Perfect Summer Food & Wine Pairings

Some people have a natural knack for knowing which wines enhance which foods. Then there are the rest of us. To give you a leg up at your next soirée, I’ve asked a pair of experts to share two of their favorite summer food-wine pairings.

Jill Silverman Hough’s  new book is 100 Perfect Pairings: Small Plates to Enjoy with Wines You Love (Wiley, 2010).  Hough starts with cheese, moves on to steak, and offers this advice:

You almost can’t beat Brie and Chardonnay – because both are, generally, rich and weighty. More buttery Chardonnays will complement Brie’s creamy qualities and crisper Chards will provide a mouth-cleansing contrast. If you want to go the pairing one step better, add more rich and creamy elements to your Brie – for example, 100 Perfect Pairings’ Baked Brie and Roasted Garlic in Phyllo.

And, there’s a reason why steak and Cabernet Sauvignon is classic. The big, full flavors in the meat match up to big, full flavors in the wine, and a steak’s fat can help tame Cab’s sometimes-big tannins (tannins create that dry-mouth sensation often associated with red wine). A dab of Dijon mustard can help seal the deal. Try a thin smear over a grilled rib-eye this summer.

Turn now to Jeanette Hurt, who has just co-authored The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wine & Food Pairing (Alpha, 2010). Hurt discusses fried chicken and salads, and the wines that love them:

Fried foods and sparkling wine or Champagne are a match made in heaven - the effervescence of the wine clears the palate from the heaviness of the fried foods, and fried chicken is a traditional picnic, and often, Fourth of July, favorite. Sparkling wines also pair smashingly with potato chips...kind of a low-brow, high-brow pairing, but it works oh so well.

As far as salad and Pinot Grigio goes, salads - especially those made with a vinaigrette, need a light, acidic wine. Also, salads often have a degree of bitterness so you'll want to steer clear of anything with tannins, and instead pair them with a lighter wine, of which Pinot Grigio fits the bill.

Go forth, and pair with confidence.

What foods do you think pair well with wine? Chime in below!


Like this? Read these!
- 4 Tips for Getting the Best Wine Value
- How to Order Wine in a Restaurant Without Getting Gouged
 To Your Health: Benefits of Red Wine


Cheryl Sternman Rule is a widely-published food writer and the voice behind the blog 5 Second Rule. Read all of Cheryl's iVillage posts here.

Connect with Us
Follow Our Pins

Yummy recipes, DIY projects, home decor, fashion and more curated by iVillage staffers.

Follow Our Tweets

The very dirty truth about fashion internships... DUN DUN @srslytheshow

On Instagram

Behind-the-scenes pics from iVillage.

Best of the Web