It’s Brunchtime! How To Ace Wine Pairing With A Brunch Meal
It’s the food world’s best mashup; a languid mix of breakfast and lunch with the added social zest of celebrating life with friends and family. If brunch has been perfected into a fine art in Australian cafes and restaurants, now is the time to embrace entertaining at home over this relaxed, casual meal.
And while cocktails such as the mimosa and Bloody Mary are synonymous with a bottomless brunch, wine pairing with a brunch meal is really the way to go, believe it or not. “Wine can be a great match for popular brunch dishes,” says Jem Sullivan of Melbourne’s Spread Eagle Hotel. “Champagne is a classic, especially because it goes so well with eggs, but you can think much more broadly, especially when it comes to the zesty and aromatic wines that go very naturally with brunch meals.”
It may come as a surprise, but classic brunch dishes such as eggs Benedict, blueberry pancakes and smoked salmon blinis are incredibly wine friendly, making this upscale occasion the perfect time to pop a cork or crack a screw cap before the sun is over the yardarm.
Here’s your guide to help you serve up a brunch with paired wines to rival even Sydney’s best bottomless brunches.
Nothing says brunch more than perhaps a good old eggs Benedict. Matching this dish with wine might sound like a challenge – but a bright and floral sparkling rosé such as Cave de Lugny’s Rosé Cremant de Bourgogne is the perfect complement to its rich and creamy tang.
When it comes to heartier fare such as a fried chicken brunch burger or a vegetable frittata with goat cheese, red wine, especially a light pinot noir such as The People’s Pinot Noir, can be a great choice thanks to the fat-stripping tannins. “In the warmer weather you can chill the bottle down in the fridge for 10 minutes, which really enhances the flavour and aromas,” says Jem.
A delicious marriage of crunchy, salty egg-soaked toast and a sweet drizzle of maple syrup makes French toast the quintessential brunch dish. “This is the classic pairing of a mimosa with equal parts orange juice and any type of white sparkling wine, whether that’s prosecco or Champagne,” says Jem. “But you can also enjoy a great glass of sparkling on its own, or head in the direction of a dry riesling to offset the sweetness.” Look no further than the toasty notes of roasted almonds, brioche and creamy nougat of Mitchelton’s Blanc de Blanc Cuvee, or the elegance of Penfolds’ Bin 51 EV Riesling for an ideal match.
Staying on the sweet course, pancakes are another brunchtime classic. Whether you go for traditional blueberry pancakes or stack them high with tropical fruits, this multi-layered treat is primed for a food and wine brunch. Moscato is a great match for the sweetness of the fruit – Innocent Bystander’s gorgeous dark pink version replete with the aromas of musk sticks and sherbet is hard to go past.
An increasingly popular option, the picnic brunch gives ample opportunity to mix and match with wine pairing. A platter with a mix of charcuterie, cheeses, pickles and dried fruit can be equally good with a crisp and acidic white wine such as a pinot grigio (Devil’s Corner from Tasmania is just the ticket) or to experiment with a savoury, earthy red – perhaps an Australian-grown tempranillo from Squealing Pig.
For something more substantial, frittata is great for alfresco brunching too, and you might want to consider something portable like smoked salmon blinis, which can easily be assembled at home. Match the subtle richness of these dishes with the delicious peach and poached pear notes of Tucks NOW pinot gris – or try pushing the envelope with a dry fino sherry such as the elegant Gonzalez Byass from Jerez in Spain.