As spring approaches, so does brunch season. Easter, Passover, Mother’s Day, bridal showers, and so on, now is the time of year when brunch becomes a favorite way to share special occasions. What a perfect excuse to drink wine with breakfast (not like we need an excuse, of course)!
I find the food items we traditionally see on the brunch table quite easy and fun to pair with a variety of wines. Egg dishes and quiches are truly delicious with various medium to full bodied dry white wines, including but certainly not limited to Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chenin Blanc. Deviled eggs are equally well paired with the aforementioned wines, but especially with off-dry whites such as off-dry Rieslings and Gewürztraminers.
A variety of seafood is always welcome on the brunch table. Smoked salmon and shellfish such as oysters, shrimp, scallops, and crab are that much more mouth-watering paired with a crisp, high acid white such as Grüner Veltliner from Austria, or Albariño from Rias Baixas, Spain.
Breakfast meats, with their typical high fat and salt content, pair effortlessly. Sausages are a win with most red wines, regardless of weight or fruit profile. Ham pairs best with various dry and off-dry white wines and lighter bodied, fruit forward reds such as Pinot Noir or Gamay. Sliced roast beef and tenderloin is delicious with an elegant and refined Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Not to be left out, bacon literally pairs with any wine on the planet. Don’t believe me? Give it a try and you won’t be disappointed.
Traditional baking spices such as cinnamon, ginger, all spice, and maple pair beautifully with white wines that have a bit of a spice element to themselves, such as Viognier. Viognier is my go-to for anything pumpkin, ginger, or maple flavored, so a natural to serve alongside French toast, pancakes, cinnamon swirl muffins, and a variety of other baked goods.
My favorite part of brunch is the wine cocktails. Mimosas and Bellini Cocktails are a staple at any brunch. Mimosas can be traditional, nothing more than bubbly and orange juice, or you can take a more adventurous approach and add the juice of your choice and a variety of fun garnishes. A Bellini cocktail is traditionally Prosecco mixed with peach puree or nectar. Either choice is an exciting, fruity way to begin any brunch with refreshing springtime flavors.
It can be incredibly fun to provide a mimosa bar for yours guests. Have several bottles of chilled sparkling wine on ice, then a variety of juices and fruit garnish to choose from. Cranberry, pomegranate, grapefruit, peach, pineapple, apple, passion fruit juices and purees, the choices are endless! The garnishes can be a variety of citrus fruits and berries, and can include sprigs of herbs, mint, thyme, basil leaves, candied ginger and edible flowers. Let your creativity shine by visiting your local farmer’s market and obtaining fresh, local, seasonal produce, juices, and herbs for your brunch cocktail bar.
About the Author
CSW, WSET3, FWS, BWSEd Director of Wine Education at VINOvations
She is the EVP of Sales and Acquisitions at VINOvations in Sharon, MA. She also teaches students of all levels of experience and interest in wine classes, lifestyle experiences, and leads wine dinners all around Massachusetts.
She is a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) with the Society of Wine Educators, a certified French Wine Scholar (FWS), certified with the Wine and Spirits Trust, Level 3 Advanced (WSET), and a certified educator with Boston Wine School (BWSEd). Her unique combination of talent allows her to translate the nuances of wine for the everyday wine drinker in an accessible and fun way. Demystifying wine and removing the intimidation is her passion when sharing wine with others.