Food and wine pairings to celebrate summer

Warm summer days are on their way, so we’re putting bubbly on ice to celebrate the change in seasons. Not only are we looking forward to late sunsets and outdoor entertaining, but also refreshing non-alcoholic wines.

Summertime brings festivities and lots of sunshine. That means it’s the season of lighter foods and chilled wines. In true South African style, there will be braai-ing and daytime drinking to maximise on the warm weather.

However, if you’re looking to cut back on calories over Christmas and do better for your body, you can still have a drink guilt-free. Non-alcoholic wine gives you the freedom to drink casually without compromising on taste or your health.

This begs the question, what should you drink in summer? Refreshing whites are one of the best choices for warmer weather and dry rosé is also a firm favourite. The challenge comes in when you’re the host and find yourself in the position of playing sommelier. Food and wine pairing need not be daunting if you know where to start.

Keep in mind these simple tips:

  • Whites and rosés are usually acidic while reds are more bitter
  • Wine should be more acidic or sweeter than the food you’re serving
  • When pairing food and wine, do your best to match the wine with the sauce

And to really help you out, we’ve put together a guide of our top de-alcoholised and non-alcoholic wines. Check out our pairing suggestions for a celebration of South African wines and recipes from local food bloggers:

Bonnievale Neat De-Alcoholised Sauvignon Blanc

A savvy blanc is a popular choice for summertime. This particular bottle has notes of passion fruit, guava and gooseberries with a crisp and refreshing palate. Sauvignon Blanc pairs wonderfully with seafood and cream-based dishes, so we suggest this prawn and garlicky pasta with a creamy sauce from Drizzle and Dip.

Spier De-Alcoholised Chenin Blanc

Compared to Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc is usually richer in flavour and also pairs well with seafood, nuts and crisp salads. Spier’s Chenin Blanc is a semi-sweet, unwooded wine with aromas of peach, litchi, orange, elderflower and guava. To pair with these tropical fruity flavours, we picked this roasted fig and nectarine salad from Bibby’s Kitchen.

Norah’s Valley Cashmere Rosé

Since rosé is best served chilled, it’s perfect for hotter days. This drier rosé is low in sugar and calories resulting in a crisp, delicate wine. It offers generous notes of strawberries, rose petals and candy floss. Try a glass with these vibrant pink rose meringues with fresh berries for dessert.

Leopard’s Leap Nature De-Alcoholised Classic Red

Who says you can’t drink red in the summer? Made from Cinsaut and Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc grapes, this red is lighter than most varieties and has aromas of red berries and sweet spice. Pair this spicy, smooth red with Asian-inspired sticky-glazed lamb ribs from Simply Delicious – perfect for your next braai.

Allure De-Alcoholised Sparkling Wine

You can’t have a list of summer wines without some bubbles! This bottle from Allure is a blend of Pinot Noir (74%) and Chardonnay (24%) to create a light, charming sparkling wine. The palate has a lime-like freshness and acidity which pairs well with lighter dishes. We suggest trying this fried Milanese chicken with a crunchy slaw to balance the wine’s acidity.