from Vancouver’s celebrated Wine Diva, Daenna Van Mulligan
Forget about decking the halls; for many of us summer truly is the best time of the year. Long sunny days and warm sultry nights have us dreaming of dining al fresco, it is a time of bountiful produce and simple yet flavorful dishes.
Summer is also the perfect time to experiment with wine and food pairings. Meals are more casual and everyone is relaxed, ergo, no one is going to complain if the pairings aren’t perfection.
Vegetarian dishes are commonplace in the summer; it’s not difficult to get your daily requirements of healthy veggies right now. Grilling is the other major component of summer dining; it adds depth and intensity to foods.
Don’t panic, have fun with your pairings.
This vibrant white generally offers crisp fruit, citrus and herbal notes. A mixed bean salad with vinaigrette, goat cheese and herb quiche or asparagus all shine with a tangy savvy. Sushi and white fish also have an affinity for this verdant variety.
One of the world’s great white grapes, Riesling is an absolute dream with summer dishes. It vibrates with acidity and is often rounded out with a gentle sweetness, which loves to be partnered with spicier dishes. Asian cuisines such as curries or chili-spiked noodle stir-fries are outstanding. It is also great with German potato salad or creamy sauces such as aioli and hollandaise.
Love it or hate it, oaked Chardonnay can be an epiphany when paired with the right fare. Corn is gastronomic delight with Chardonnay. Sweet and buttery, it is a complimentary marriage, be it corn chowder, corn bread or simply on the cob. You’ll also feel the love with lobster dipped in butter sauce, grilled chicken or smoked cheeses.
Fragrant, silky and lighter in body than many red wines, Pinot Noir is your go-to wine for creamy mushroom pastas and fresh salmon but it’s also fast friends with fattier meats, pork belly or pork tenderloin.
Cabernet Franc is a wonderful red for food. Spicy grilled sausage, duck or game meats will frolic with it, as will blue cheese. Somewhat darker and more intense, Cabernet Franc’s son, Cabernet Sauvignon will boldly suit grilled steaks, lamb shank or a juicy burger dripping with wild mushrooms and sharp cheddar.
The great equalizer: Rosé
A beautiful rosé – dry or with just a kiss of residual sweetness is arguably the perfect food wine. From salads or gazpacho, tomato based dishes, gourmet thin-crust pizza, grilled vegetables or ratatouille to salmon, pork or chicken rosé is the ultimate companion. It has the acidity of a white with a structure similar to a light-bodied red. In addition, it’s demands to be chilled and is attractive in the glass. You’ll never go wrong pouring pink.