the gaiety of spring whilst being robust enough to stand up to lamb and even to the traditional mint sauce accompaniment.
Springtime is a time for enjoying fresh food and wine pairings as the world comes back to life. It’s a time for adventure, and for trying out new things. Let’s leave behind the winter chills and the comfort food, and step out with some bold new taste combinations