Ultimate Wine Pairing Guide For Every Season
There’s an endless supply of regions to explore and bottles to enjoy in the wide world of wine. So many that it can be difficult deciding where to start.
One great way to broaden your vino horizons is to pair wines from around the world with some of your favorite seasonal meals.
From the heavy, hearty meals of winter to the light, fresh dishes of summer, the flavors, aromas and vibes of each season pair best with different ranges of wine.
On that note, let’s pull out the old calendar and dive into Wine Insiders’ Ultimate Seasonal Pairing Guide:
Winter Wine Pairings
Winter may be the darkest and coldest of seasons, but it also offers perfect opportunities to end one year and start the next with some exquisite wine.
As you escape short, blustery days and bundle up for long nights inside, we recommend enjoying hearty meals with bold vino to match.
On that note, here are some of our favorite food-wine pairings for the chilliest time of year:
- Osso Buco and Barolo
- Beef Stroganoff and Syrah
- Shepherd’s Pie and Sangiovese
- Chicken Parm and Chianti Classico
- Cajun Jambalaya and Syrah
- Chickpea Curry and Merlot
- Lamb Chops with Pinot Noir
- Spiced Veggie + Lentil Soup and Sanvigovese
- Chicken Pot Pie and Oaked Chardonnay
- Braised Lamb and Syrah
As you can gather, most of these pairings are heavy - - pun intended - - on delicious harmonies between meats/tomatoes/potatoes and tasty red wines like Barolo, Syrah, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir and Merlot.
We like to emphasize these pairings from December-March as they are a perfect antidote to the blustery woes of a chilly winter.
However, as you can also see, white wine pairings can make for a tasty change of pace after a cold day - - provided you follow one rule:
Opt for white wines with relatively fuller bodies and bolder personalities (e.g., Oaked Chardonnay, Semillon, Viognier), as anything else will underwhelm the hearty goodness of most wintry spreads.
Wine Insiders Tip: Check out our best-selling Winter Wonderland Wine Case for a lovely selection of bottles fit for this chilly season.
Spring Wine Pairings
Ah, spring: the season of rejuvenation.
After the bleakness of winter, we once again return to gentle warmth, blue skies, blooming flowers and, for our purposes, an exciting new range of food and wines to pair.
While there are myriad dishes that scream “spring!”, here are a few of our favorites and their ideal wine companions:
- Pasta Primavera and Dry Riesling
- French Potato Salad and Sauvignon Blanc
- Mushroom Risotto and Pinot Grigio
- Watercress Soup and German Riesling
- Shrimp Scampi and Sauvignon Blanc
- Lemon Ricotta Pasta and Sauvignon Blanc
- Caprese Salad and Albariño
- Eggplant Pizza and rosé
- Grilled Salmon with Spring Vegetables and Pinot Noir
- White Pizza and Lambrusco di Sorbara
As you see, we like this season’s meals fresh, light and green, emphasizing the breezy delights of an idyllic spring spent in green grass with good company.
These dishes often pair best with a wide range of your favorite white wines, from light, dry options like a Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, Dry Riesling or Pinot Grigio to the occasional fuller option like Oaked Chardonnay or even a sparkling favorite like Prosecco.
However, pink and red wine lovers fear not, as a yummy mix of charming spring dishes pair marvelously with your favorite rosé and lighter-bodied reds like Pinot Noir, Lambrusco or Gamay.
Wine Insiders Tip: Refresh your wine rack and swing into spring with a mix of lovely whites and light reds from our signature Spring Collection.
Summer Wine Pairings
We now arrive at many people’s favorite season: summer!
This season of fun in the sun is perfect for some delicious wine - - provided you properly pair your bottles.
On that note, here are some of our favorite pairings for a midsummer’s day:
- Tomato Bruschetta and Pinot Grigio
- Veggie Skewers and Grüner Veltliner
- Greek Salad and Sauvignon Blanc
- Potato Salad and Albariño
- Margherita Pizza and Pinot Grigio
- Galician Octopus and Albariño
- Paella and rosé
- Spicy Thai Noodles and Riesling
- Spicy BBQ Ribs and Zinfandel
- Black Bean Burger and Beaujolais
You’ll notice we emphasize lighter white wines such as Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, Grüner Veltliner and dry Riesling.
These varietals offer fresh flavors in an easy-drinking package, making them ideal companions to the season's tasty snacks and high temperatures.
As with spring, many classic summer dishes - particularly those of grilled/BBQ varieties - taste best with flavorful, light to medium-bodied red wines like Zinfandel or Beaujolais. You can even try rosé!
These bottles occupy a pleasing middle ground: strong enough to hold their own with charred meats/veggies and flavorful spices, mild enough to enjoy on a hot day.
Wine Insiders Tip: Check out our exciting Summer Collection next time you order some tasty, warm-weather vino. From crisp, refreshing whites and rosés to a range of your favorite reds, you can’t go wrong!
Fall Wine Pairings
Last but not least, we arrive at fall- perhaps the most beautiful season.
As the leaves transition to dazzling shades of red, yellow and orange and cooler weather brings a bountiful harvest, a whole new range of food-wine pairings arrives, ready to explore.
Here are some of Wine Insiders’ autumn favorites:
- Tomato Soup and Chianti
- Chicken, Leek + Mushroom Pie and Pinot Noir
- Spicy Chili and California Zinfandel
- Lasagna and Barbera
- Venison and Pinot Noir
- Roasted Veggies and Grenache
- Butter Chicken and Viognier
- Grilled Pumpkin Salad and Oaked Chardonnay
- Pumpkin Pie and Moscato
- Apple Pie and Moscato d’Asti
You’ll notice our recommendations fall somewhere in between the lighter dishes and breezier vino of summer and the hearty dishes and bolder vino of winter.
Like the season itself, autumn wine pairings fall into a delightful middle ground, allowing you to enjoy a range of your favorite, fuller whites like oaked Chardonnay, Viognier and Muscat alongside delicious reds like Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Chianti, Grenache and Barbera.
Alongside your comfiest sweater, Halloween decorations and Thanksgiving festivities, the perfect food-vino pairing can easily be a staple of your ideal fall.
Wine Insiders Tip: Dive into our Fall Collection for warming reds, luscious whites and more delicious wines for pairing with hearty dishes and fall festivities.
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