Enjoy summer seasonal fruits and vegetables with wine that elevates and complements their delicious ripe flavors.
Whether you frequent your local farmers market, are an avid gardener, or simply enjoy your fruits and vegetables, this is a phenomenal time for seasonal produce.
Admittedly, there’s no right or wrong time to enjoy your favorite foods with a delicious bottle of wine. However, there’s just something immensely satisfying about pairing wine with fruits and veggies that are at their most delicious. From fresh berries bursting with tart, sweet flavors to juicy tomatoes accented with aromatic basil, this time of year is a foodie’s dream.
Read on for some of our favorite wine pairings for summer seasonal produce.
Need some wine pairing basics? Check out our Wine Pairing 101 guide!
Let Leafy Greens Shine with Crisp White Wines
Maybe they’re not the sexiest vegetable, but one of the best ways to begin eating (and enjoying) leafy greens is by eating them when they’re at their freshest. While a good portion of leafy greens are at their most lush during the cooler months of spring and fall, you can still find arugula, spinach, lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and/or watercress.
We recommend eating these either in a fresh salad, atop your favorite summer sandwich, or lightly sauteed with a dash of olive oil. You want them to retain their texture and crunch, so try not to overcook them or drown them in sauces. Plus, their satisfying crunch is perfectly accented by a crisp white wine like our PALO61 Toscana Bianco or our Vermentino. The latter has aromatic notes of fresh sage, rosemary, and sweet notes of peach that will elevate the herbaceous flavors of leafy greens.
Savor Root Vegetables with Rich Medium-Bodied Wines
For something a little heartier, you can’t go wrong with the wide variety of seasonal root vegetables. Think carrots, parsnips, beets, radishes, etc. Yes, these are great additions to salads and such, but we’re also big fans of the rich array of flavors that can be experienced by roasting them.
The heartiness of root vegetables is often best enjoyed when paired with a medium-bodied white or red wine with moderate acidity. Something too full-bodied may overwhelm the dish, while something too light won’t leave much of an impression.
If other elements of your dish include red meat or a decent amount of fat, opt for a crisp and dry red wine. La Cattura Toscana is an excellent choice for its subtle truffle flavor, but for a dish with chicken, fish, or just more delicate flavors, we recommend a white wine like our Santa Lucia Toscana Bianco. Its tropical notes of pineapple may seem odd at first, but the floral notes of acacia and hay bring out the savoriness of root veggies.
Get Creative with Seasonal Nightshades
Nightshades are a family of plants including things like tomatoes, eggplants, bell peppers, and even potatoes (although for cooking purposes, we tend to stick potatoes with the other root vegetables).
If you didn’t notice, there’s a massive variety of textures and flavors in the nightshade family, so the best rule of thumb is to just select the wine that sounds the best! If you want a BIT more direction though, here are our top recommendations.
An aromatic Chardonnay with notes of fruit and a buttery texture can add complexity to fresh tomato dishes like a fragrant Caprese salad. On the other hand, a lightly sweet and floral rosé like our PALO61, Toscana Rosato can tame the spice notes in a variety of peppers. And if you just have to open a bottle of red, a ruby red Merlot to elevate the mildly bitter flavor of eggplant.
Rosé All Day for Watermelon and Berries
We freely admit that a juicy piece of watermelon and tart, plump berries are delicious all on their own. But the intensity of flavor you can find in these fruits when they’re at their ripest deserves to be celebrated. And there’s no better way to do that than by pairing them with a bottle of rosé.
You may already be familiar with our recipe for Balsamic Watermelon Feta Salad, but it’s because we can’t stop talking about it! The watermelon is refreshing and sweet, the balsamic is tart and satisfying, and the feta cheese is savory and keeps you coming back for more. Paired with a cold glass of the pink stuff, and you have a perfect appetizer, light lunch, or full-blown dinner.
When it comes to seasonal berries (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, etc.), we still like to keep things simple. If the whole point is to pair two things together to highlight their innate flavors and aromas, don’t overcomplicate it. You can’t go wrong by simply putting your favorite berries in a bowl and topping them with fresh cream or honey.
Celebrate Stone Fruits with Congruent and Complementary Pairings
When we say stone fruits, we’re thinking of mangoes, peaches, or even plump plums. For stone fruits that are more tropical, we highly recommend leaning into that element. For example, the tropical notes of bananas and pineapple in our Santa Lucia Toscana Bianco will create a harmonious flavor pairing with fresh juicy mangoes.
For stone fruits like peaches or plums, you can get a little more creative. You can’t go wrong with a Chardonnay for buttery peach cobblers, but grilled peach dishes with savory elements like cheese would be a better fit for a Pinot Noir with a velvet finish. Since plums have a crisp hit of acidity to them, a dark Merlot with fruity notes and a sophisticated hint of spice will both elevate and enhance their flavor.
Eat Fresh Foods, Drink Wine, and Enjoy a Sensational Summer
Eating fresh produce doesn’t require complex cooking skills or an expertly maintained garden. Simply stop by your local farmers market, grab what looks good, and open up a bottle of wine. Get your friends and family together, and now you’ve got a casual summer party that’s low effort and positively delicious.
Don’t forget to stock up on your favorite bottles of wine, or even consider trying something new!