One of the joys of summer is the amazing fruit. Last night, I made a fruit salad of blueberries, raspberries and cherries. It was heaven on earth. But the big question: What wines go best with fruit? Do blueberries go better with one type of wine? Raspberries with another? Who knows. I did a lot of Googling and found a lot of answers that I will share with you in this article.
The Most Important Rule: Experiment
Virtually all the sites I read either directly said or strongly implied that they were making recommendations and that you should feel free to try any combination of fruit and wine that appeals to you.
It made me think that I want to do some small tastings where we line up a bunch of fruits and a bunch of wines and determine the combos each of us likes best and worst and then share our findings with one another. I think we could learn a ton from this exercise and of course have a ton of fun.
The Next Most Important Rule: Let the Wine Shine
Bodegas Monje says that “In the pairing of fruit and wine, we try to find the perfect balance between each particular wine and the sweetness and acidity of the fruit, leaving the flavors of the fruit always in the background and letting the wine shine. For example, if we would pick a sweet wine and a very sweet and mature fruit, the combination wouldn’t enhance the flavors of the wine.”
In the best of worlds, both the wine and the fruit should shine.
Let’s Start with Strawberries
To give you a feel for the wide variety of answers I found when Googling, I will walk you through the results I got for strawberries. Some sites recommended Sparkling Wine, saying that nothing compliments a Sparkling Wine’s elegant bubbles better than the flavor of luscious strawberries. Some sites recommended Rosé. One site suggested Cabernet Franc. Another highlighted Muscat as a great pairing. Still another talked about the intense red shade of strawberries, saying that pairing this fruit, along with raspberries, blueberries, cherries and blackberries, with a wine of similar tones made sense. They suggested Rosés and young, fruity, red wines. I would think that a Grenache, which is a fruit-forward dry red, would be a good pairing.
Clearly, my walk down Strawberry Fields indicates that experimentation is the name of the game. Interesting though that I didn’t see any big, bad reds on the list for strawberries. It might be fun to try that combo.
Now Let’s Look at the Wines
For this section, I will include some of the most popular wines:
- Rosé: watermelon, red plums, strawberries, melons and blackberries
- Sparkling Wine: apples, pears, peaches, grapes, peaches, strawberries, mango and blueberries
- Cabernet: plums, cherries, figs and blackberries.
- Zinfandel: blackberries
- Pinot Noir: Apples and figs
- Sauvignon Blanc: Mangoes, pears, bananas and cantaloupes
- Pinot Grigio: Apples and pears
What Wine Goes Best with Fruit Salad?
Gourmet Sleuth did an amazing job of coming up with wines for different fruit combinations. Here are just a few of their great recommendations:
- Apples and pears: Sparkling Wine
- Apples, pears and peaches: Cabernet
- Grapes, peaches, blueberries: Sparkling Wine
- Apples, figs and grapes: Merlot
- Berries, cherries and apples: Pinot Noir
- Fig, melon and cherries: Port (yum!)
A Few More Great-Sounding Combos from Food and Wine
Food and Wine offered up mangoes and coconuts with Sauvignon Blanc, saying that this combo will instantly transport you to the tropics. “The duo of fruits offers sweet flavors and meaty textures, which play off the delicate floral notes of Sauvignon Blanc.”
Food and Wine also suggest blueberries with Syrah, saying that “Many Syrahs exhibit notes of blueberry, vanilla, and toasted oak. What could be a better match than pairing a glass with the ripe, dark fruit that gives it that delicious-smelling bouquet?”
In this article, I tapped into the fun of pairing wine with fruit. I’m sure you can see that the sky is the limit. If you have any fantastic combos you can share with us, I would be grateful.
Cheers to a summer of figuring out what wines go best with fruit.