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Clean Wine Pairings for All Your Favorite Summer Dishes

July 19th, 2021

You likely already know that red wine pairs well with steak, but what about white wine? Or rosé? Or a bubbly Prosecco? Pairing wine with a meal elevates the experience, but it’s not as straightforward as simply grabbing a bottle and pouring your guests a glass. This summer, we’re Thriving Outside by taking all our meals al fresco—and choosing the perfect wine pairings to make them even more special.  

Thrive Market’s natural, organic, and biodynamic wines are handpicked by master sommelier Josh Nadel, and our selection includes everything you need for a summer of dinner parties, barbecues, and backyard hangs. Read on for Nadel’s expert tips for pairing Thrive Market wine with all your favorite summer dishes—including the best wines to pair with steak, grilled salmon wine pairings, and even which wines to pair with pasta salad, zesty gazpacho, and other summer sides.

Wines to Pair with Grilled Poultry

Whether you’re barbecuing a whole chicken or dishing up lean turkey burgers,  Nadel suggests medium-bodied, juicy reds to bring out the flavor of poultry. 

Fonte Barco Montepulciano D’Abruzzo or Costalarbol Rioja
“Two medium-bodied, food-driven reds which go down (sometimes too!) easily. Both boast a bit of a crisp backbone to refresh your palate and keep you coming back for more. The Montepulciano has a slightly darker profile, while the Costalarbol is a cornucopia of sun-drenched red fruit.”

Wines to Pair with Grilled Red Meat

For steaks, burgers, and even plant-based Beyond Meats, red wines make a tried-and-true perfect pairing. 

Asado Cruz Malbec
“Malbec and the grill go hand-in-hand: the dark fruit flavors of the wine bounce off char and roasted flavors, and it has enough body to handle even the richest of cuts. This Malbec contains minimal use of oak compared to many, so the flavors remain fresh and unadulterated. If you like the sound of that but want a fuller bodied option, try the Domaine Valand Plan de Dieu, one of our fullest Côtes du Rhône reds.”

Les Vignes de Coulous Cuvée Artisanale Bordeaux
“Pairing Bordeaux and red meat is not reinventing the wheel, but this one offers a little something for everyone. Les Vignes de Coulous is a medium bodied, plush option from one of our favorite winemakers whose wines—year in and year out—have an alluring softness.”

Freehome Shiraz
“For those who want a fireworks display of flavor, body and rich—but not gritty or austere—texture, Shiraz is tough to beat, and this one is really well-balanced.” 

Wines to Pair with Pork

Whether it’s smoky grilled sausages or a plant-based sausage alternative, pork pairs best with bold-flavored reds.

Lyell Canyon Zinfandel or Masseria del Feudo Nero D’Avola
“The salt, spice and smoke of pork and sausages are made for bold, fruity wines. These two have fruit flavor to spare, which rockets off savory elements of your food and highlights the best of both.” 

Wines to Pair with White Fish & Shrimp 

Thrive Market clean wine

Whether you’re grilling Atlantic cod for fish tacos or marinating shrimp to blacken at a barbecue, crisp white wines will bring out the flavors of seafood. 

Terra Mundi Albariño or Katallage Assyrtiko
“These two unoaked, light-medium bodied Mediterranean whites are tailor-made for seafood, shellfish, and summer. The Albariño has a bit more aroma and fruit to it, while the Assyrtiko is more mineral and crisp. You really can’t go wrong here: think Sauvignon Blanc with less overt citrus and a little less acidity, or Pinot Grigio with more personality, flavor and complexity. Imagine the fishing boats of the Mediterranean bringing in the day’s catch, bowls of paella and whole fish fresh off the line—that’s what these two wines are all about!”

Wines to Pair with Grilled Salmon 

While many other types of seafood pair well with white wines, Nadel recommends a light-bodied red to pair with your grilled salmon

Jean Boisselier Brouilly or La Gironda Barbera D’asti
“With salmon, light-medium-bodied, high-toned reds—maybe even with a slight chill—are dynamite. The Barbera offers a little of a crisper option, (we have yet to find food this doesn’t pair well with, actually) while the Beaujolais is a quintessential match that plays well with all those juicy omega-3s.”

Wines to Pair with Grilled Scallops

Scallops are in a class all their own, and Nadel suggests pairing them with crisp, grassy white wines. 

Ethic Drinks Petit Papillon Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2020 or Ethic Drinks Planète Vivante Sauvignon Blanc 2020*
“Scallops have a richness to them that is beautifully complemented by a medium-bodied, round Cotes du Rhone blanc. Alternatively, this Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc is a perfect hybrid of the stony, grassy wines from the Loire and the tropical Sauv Blancs of New Zealand that have taken the wine world by storm in the past 30 years.” 

*both launching at the end of July

Wines to Pair with Grilled Vegetables

Did you know that you can pair vegetables with the perfect wine, too? Here’s what to look for when choosing wine for a meat-free barbecue. 

Gray Zorro Sauvignon Blanc or Masseria del Feudo Nero D’Avola
“Chilean Sauvignon Blanc has an herbaceous nature which is incredibly harmonious alongside veggies, herbs, and all sorts of leafy treats. If you’re going for red wine with your veggies, drizzle with some olive oil and reach for this Nero D’Avola, which will pick up on the grilled flavors.”

Wines to Pair with Cold Soups, Pastas, and Salads 

Natural and biodynamic wines from Thrive Market

From gazpacho to pasta salad, pairing cold soups and sides with a refreshing wine is the perfect way to cool down a summer meal. 

La Gironda Barbera D’asti or Patrizia Cadore Lugana
“Italians know a thing or two about pairing wine with tomatoes and pasta. This important red grape of Piedmont is aged entirely in steel, which keeps the flavors of the wine bright and fresh. Conversely, this unusual white from Lugana has medium weight in the mid-palate and high-toned aromatics, which pair well with fresh tomato and pesto.”

Wines to Pair with Summer Fruits 

Can you think of anything that says “summer” more than fresh fruit and a dry rosé?

Ethic Drinks On Dirait Le Sud Rosé 2020 or Ethic Drinks Source de Vie Rosé France 2020* 
“Wine isn’t easy to pair with fruit, but a glass of rosé and the harvest of summer go hand in hand. These two light-bodied, dry, and fresh examples from the South of France are everything summers are made of.” 

*Launching end of July

A Master Sommelier’s Favorite Summer Wines for Every Occasion

During a summer day at the beach or poolside:

Terra Mundi Albarino or Katallage Assyrtiko
“There is nothing more powerful to me than a wine that evokes emotion, and sitting on a beach drinking the historical wines of the Mediterranean and Iberian coast is incredibly powerful for me. Also, rosé (because of all the reasons).”

While you’re grilling:

Jean Boisselier Brouilly or Ethic Drinks Petit Papillon Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2020* 
“I like light reds and round whites when I’m prepping and cooking, and I save the wines with more tannin and acid for the table. This white is round and soft with orchard fruits rather than citrus, and the red is texturally so easy to drink that it’s just perfect.” 

*Launching end of July

As a nightcap:

Les Vignes de Coulous Cuvée Artisanale Bordeaux or Freehome Shiraz
“The Coulous has a velvety softness alongside the dark fruit I find incredibly delicious and comforting. And when it’s time for a closing act, bring on the Shiraz fireworks! Fruity and jammy and not shy in ABV.”

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This article is related to: BBQ Tips, Best Wine, Clean Wine, Healthy Wine, Natural Wine

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Amy RobertsAmy Roberts is Thrive Market's Senior Editorial Writer. She is based in Los Angeles via Pittsburgh, PA.

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