Wine and Food Pairings for Outdoor Gatherings

Summer is in full swing and while so much is still uncertain, we are sure that spending time outdoors while practicing social distancing measures (when/if it’s necessary) is a safe, enjoyable way to spend time with friends and family. Whether you like hanging out in your backyard, venturing out to a neighborhood park, or camping out in the fields and mountains, two things make every outdoor adventure complete; food and wine. 

We have shared some useful pairing ideas and included a few suggestions for dishes that can be used as reference which are suited perfectly for preparing and/or eating outdoors. Our VinGardeValise®️ Wine Suitcase is perfect for transporting your paired wines, especially if you venture further than your backyard. 

Salad Wine Pairing

Salad Wine Pairing

When pairing wine with salad, it’s important to remember that wine and vinegar do not mix well, so be sure to use a vinaigrette that’s creamy, or use a dressing that omits this ingredient altogether. A summer salad paired with rosé is the perfect way to begin a delicious summer meal. Riesling also works well with unique salads like a Shitake-Ginger Pasta Salad with Radicchio. 

Appetizer Ideas

Appetizer Ideas

Pairing wine with an appetizer is fun and easy. Just keep in mind that the ingredients used will help you determine the best wine pairings. For example, If you’re serving a cheese board, cheddar is best served with dry reds, Merlots, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Pinot Noir pairs best with Swiss, and Camembert and brie work perfectly with Chardonnay. An appetizer like Grilled Oysters that’s perfect for a summer evening meal, is best paired with Muscadet. 

Steak and Lamb

steak and lamb

“Red wine with red meat” isn’t a hard and fast rule, but it’s a helpful one. Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir pair well with the smoky deliciousness of  Grilled Lamb Chops. Barolo or Chianti are both great with Tender Slow-Grilled Ribs. Grilled red meats have intense, smoky flavor, so they should be paired with wines that are rich and high in tannins. Shiraz from California or Australia are definitely complementary.  

Fish and Seafood

Fish and Seafood

We suggest dry, crisp white wine for most fish and seafood dishes. Sauvignon Blanc and Sancerre go well with Grilled Salmon and Chardonnay or Riesling work well with a dish like Grilled Lobster Tails. An off-dry Chenin Blanc (especially one from Vouvray) works very well with a dish like Grilled Shrimp Skewers. Sparkling wines like champagne can also work well with some seafood. 

Poultry, Pork and Veal

Poultry, Pork and Veal

Hearty Chardonnays and Pinot Blancs work well with dishes like Grilled Pork Tenderloin, but so does a delicate red like Pinot Noir. A fruity wine like a Merlot or a Zinfandel work well with something like Jenny’s Grilled Chicken Breasts. Rosé of Sangiovese, Valpolicella (made with the local Italian Corvina grape), and Zinfandel all pair well with delicious dishes like Grilled Veal Chops with Garlic Herb Crust.

Dessert

Dessert

If you plan on serving dessert, it’s important that the wine you pair with it should be at least as sweet. For example, a unique dessert like Grilled Strawberry Shortcake with Lemon Cream has far less sugar than gooey and delicious Skillet Brownies on the Grill. A mildly sweet demi-sec Champagne would best match the sweetness of strawberry shortcake, while a very sweet wine like ruby Port is a natural choice for brownies.

When considering pairing choices for your outdoor event, it’s important to remember that there are no right answers, only basic rules that aren’t hard and fast. Experimentation with different flavors is fun. Serve what you enjoy and your guests will likely follow suit. Be creative, have fun, and, most importantly, cherish the people you’re with. The food and wine just make time with them more special. Don’t forget your VinGardeValise®️ Wine Suitcase to help make traveling with wine a lot easier if your adventures lead you just a bit farther from home. 

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