Is there anything more joyous than feeling the sun warming your face again and seeing the blossoms burst to life on the trees? Wine and springtime go hand in hand. The longer days coax us out of our homes, seeking to reconnect with loved ones. And what better way to celebrate than with some perfect Spring food and wine pairings? Read on for our recommendations on how to enhance your enjoyment of the season’s finest dishes.
Light but flavourful roast chicken dinners are the perfect choice to share with friends at this time of year. Chicken served with a buttery, fennel-flavored orzo gives a clarity of taste that is hard to beat. Pair this with Chez Boujie Crème De La Crème 2019 Chardonnay. Aged in French oak, this wine has light spice notes that balance well with the aniseed flavor from the fennel, while fruity elements of soft, ripe peach accent the natural sweetness of the chicken meat. Finally, the creaminess of this wine complements the unctuousness of the orzo, creating a symphony of complementary textures and tastes to dance on the palate.
Strawberry and Watercress Salad
The best wines to serve in spring tend to be at the lighter end of the spectrum — white and rosé dominate as our attention turns to light, fresh, seasonal foods. Salads can be tricky to match, as heavier vinaigrettes can easily overpower the wine’s acidity and freshness. Get the balance right by seeking out lighter dressings and pulling out complimentary levels of power in both your beverage and your dish.
A strawberry and watercress salad is a perfect example of farm-fresh spring flavors that combine sweet and peppery without being too strong. The Sweet Oaks 2017 Viognier is bursting with fruit and floral notes that will bring out the best in the fruit, while this grape varietal’s natural touch of ginger works in harmony alongside the pep of the watercress. The wine’s long, clean finish lingers, giving you plenty to talk about even when the food is done.
Lamb is the quintessential dish of spring, so when you are serving it, the wine and springtime rules are there to be broken. Make a Moroccan-inspired rub for your lamb, and match it with red wine. The pronounced flavor profile will work well with Sweet Oaks Never A Dull Moment 2018 Pinot Noir. It has its own spicy character and enough punch to stand up to this rich dish. The deep fruit notes of pomegranate and red cherry provide the perfect foil to those indulgent Middle-Eastern flavors, while the natural acidity of the Pinot Noir cuts through the fattiness of the meat perfectly.
This green vegetable heralds the coming of spring. Fresh asparagus is a true delight, and its distinctive vegetal flavor should not deter you from pairing it with wine. You can make a simple, light meal of delicately sauteed asparagus served with a knob of butter and a squeeze of lemon, fresh shavings of Parmesan Reggiano, and perhaps even a runny poached egg. Mop up your plate with a hunk of crusty bread, and follow it up with one of the best wines to serve in spring — a well-chilled Sweet Oaks Brosé 2019 Grenache.
The fresh, salmon-pink wine partners nicely with the citrus zing of the dish, and the vibrant berry fruit notes complement the green vegetal character of the asparagus. Both the wine and the dish are refreshing and light, sharing a satisfying balance of relative weights. This pairing offers the very best of wine and springtime.
The best way to serve this seasonal specialty is simple — just dip the artichokes in a shallow dish of melted butter. You may be surprised to learn that even this most basic serving suggestion can have a huge effect on the wine you are drinking. It can make your wine taste much sweeter than usual, throwing it out of balance. This is because artichokes contain cynarin. It temporarily closes down the sweetness receptors on your tongue. Taking a sip of wine washes the cynarin away, releasing those receptors, and the sudden reappearance of your ability to perceive sweetness is what tricks your brain.
The way to combat this is to pair this tasty vegetable with a wine containing a high level of acidity and very little or no residual sugar — a dry wine. That means there isn’t anything that will fool your palate. And there is plenty to cut through the richness of the butter that adorns the ample leaves.
We recommend trying the 2020 Sweet Oaks Pinot Grigio alongside your artichokes. It has an aromatic fruit character but the dry finish that you need to counteract the effect of cynarin. Its high levels of acidity will lift the dish, adding vibrancy and zing in the same way that a squeeze of lemon does — a perfect wine and springtime pairing.
Apricot and Almond Galette
Later in the season, the apricot comes into its own. Encase the fruit in sweet almond cream, and you have a simple dessert that’s bound to impress. This sweet treat works nicely with Sweet Oaks 2017 Chardonnay, which has a brioche note from time spent on the lees. This complements the rich almond cakiness of the galette. The wine’s acidity interacts well with the tartness of the apricots and provides an interplay with the fruit characters of the wine — the golden apple elements of the wine, in particular, offer a comfortable partner for the flavor of the apricot.
We hope our suggestions for the best wines to serve in spring have provided you with some inspiration for your springtime table. All food and wine matching recommendations should be seen as suggestions — a starting point to encourage you to get out there and see what works for your palate. The joy of pairing food with wine is in the experimentation, and sometimes the most surprising combinations work the best. You can try Sweet Oaks wine for yourself and test out your own creations and ideas.