summer wine pairings

The wines to enjoy this summer — and the best meals to pair them with

We asked Charles Carron Brown, head sommelier at Henrock by Simon Rogan, for his top summer pairings

When it comes to summer wines, we often think of warm evenings sipping delicious Champagnes, glasses of chilled rosé — or perhaps even warming reds.

But what should we be drinking with our meals at this time of the year? It can be tricky, especially when you have friends over you want to impress. Thankfully, below are four simple dishes and four bottles of wine that promise to pair perfectly with what you plate up.

Pair a Pinot Gris with a marinated spatchcock chicken

The wine: Pinot Gris Grand Cru Spiegel 2017 Domaines Schlumberger, £15.99

The dish: Summer Marinated Spatchcock Chicken

Imagine you’ve just got the BBQ ready — and you’ve been marinating this Spatchcock for nearly eight hours with paprika, ginger and mustard. Your friends are immensely impressed that you have managed to pull off such a feat – and then you pull out a bottle of white wine.

Now this isn’t an ordinary white wine. No, this is a Pinot Gris Grand Cru Spiegel 2017 Domaines Schlumberger. Your friends are impressed, but curious. So you tell them that it comes from Alsace in France. You add that it is the same grape as Pinot Grigio — but with a rich, bold and spicy style. And, finally, you reveal that the wine is dry, with a medium body, a fresh acidity and an intense fruit profile that will pair beautifully with this chicken. Sorted.

Pair a French Rosé with a fish finger BLT

The wine: Domaines Ott Château Romassan Rosé 2019, £32.99

The dish: Fish Finger BLT

We’ve all been there — the entire family has arrived, unannounced, and you need to cook something that will please everyone. Thankfully, who doesn’t like a good BLT? This cheeky recipe includes some ‘homemade’ fish fingers that will no doubt impress everyone and, served with some seasonal new potatoes, a fresh salad and some crusty bread from your local bakery, it’s always a winner.

What, however, should you drink with this? Well, one possible idea would be a nice chilled rosé. Domaines Ott Château Romassan Rosé 2019 is a superb example. Made from a blend of mostly Mourvèdre, from the south of France, this rosé is full-bodied, dry, and has plump red fruits, floral aromas, and a slight spiced quality. In other words, incredibly quaffable.

Pair an Australian Sémillon with roasted brassicas

The wine: Tyrrell’s Vat 1 Sémillon 2014, Hunter Valley, £34.99

The dish: Roasted Brassicas with Puy Lentils and Halloumi

Cooking for vegetarians is always tricky. It can be hard to know what they like, and to create something unique and fun is often a challenge. This superb recipe from Jamie Oliver is a winner. Packed with goodness, healthy ingredients served at their prime, and topped with cheese, what’s not to like?

For wine, go for white — and something on the lighter side. Tyrrell’s Vat 1 Sémillon 2014, Hunter Valley, for example. Sémillon is a fantastic grape variety; naturally low in alcohol and fairly neutral in character, Tyrrell’s is one of the best. It is dry, fresh and zesty, with lovely aromas of wax, marmalade, and toast due to its ageing. It’s a great pairing with the brassicas, and the acidity of the wine will pair especially well with the richness of the halloumi.

Pair an American Zinfandel with lamb kebabs

The wine: Ridge East Bench Zinfandel 2014 Dry Creek Valley, £36.99

The dish: Lamb Kebabs with Plum Sauce and Sour Cream

Everyone loves a good barbecue — even the Royals. Grilling’s ability to bring people together is what makes it a summer winner. On a warm evening, this Hairy Bikers recipe is ideal — served with some corn-on-the-cob and roasted peppers.

I love a red wine with a kebab, and Zinfandel is one of my all-time favourite wines. It’s perfect for drinking during the summer. Its high in alcohol, rich and full-bodied, and boasts ripe red and dark fruits with an almost jammy quality. Ridge Vineyards is one of the best producers of Zinfandel in California; it has been making wine for generations now and is well-known among wine circles for its consistency and very high quality. Worth a try.

Planning on cooking those kebabs on a barbecue? Here’s how to grill at a safe, social distance…

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