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Food and Wine Pairings for Spring

Food and Wine Pairings for Spring

Celebrate the start of spring with food and wine pairings

Spring has arrived, supposedly. Judging from the freezing temperatures and snow flurries outside, a healthy dose of doubt is warranted. But very soon there will be proof of the changing seasons, like those first spring vegetables, tender and fresh, serving notice that the days of cabbage and potatoes are coming to an end. (Not that there’s anything wrong with cabbage and potatoes, but at little variety after a long winter is something to cheer.)

So what should we be looking out for? Peas of course, and spring onions, asparagus, early greens, and tiny little beets and turnips all seem to be on the roster each year, along with the more elusive ramps and fiddlehead ferns. The arriving bounty can be used in many ways, from the classic Pasta Primavera, (literally Spring Pasta) to more adventurous offerings — there’s no limit to what you can cook over the coming months. What follows are a few suggested recipes to get you started, with some wine pairing ideas perfect for welcoming in the warmth of spring, if and when it arrives.

Click here for food and wine pairings for spring.

— Gregory Del Piaz, Snooth

22 Tasty Food & Wine Pairings for Spring

Spring's arrival is unlike any other season's entrance. After barren winter months, a fresh crop of vegetables, fruits, and flowers become available, and as such, rousing wine pairings to complement them. Fireside sips and snacks are swiftly replaced with long afternoon park picnics—in other words, it's the perfect recipe for magical food and wine moments.

It's worth noting that the most important rule to food and wine pairings is that there are no rules. Experimentation reigns supreme when it comes to deciding what to drink with your favorite fare, as it can help you determine what you enjoy—and what you'll skip out on next time. Wine snobs be damned, if you want to drink your sauvignon blanc with potato chips whilst sunning on a patch of grass, by all means, lead the way.

That being said, if you need a few ideas to kick-start the spring season, you're in luck because we tapped a handful of industry experts (sommeliers, chefs, winemakers—the usual suspects) to give us 22 mouth-watering pairings to test out in the months ahead. Ahead, tasty ideas and where to shop their wine picks.

Rosé + Fish Tacos

For Joel Gott, vintner of Joel Gott Wines, pairing wine with food is all about experimenting with cuisine-friendly wines. "I recommend trying a rosé specifically, as it can be so versatile and work with all kinds of foods," he says. "Right now I'm really liking it with fish tacos, but it's just as good with a bag of potato chips or a simple cheese plate." His bottle starts with ripe stone fruit flavors, followed by crisp, refreshing acidity and a clean, balanced finish.

This Herb-Packed Spring Soup Is as Simple As it Gets

Whether it&aposs a hearty potato-leek soup to warm you up in winter or a refreshing chilled tomato soup for summer, soup delivers year-round comfort. In this week&aposs episode of Mad Genius: Home Edition, our Culinary Director-at-Large Justin Chapple whips up one that&aposs perfect for spring—spring herbs soup with fregola and pancetta. The recipe was inspired by s&aposerbuzzu, an herb- and greens-packed Sardinian soup, and it&aposs a great way to take advantage of the fresh herbs you can get at the market. It&aposs also incredibly simple to make, since everything comes together in one pot and two simple steps. You&aposll have a finished soup ready within the hour.

Read on for Justin&aposs method and tips, and follow along with the video above.

Start with the Pancetta

Grab your Dutch oven and pour in the extra-virgin olive oil, heating it over medium. Next, add the pancetta—you&aposre looking to render out the fat here, not to crisp it up, Justin notes. Once the fat is rendered, incorporate the chopped yellow onion and season the mixture with salt and pepper. 


When the onions have softened, pour in the dry white wine to deglaze the pot, taking care to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Cook for four to five minutes until the liquid has almost completely reduced. 

Add the Pasta and Cook

Then, add in the fregola sarda—you can sub in orzo or Israeli couscous if you can&apost find the fregola𠅊long with the thinly sliced garlic, fennel seeds, and crushed red pepper. Let everything cook until it&aposs "nice and fragrant."

Pour in the broth next, bringing the mixture to a boil over medium-high. When it&aposs boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and cook until the fregola is "just al dente," about 14 to 16 minutes. (If you&aposre using couscous or orzo, cook for eight to 10 minutes instead.)

Get Your Herbs

While the broth cooks, you&aposll want to prep all. those. herbs. And luckily, Justin has a helpful trick for removing the stems from the parsley. Grab a perforated or slotted spoon, insert the sprig into one of the holes, and pull it through. This will separate the leaves from the stem and save you a ton of time. With the tarragon, on the other hand, you&aposll want to be more gentle when removing the leaves with your fingers to avoid bruising them. 

Make sure to use a sharp knife when chopping the herbs, and don&apost chop aggressively, either—they&aposre tender, after all. As Justin demonstrates with his knife, the motion you want to use is more like a slice than a rough chop.

Add the Beans and Herbs, and Serve

Next, reduce the heat and get your cannellini beans into the pot—once they&aposre warmed up, stir in the herbs. Then, turn the heat off immediately and enjoy the soup right away. (Don&apost forget a little pecorino Romano to sprinkle on top, too.) Incorporating the herbs at the last minute helps preserve their color and flavor. If you want to make it ahead of time, simply hold off on adding the herbs until right before you serve. 

"I am not one to choose favorites, but I got to say the tarragon is really standing out here," Justin says. "It&aposs light, but it&aposs super satisfying. This is so perfect for spring."

Food And Wine Pairings For Beginners

For those of you who haven’t tasted our wine, our premium California wine pairs well with a broad range of palates making it the perfect table wine. At We The People Wine, we pride ourselves knowing our wine is very versatile – one that goes with a wide selection of foods.

Food pairing is based mostly on personal preference, so what tastes good together for you, might not be another person’s first choice. Although, if you’re like us, any wine tastes good with all food!

For beginners it’s important to know a little more about the wines we offer before selecting your palette. Our 2019 California Chardonnay appears with gilded straw color and invites with aromas of white flowers. Stone fruit and baked apples drive the flavor profile while a medium body balances fresh acidity in its clean finish. While our 2018 California Cabernet Sauvignon boasts a deep ruby and purple hue with flavors of blueberry and cherry. Soft tannins round the full-bodied mouthfeel with a velvet finish.

Because our Chardonnay was grown in a cool-climate it pairs perfectly with light and delicate food such as raw and lightly cooked shellfish, such as oysters, steamed crab, or grilled fish. It also pairs well with many pasta or risotto dishes with spring vegetables and creamy vegetable soups.

As for our Cabernet Sauvignon you don’t have to look very far. Ideally any red meat, especially served rare, is going to pair well with the Cabernet Sauvignon. At We The People Wine we highly recommend filet mignon, braised lamb, or veal parmesan.

Spring Food and Wine Pairings

Springtime in Chicago is a very uncertain time of the year. But, one thing you can count on is this list of spring wines and spring foods. We have compiled four different Riesling wine and food pairings to help you plan your next springtime luncheon.

What to Pair with a Riesling

Dry Riesling and Chinese Chicken Salad
Rieslings are not all sweet. These rich, dry Rieslings pair well with most Chinese food, so to stick with our spring wines and salads, pair a dry Riesling with a Chinese Chicken Salad.

Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe. You will need:

  • 3 ½ boneless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
  • 1 head lettuce, torn
  • 4 sliced green onions
  • 4 thinly sliced celery stalks
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 6 ounces crisped Chinese noodles
  • 6 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • 4 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup peanut oil

Combine chicken, lettuce, green onion, celery and walnuts in a large salad bowl.
Add sesame seeds. Set aside.
For dressing: In a separate bowl. Dissolve sugar and salt in vinegar. Shake well.
Add oil. Blend well.
Add dressing to salad before serving and toss to coat.

Off-dry Riesling and Spicy Shrimp Salad
Off-dry, or semi-sweet, Rieslings are very universal. In fact, Riesling is arguably the most versatile of wines because it pairs well with a number of foods. Try a medium-bodied, aromatic, off-dry (semi-sweet) Riesling with any seafood that has a little kick, such as a Spicy Shrimp Salad.

Spicy Shrimp Salad Recipe. You will need:

  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tsp light brown sugar
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 pound cooked and peeled small shrimp
  • 1 cup thinly sliced bell peppers (red, yellow and/or green)
  • 1 cup seeded, thinly sliced cucumber
  • 1/8 cup chopped basil
  • 1/8 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/8 cup chopped mint

In a large bowl, whisk the lime juice, canola oil, light brown sugar and crushed red pepper.
Add shrimp, bell peppers and cucumber. Toss.
Add basil, cilantro and mint. Toss once more to coat.

Sweet Riesling and Peach and Spinach Salad
Sweet Riesling goes well with sweet salads. Salads topped with fruit slices, or salads of just fruit, are the ticket to enjoying a sweet Riesling to the fullest. Try pairing it with this Peach and Spinach Salad.

Peach and Spinach Salad Recipe. You will need:

  • ¾ cup pecans
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 peeled and sliced peaches
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • ¼ cup poppyseed salad dressing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Arrange pecans on a cookie sheet and drizzle with honey before putting in the oven. Roast for 7-10 minutes or until they begin to darken.
Combine peaches, pecans and spinach in a large salad bowl and toss with poppyseed dressing until evenly coated.

Sweetest (Dessert) Riesling and Strawberries and Cream
Typically, the most expensive of wines made from Riesling are dessert wines. These wines are very citrusy sweet and go well with apricots, pears, peaches, lemons and limes. Since it is often consumed as dessert on its own, try pairing a glass of dessert Riesling with something simple: Strawberries and Cream.

Strawberries and Cream Recipe. You’ll need:

  • 3 cups halved strawberries
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar

Whip the heavy whipping cream until partially stiff.
Stir in vanilla and sugar until truly stiff.
Alternate spooning layers of strawberries and cream into a serving dish.

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Creative rose wine pairings that transform the vibrant wine

As the blushing pink hue sparkles on the table, these creative rose wine pairings transform the rose all day vibe into a food nirvana. While many wine drinkers appreciate the versatility that rose wine offers, the reality is that this type of wine is often more approachable. Instead of the bold tannins of a Cabernet Sauvignon or the crisp, acidic notes from a pinot grigio, the rose invites a wine drinker to sip, linger and enjoy the moment.

Recently, Cavit Wines shared a few ideas about creative pairings for its rose wine. From a grilled seafood dish to a sushi, the food pairings are many. Even Friday night pizza has a little more panache with a glass of rose.

While many people happily pack a bottle in a cooler for a summer dinner or gathering, that bottle can be more than just another pour in the wine glass. Is it time to think outside of the bottle?

Rose wine lends itself to wine cocktails. From a simple spritz to a frose, the cocktail options are many. One idea to enhance the flavor is to freeze a piece of fruit in the ice cube. And, even add a touch of the rose into the ice cube for enhanced flavor. And, always remember a touch of lemon in a rose cocktail. The little bit of brightness heightens the sip.

Beyond the glass, rose can enhance a variety of recipes. Since wine and pasta are always good companions, why not use the rose in a pasta sauce. The slight fruity flavors can bring a touch of lightness to a hearty pasta dish.

For a sweeter turn, consider making a dessert sauce with the rose wine. A simple sauce of strawberries, sugar and rose is divine. Whether the sauce is served over a vanilla ice cream, combined with a strawberry shortcake or even with waffles at brunch, the options are many.

Next time the rose bottle is purchased, it might be a good idea to buy two, one to drink and one to use in the kitchen. There is always a reason to celebrate the rose all day vibe around food.

What are your favorite rose wine pairings? Do you drink this wine more often during the summer?

Nowruz, Iran

Centuries before the current teetotaling rulers banned the consumption of alcoholic beverages, historically, Iran had a vibrant drinking scene, downing Arak , a liquor often compared to Grappa. Dating back to 550 BC, King Cyrus the Great and his Persian lawmakers often over imbibed before their deliberations. The next day, when clear-headed, they began the debate afresh. If all were still in agreement, the laws passed. This debate method became the birth of the Persian saying “Masti O Rasti,” which best translates as “drunkenness and truthfulness.”

That homily is printed on the back labels of bottles of Arak Saggi, a triple-distilled (think Vodka) Arak that was created by an Iranian-Canadian desirous of the resurrection of his homeland’s alcoholic history and culture. This contemporary drink is made by distilling sultana raisins (sourced from California). The undertone is a subtle sweetness without being cloying. While Persian Saggi is often enjoyed in celebrating the New Year in Spring, it’s often enjoyed throughout Summer. Serve ice-cold, with grilled lamb. Arak can also stand in for Vodka in cocktails, or simply sip as you would Grappa after a meal.

Arak Grapefruit Cocktail. Serves one

Ingredients: One short cocktail glass, one long-stemmed bar spoon

First, for the Chamomile Simple Syrup
1 part sugar
2 parts water
dried chamomile flowers from a teabag of chamomile tea

Then for Cocktail
Juice of one big juicy pink grapefruit
Persian Empire Arak
2 T Sparkling water float

Garnish: a few sprigs of mint


Make the Chamomile Simple Syrup by combining sugar, water, and chamomile flowers in a pan and heating until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Cool the syrup.

Pour the cooled Chamomile Syrup into the cocktail glass filled with ice. Now add the Grapefruit juice and Arak. Stir to combine. Finally, float the sparkling water over the cocktail by pouring over the back of the bar spoon into the glass. Add the mint sprigs and serve.

Pairing wine with food: a simple guide

Ever wondered which white wine to match with your pasta? Or curious as to the best reds for steak night? Get clued-up with our handy guide to food and wine pairings.

This useful infographic is brought to you by our BBC Good Food Wine Club and simplifies pairing food with wine to show you popular flavour combinations that work well. Make your favourite BBC Good Food recipes at home before using our guide to decide on the best bottle of red, white or sparkling wine to pair with your food.

Everyone’s perceptions of wine flavours are entirely different. Whether you enjoy a full-bodied red or a dry white wine, the characteristics of each tend to match certain food groups. For example, the bright and acidic notes in a bottle of sauvingon blanc go wonderfully with the sharp, salty taste of goat’s cheese – so pairing with a goat’s cheese tart will taste delicious. Similarly, the full-bodied nature of malbec leaves behind notes of black plum in your mouth and such sweet flavours balance perfectly with a well-seasoned sirloin steak.

To get the best out of this guide, choose your favourite wine and then type the name of the paired dish into the search bar on BBC Good Food to find your favourite dishes. We’ve also rounded up the best wine racks for safely storing your bottles.

Are you a fan of good wine as well as good food? Sign up to the BBC Good Food Wine Club today to enjoy exclusive discounts on specially selected cases, plus free delivery.

What’s your favourite food and wine combo? Leave a comment below…


Rosé is a unique cross-over between red and white wine styles, giving it impressive versatility. Rosé is one of the most friendly options for fruit and wine pairings, and it also works well for wine pairing with vegetarian recipes. Rosé is always a winning wine pairing with fruit and cheese!

A great way to experience rosé’s flexibility is via the Season Cookbook’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Salad with Pistachios & Goat Cheese recipe.

  • Hot tip: Chef Justin Wangler suggests dipping a leaf of the green you are using into the salad dressing while you make it to see how it is tasting. Not making dressing? No worries! The same holds true with store bought salad dressing. Before you dress everything, test it first with your combination of seasonal greens and fruits!

Finally, if you are lucky enough to have a geeky grower market nearby and can find the briefly available ramps and garlic scapes, rosé is unquestionably your best wine pairing. Ramps are sometimes called wild leeks and resemble scallions, but they are generally stronger than both – somewhere closer to a sweet onion. The complimentary garlic scapes are “greener” and more similar to chives. Both of these springtime farmer’s market specials excel in savory character, a perfect contrast to the zippy acidity and succulent fruit flavors of rosé wines.