Summer food and wine pairings

Summer food and wine pairings

31st Jul 2012

Some summer recipe ideas, paired with great value wines!

The great thing about enjoying your favourite summer meals with a perfect wine pairing, is that it doesn't actually have to be sunny. Considering the UK's climate this is a good thing really! Nevertheless, summer is definitely our favourite foodie season, for it brings – hopefully – BBQ's, spicy lamb chops, home-made burgers, steaks, fish, seafood salads, asparagus (semillon works best), strawberries and cream – to be enjoyed with fantastic roses, English sparkling wine and BBQ friendly Malbecs.

We know it's a cliché, but how could we let the season pass without a guide to summer food and wine pairing. Of course, it all depends on what your idea of summer food is? If summer means BBQ or grilled red meats, then you''ll need equally robust, strong flavoured wines to match the food- Malbec or a good Californian Zinfandel is a BBQs best friend. Softer red grapes like Pinot Noir are wonderful, slightly chilled in the summer and work fantastically well with grilled lamb chops.

If, however, you crave nothing but lighter salads during the summer months, then keep the wine pairing simple. Vinegar in salad dressings destroys the flavour of the wine so if you want salad as a meal then we recommend dressing the salad with a little white wine or lemon juice. Sauvignon Blanc makes a nice accompaniment to salads or, if you are pushing the boat out with Salad Nicoise then drink a good Sancerre rose for a real treat. A prawn salad calls out for a dry, rich white – New Zealand Chardonnay, Riesling or Sparkling is a good match.

Another important thing to consider when pairing wine with food is the sauce, often a much more important factor than the meat itself. Tomato based sauces for example will obliterate fine red wines, young fruity wines like Zinfandel are a better bet. Marinades and sauces require strong, robust wines.

Whatever your preference, there is no shortage of great value summer wines out there. Here are a few of our favourite wines, paired with one of our favourite summer menus. The following selections are available from on-line merchants, supermarkets and retailers, many of which offer free delivery. The wines are some of the best examples of what countries like South Africa and Chile can do, fruit rich but also elegant wines at affordable prices. Great summer drinking, but good all year round too. Enjoy!

Starter: Salmon and dill fish cakes (recipe available at BBC Good Food -

The perfect way to start your summer menu, these fishcakes are surprisingly easy to make and delicious every time. A foolproof recipe for a crowd pleasing starter!

Try it with these wines....

2010 Zonnebloem Ltd Edition Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch, South Africa, £8.99

This is one of the most thrilling Chenin Blancs ever, at a reasonable price. Oak aged but beautifully balanced, this is a soft, rich and delicious wine with ripe apple, banana and citrus flavours.

2010 Fairview Darling Chenin Blanc, Paarl, South Africa, £8.29

Another great Chenin, although in a very different style to the wine above. Ripe apple and citrus fruit give way to a lovely mineral edge and a good backbone.

Main Course: Sticky Chicken with Lemon and Garlic (recipe available at -

Our favourite summer BBQ recipe, these chicken thighs, marinated in lemon, garlic and rosemary are extremely moreish, so make sure to make plenty. Guest's devour these on sight.

Try it with these wines....

2005 Victoria Creek Chardonnay, South Australia, Australia, £6.99

A lot of Australian Chardonnay can be overripe and almost sickly to drink but not this one. Refreshingly un-oaked, it impresses with its strong aromas of lemon and vanilla, ripe peach and apple on the palate are balanced by a good acidity.

2011 Carmen Rose Syrah Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo, Chile, £7.89

A strong contender for the best rosé I have tried this year, and not just for summer drinking. You can enjoy this full, rich, delicious rosé all year round. It combines the raspberry and redcurrant fruit flavours of Syrah with hints of blackcurrant and cassis.

Dessert: Lemon Posset (recipe available at BBC Good Food -

Lemon Posset is a great end to your summer meal – light, tangy and refreshing, it goes rather well accompanied by a glass of bubbly.

Try it with this wine...

NV Tesco Finest Bisol Prosecco di Valdobbiadene, Vento, Italy, £9.49

Italy's answer to Cava, this pear drop and citrus sparkling wine is wonderfully refreshing and will cut across the sweetness of the Posset nicely.

Bon appetite!

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