Brunch is one of our favorite meals of the week: it’s a leisurely way to catch up with friends and family over a feast of sweet and savory favorites. From pancakes and French toast to bacon and smoked salmon, there is truly something for everyone. And the right wine can be the finishing touch to brunch. The variety of dishes on the table can make wine pairing challenging, but we’re here to help. Here are the wines that will enhance your brunch.
Sweet Dishes like Pancakes or French Toast
Serve: Moscato d’Asti
One important principle of wine pairing is that sweet dishes need a wine that is equal in sweetness, or even slightly sweeter. The reason for this is that a sweet dish can easily make a dry wine taste bitter. Moscato d’Asti is a sweet, lightly effervescent Italian wine that has aromas of honeysuckle and fragrant blossoms, and flavors of juicy white peach and apricot. It’s a wonderful alternative to prosecco if you like a little sparkle in your glass. One reason it’s so wonderful with brunch is that it has a naturally low alcohol content—you can enjoy a glass without feeling sleepy (or tipsy) for the rest of the afternoon.
Serve: Minervois Grenache
For a roasted vegetable frittata or quiche, a veggie grain bowl, or a Mediterranean-style vegetable and egg entree, pair with a southern French grenache from the Minervois region like the Walmart Winemakers Selection Grenache. The wine is medium-bodied, full of bright cherry fruit, and has the savory aromas of garrigue, the wild vegetation that grows along the French Mediterranean blending lavender, rosemary, and other fragrant herbs. The velvety, easygoing texture of the wine is highly palatable for daytime imbibing.
Seafood Dishes like Smoked Salmon
Serve: Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon blanc is an extremely bright, crisp, and lively white wine with a lot of citrus aroma and flavor (think lemon and grapefruit), and some herbal notes as well. It’s a wine that can act almost as another condiment on your table. Sauvignon blanc has the same effect as a squeeze of lemon on smoked salmon: it really perks up the flavor of the fish and cuts some of the richness. Try Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand for a classic and delicious example.
Meat Dishes like Bacon or Brisket Hash
Serve: Cabernet Franc
Robust dishes featuring lots of bacon or other red meats like brisket pair really well with an earthy wine like Cabernet Franc (not to be confused with Cabernet Sauvignon; it’s genetically related but a separate wine). Cabernet Franc hails from Bordeaux but also grows beautifully in France’s Loire Valley, where it’s usually inexpensive. Look for a Chinon or Bourgueil. The wine is medium-bodied and has herbal aromas and vegetal, spicy, and earthy notes, which perfectly balance the rich, savory, and smoky flavors of bacon or brisket.
Chicken and Waffles
One of the most unexpected classic pairings is also one of the most fun: fried chicken and Champagne! Luxurious and slightly decadent, Champagne feels like a real indulgence and makes for a fabulous high-low pairing that totally elevates something as soulful as fried chicken. The light, crunchy crust of the chicken washed down with bright, bubbly Champagne is so harmonious that you may never want to enjoy it any other way. And the comforting, crisp waffle calls out for a high-acid wine like Champagne that can keep your palate cleansed between bites. Champagne is one of the most versatile wines and will complement pretty much anything you serve it with. Try Taittinger Brut Prestige for a classic brunch experience.