Friday, 24, May 2024

Filed under:
The Dupont Circle

Perfect Summer Wine Pairings at The Pembroke

Sip and Celebrate this National Wine Day

As we prepare to celebrate National Wine Day this Saturday, May 25, and kick off the summer with Memorial Day weekend, The Dupont Circle invites you to join us in exploring the art of wine pairing. We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Michael Woods, The Pembroke’s general manager and sommelier, to talk all things wine. Michael shared his expert insights on pairing wines with your favorite summer dishes, offering tips that will elevate your seasonal gatherings to gourmet experiences. Here's a look at his recommendations.

A variety of wines for every taste: a white wine glass, a rosé glass, and a red wine glass rest on a table.


Pairing Wines with Summer Foods

1. Grilled Meats: Ribs and Barbecue Chicken

Summer grilling is a cherished tradition, and pairing the right wine with your BBQ can enhance those smoky, earthy flavors.

  • Dry, Lightly Effervescent Sparklings: A Lambrusco or a Prosecco can cut through the richness of barbecue sauces, offering a refreshing contrast. Easy drinking sparklings are perfectly enjoyed around the grill.
  • Heavy Whites: A BBQ is the perfect excuse to finish your leftover heavy whites from the colder months. A buttery, oaky Chardonnay pairs well with the grill's robust flavors.
  • Light Reds: Try Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, or Spanish grapes like Mencía. These wines offer a balance of fruitiness and acidity that complements grilled meats.

2. Shellfish: Chesapeake Crab and Oysters

For seafood lovers in Washington, DC, the Chesapeake Bay offers an abundance of delicious shellfish that pair beautifully with a range of wines.

  • Spanish Albariño: Crisp and slightly saline, Albariño pairs wonderfully with the briny flavors of oysters.
  • Chardonnay: From the crisp, mineral-driven Chablis to rich, oaked Napa varieties, there’s a Chardonnay for every type of seafood.
  • Light to Medium-Bodied Reds: Gamay and Pinot Noir are versatile choices, while fuller-bodied Syrah and Zinfandel add a bold dimension to your seafood feast.

 A chilled seafood platter with oysters on ice, a lemon wedge, and two white wine glasses.


3. Fresh Summer Salads and Fruits

Salads and fruits are staples of summer dining and pairing them with the right wine can create a refreshing culinary experience.

  • Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad: The sweetness of watermelon pairs well with a rosé sparkling wine, while goat cheese’s tanginess finds a match in a bright Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Fresh Berries: Local berries and a fruity rosé or a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc make for a delightful combination.

A refreshing summer spread: rosé wine with glasses, accompanied by light bites like nachos, olives, tomatoes.


4. Cheese and Charcuterie

A well-curated cheese and charcuterie board is a summer party essential.

  • Sweeter Wines: Always choose a wine sweeter than the food to avoid a sour or tart aftertaste. Think Riesling or Moscato for spicier meats.
  • Full-Bodied Reds: Tannic wines like Cabernet Sauvignon are excellent with the fatty proteins found on a traditional charcuterie board.

5. Cold Pasta Salads

Cold pasta salads, with their variety of flavors and textures, pair well with more versatile wines.

  • Sparkling Wines: A light Prosecco or a Cava can add a refreshing touch to your cold pasta dishes.
  • Light Reds and Rosés: These wines offer enough acidity to cut through creamy dressings without overwhelming the palate.

A gourmet cheese board with an assortment of cheeses, grapes, pears, crackers, jams, honey, and both red and white wine.


General Wine Pairing Rules

Michael shared some general guidelines to help you become more confident in your wine choices:

  • Sweeter than the Food: Ensure your wine is sweeter than your dish to avoid unpleasant sourness.
  • Tart Pairings: When pairing with tart foods, find wines that express similar fruit notes. For example, tropical fruits and New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs express similar fruit notes and complement each other perfectly.
  • Tannins and Fatty Proteins: Full-bodied, tannic wines like Malbec pair best with rich, fatty proteins; the fat offsets the bitterness of the wine.
  • Regional Pairings: "What grows together, goes together." Wines often complement foods grown in the same region. For example, truffles grow in the Piedmont region of Italy and Barolo, a robust red from the Nebbiolo grapes grown in Piedmont, pairs exceptionally well with truffles.

Visit The Pembroke for a Memorable Dining Experience

Celebrate National Wine Day with us at The Pembroke, where you can enjoy expertly curated wine selections alongside our Michelin-recommended American fare. Whether you’re indulging in our Irish Wine Geese collection, savoring wines from female winemakers, or exploring sustainable and non-alcoholic options, there's something to delight every palate. Join us this weekend for an unforgettable dining experience in the heart of Dupont Circle.