As spring approaches, many people tend to prepare fresh, light meals over the heavy winter comfort foods. If you think your lighter fare is limited to white wines, think again. There are plenty of spring foods that pair incredibly with a wide range of wines. Below, check out some of our favorite spring wine pairings.
Pairing fresh fruit with wine might seem a bit difficult at first due to the inherent sweetness of fruit, but it can be done. Whether you’re serving fresh fruit on its own simply sliced, or incorporating it into a dessert like a strawberry tart, there is a wine that you can pair it with. The most general rule about pairing wine and fresh fruit is to pick a wine that is even sweeter than the fruit you plan to eat. Picking a wine that is sweeter than the fruit you’re serving ensures that the sweetness of the wine won’t be lost in the fruit and will still be able to shine. Another option to consider are wines that have floral notes, as these tend to become more pronounced when paired with fruit. Try an effervescent Moscato, a sweet Riesling or a Gewurztraminer with notes of rose. If you want a little bit more bubble, choose a sparkling wine, like Lambrusco or Schiava.
Easter falls on March 27th this year and there’s a good chance your family is going to purchase a honey-baked ham, or that you will prepare your own honey-baked ham. Honey-baked ham is both sweet and deliciously fatty, so you need a wine that has enough acid and sweetness to cut through the fat. Pinot Noir is a perfect pairing for honey-baked ham because it features sweet fruits, like luscious cherries. Another wine that pairs well with honey-baked ham is a Rose that doesn’t have too high of an acidity and that also does not have strong flavors of oak.
Salads and other green vegetables are a huge part of spring menus and they do require a bit of thought when it comes to wine pairing. Acidity is important when picking a wine to pair with a salad; you want the wine to have more acidity than the salad you are serving so that the wine doesn’t taste flat. Generally, white wines are a better option than red when pairing with salads. Many spring salads include greens like kale, which has a bitter taste, so you want to avoid pairing a kale-based salad with a red wine. However, there is an exception: If you are serving a steak salad, a light red wine would be an excellent pairing. Wines that feature “green” notes like bell pepper work perfectly with leafy greens. Consider a Sauvignon Blanc, Lambrusco or Verdejo wine to serve with your fresh spring salad.
Lamb is another popular meat for spring dishes and it happens to be one of the most wine-friendly meats there is. Choosing your wine pairing for lamb ultimately depends upon the type of seasonings you use or the dishes you make. For instance, an Irish stew featuring lamb, root vegetables and herbs like rosemary or thyme pairs wonderfully with country red wines, such as a complex, but not too tannic, Cotes du Rhone Villages wine. Cuts like leg of lamb or rack of lamb are frequent choices for Easter dinners, and there are many wines to choose from for this pairing. Bordeaux, Pinot Noir, cru Beaujolais or a dry Rose are all excellent pairings for leg or rack of lamb dishes.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to pairing wine and food is to drink what you like and flavors that you are attracted to. Spring foods, which tend to feature fresh, earthy, sweet and succulent flavors, pair well with a wide variety of wines. Spend some time exploring different flavor combinations to find your absolute favorite spring pairings.