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Wine Pairings for Summer Blockbusters

Wine Pairings for Summer Blockbusters

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What to sip while at the movies (we won't tell you snuck in wine!)

Whether you’re watching a disguised Texas lawyer seeking revenge in the Wild West, a bootlegger throwing a roaring '20s New York soirée, or a Kryptonian superhero saving Metropolis from its end, we can all agree there’s no better way to cool off this July than an afternoon at the movies. So let’s make a toast to the time honored tradition of the summer blockbuster! Here are the biggest flicks coming out this summer and the wines to sip in their honor.

Pacific Rim — July 12
Guillermo del Toro’s latest picture features massive robots called "Kaiju" who arise from beneath the Pacific Ocean. After you go, crack open a bottle of WAKATAKE "DEMON SLAYER" Daiginjo Onikoroshi Saké Non-vintage (Japan) $48. The name alone is a perfect match for the robot fighting "Jaegers," which means "hunters" in German, and this saké will give you a taste — albeit a gentler one — for the turbulent waters of this sci-fi flick.

RED 2 — July 19
If we learned anything from RED, it’s that blood-soaked CIA pics and gut-busting comedies don’t have to be mutually exclusive. The title definitely helped narrow down our wine pairing choices, so laugh along with a glass of QUPÉ Bien Nacido Vineyard Syrah 2009 (Santa Barbara, Calif.) $26. The red varietal is famously spicy, giving a kick just like this not-so-typical summer comedy.

The Wolverine — July 26
Hugh Jackman spent months bulking up to play this mutant with super human strength, and no wine can pack a punch quite like a top-tier cab. To celebrate the film’s Australian star, grab a bottle of PETER LEHMANN VSV Ruediger Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (Barossa, Australia) $60. Richly tannic and masculine with a steadfast finish, you may find this cab invincible like the Wolverine himself.

The Smurfs 2 — July 31
The Smurfs are back, and this time they’re taking Paris by storm! To celebrate their French adventure, pop open a bottle of VEUVE CLICQUOT Brut Champagne non-vintage (Champagne, France) $45. Decadent like the City of Lights, this sparkler might also remind you of one of Gargamel’s bubbly brews.

Click here for more from The Daily Sip.

9 Wines That Go With Summer Pasta

There is still some time left to make your favorite summertime pastas. Here are our 9 favorite wines that go with summer pasta.

The best thing about summertime pasta is that you can use all your leftover vegetables and herbs from your garden! These pastas are light and refreshing and perfect for a summer night dinner.

The perfect wines that go with pasta need to be paired with the pasta’s strongest overall flavor.

Top pairings

The best wine to pair with appetizers and hors d'oeuvres rather depends on whether they precede a meal, as is traditional, or, as is the way now, actually ARE the meal. We all seem to enjoy grazing these days.

The challenge is that people tend to serve multiple appetizers at once, each with contrasting flavors and massive variety: cold, hot, heavy, fresh, spicy, and often quite salty. The wines you choose should be palate-cleansing as much as quaffable.

Chances are too, you&rsquore having company, so you&rsquoll also want to pick crowd-pleasing wines that all your friends will enjoy.

A few general guidelines for pairing wine with appetizers:

Sparkling wine

A good choice if the appetizers are performing their traditional role as pre-meal nibbles - particularly good with anything crisp, crunchy or deep-fried. Prosecco will be most people's favourite these days though there are many other good sparkling wines including cava, franciacorta and, of course champagne.

Think fresh, unoaked whites rather than a rich white like chardonnay which is better with a meal. Sauvignon blanc is generally popular but a crisp Italian white like pinot grigio or gavi generally go down well too especially with Italian antipasti. And although many people think they don't like riesling in practice they generally do, especially with spicy snacks. If you enjoy it, go for it!

More challenging as although many people like full-bodied reds like cabernet sauvignon and shiraz they can be a bit heavy at the start of the evening. Think more in terms of medium-bodied reds like pinot noir and merlot and lighter styles of zinfandel.

A great option and not just for summer. Dy rosés from Provence and elsewhere in Southern France are hugely versatile and can stand up to big flavours. A good choice for charcuterie, cheese and tapas.

Not for everyone but if you're into tapas you can't beat a chilled fino or manzanilla sherry. I'd offer the choice of one or two other wines - either white, rosé or red - too though

Wine pairings for popular appetizers

If you are only serving one appetizer here's the type of wine to look for:

Artichokes are tricky and can make wine seem sweeter than it is so make sure your wine is bone dry. Italian whites such as pinot grigio work well or try a chilled fino sherry.

Prosecco, rosé, or an off-dry riesling.

Not only oniony but creamy too. A citrussy sauvignon works well or try a fresh, young chenin blanc

Go for a drier style of prosecco or a Gavi de Gavi.

Bread encased hot-dogs, a Super Bowl Party classic which may steer you towards a beer. Wine-wise I'd be inclined to go for a light, fruity pinot noir.

Pickles need something light, crisp, and fruity to handle the acidity. A sharply flavoured white like a picpoul or pinot grigio should do the trick. Or a dry riesling.

A soft juicy red like a merlot or a sauvignon blanc both work well

Bruschetta and crostini

The classic bruschetta is topped with fresh tomatoes with which you could drink a dry Italian white like pinot grigio or a red like Chianti. Richer toppings like chicken livers are better with a red like a Chianti or Barbera.


Again natural beer food but given the melty cheese I'd go for a medium-bodied fruity red rather than a white if you fancy a glass of vino. Merlot or zinfandel would both hit the spot.


With Italian style antipasti I'd generally choose a dry Italian white like a pinot grigio or verdicchio but dry Provençal-style rosé also works really well. As do light Italian reds like Valpolicella, Teroldego and Refosco particularly if your antipasti predominantly consists of cold meats.

Smoked salmon

Champagne (or other champagne-like sparkling wine) is the classic pairing but there are many other options including sauvignon blanc as you can see from this post.

What's not to like about this indulgent snack? Garlic goes really well with sauvignon blanc so you can happily serve that or a juicy red like zinfandel for that matter. And personally I wouldn't be averse to a glass of sparkling wine.

You might also find these posts useful:

Regular contributor Monica Shaw writes mainly about outdoor living and healthy eating. You can find her websites at and

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Comments: 1 (Add)

Slightly confused by the US focus of the article. East of the Atlantic hors d'oeuvres have always been the first part of the meal, the nibbly things are canapés or aperitifs. And the actual foods mentioned - artichoke and spinach dip, buffalo wings, cheese balls, fried pickles, devilled eggs very US

Harmonious pairings

One of the fixed rules of any successful pairing is “to pair great with great and simple with simple”, in order to create pairings that are harmonious in their structure and length. It is therefore natural, in the case of Brunello di Montalcino, to pair it with complex dishes or with a simple ingredient that its truly “great”. This wine is perfect for accompanying foods with a strong taste of umami. The more concentrated and complex wines, obtained from riper grapes, also have more umami than others. Here are some examples of some extremely successful harmonious pairings.

Furred or feathered game served with rich sauces and condiments. For example, wild boar or venison with blueberry preserve turkey stuffed with prunes and summer or white truffle Guinea fowl flavoured with sage, or hare with juniper, which recall this wine’s balsamic notes.

A princely chianina rib steak, rich in umami.

The spices and herbs recalling the fragrances of the wine, for adding to sauces and gravies.

Pastries and desserts: blueberry biscuits and chocolates with fruity liqueur fillings.

Cheese: provolone del Monaco, mature Parmigiano Reggiano, pecorino or Ragusano PDO.

Summer Tri-Tip

Tri-tip is a triangular end piece of the sirloin and one of the most venerable cookout cuts there are. It's really easy to over-cook so be careful.

Pair it with the Goldschmidt Vineyards Forefather's 2009 Lone Tree Vyd., Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the highly-rated wines from this month's Signature Series!


&bull 2 lb Tri-tip roast
&bull 1/2 cup soy sauce
&bull 1/4 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
&bull 4 cloves garlic, minced
&bull freshly ground black pepper, to taste
&bull 1/4 cup cilantro

Place meat in a lidded, plastic container, and cover with remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Shake container periodically. To barbecue, heat coals to red-hot stage.

Cook roast for 25 minutes, covered, then remove lid from the grill and cook for 40-50 minutes on open fire, or until required doneness is achieved. The meat should attain a dark caramel color, while still remaining pink and juicy on the inside.

Serve with a green salad, crusty bread and barbecued beans.

Recommended Wine Pairings

Need a wine pairing suggestion for this recipe? Please call our wine club at 1-800-777-4443 to speak with our club's Personal Wine Consultants. You may also visit our wine club's wine store for a full list of available wines recently featured in our wine club.

Big, tannic, red Nebbiolo needs a cut of beef that’s both flavorful and marbled with fat. Rib-eye’s your steak for this one. And the miso butter on ours adds a remarkable savory bridge to the wine.

Dungeness crab and Chardonnay are a perennial treat. The sweet fruit flavors a Chard offers keep step with the sweet shellfish, and the wine’s typical butteriness ― which can get in the way for some foods ― is an asset with crab.

Choose a Chardonnay with a bright lemon profile to echo the Meyer lemon juice in this salad. And if you find one with a hint of tropical fruit, you’ll have a link to the sesame oil in the dish too.

Wine & Vinyl Pairings

We have paired up some of our favorite wines with some of our favorite albums! Check out the graphic below and then tell us what your favorite wine & vinyl pairings are!

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Charcuterie Platter

Just like the fancy appetizer board you might order at a restaurant, this charcuterie platter is a beautiful and variety-filled way to launch into a DIY date night. It&rsquos actually even better enjoyed at home. Not only can you customize your spread with your favorite cured meats, cheeses, pickled items, spreads, and more, but you also can enjoy it in the comfort of your pajamas if desired.

Pair it with: A lighter-bodied red like a Bordeaux makes a lovely red wine food pairing for the cured meats. We recommend 2015 Château Greysac Cru Bourgeois Médoc ($23,

Tomato and Peach Burrata Salad

This is one of the easiest recipes but you can position it in a way that it looks super


  • Two tomatoes
  • Two peaches
  • Buratta
  • Basil
  • White Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper


I start by cutting the peaches and tomatoes in small slices that I can easily arrange on the plate, make sure they are all the same size! Place the burrata in the middle and position the slices of fruit on the plate around it, alternating peach and then tomato. I drizzle a little olive oil and a good amount of white balsamic vinegar. Finish with some S&P and garnish with basil.

Why this pairing works

This is the perfect summer food and wine pairing because the acidity of the tomato, peaches, and balsamic stands up perfectly to the acid in the Sauvignon Blanc. Burrata is also a fabulous cheese to pair with Sauvignon blanc because it is light and creamy, but not too over powering that the wine won’t be able to stand up to it. The basil adds a nice touch to match with the slight herbaceous notes in the wine.


Melon is so refreshing and the flavors of peppery arugula pair well with the crispy prosciutto.

Bay Shrimp Salad (or Sandwich)

This is an easy and delicious recipe for spring and summer meals. From Michele Anna Jordan who is author of the new “Good Cook’s” series. Email her at [email protected] com and visit her blog at

Baked Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini

A great recipe found on Janet Fletcher's enewsletter Planet Cheese. The recipe is from My Calabria by Rosetta Costantino with Janet Fletcher (W.W.Norton).

Braised Fennel & Celery

Two great vegetables in a delicious side dish. By Michele Anna Jordan

Bruschetta with Sauteed Greens

This delicious recipe using winter greens on bruschetta will liven any appetizer tray.

Caeser Salad with Rock Shrimp

Chicken and Rice Pilaf

A delicious anytime of the year chicken recipe from the San Francisco Chronicle food page.

Chicken with Leeks and Potatoes

An easy dish to put together-springtime leeks are delicious in this one pan meal.

Chicken Apricot Curry

This delicious recipe comes from our local paper, the Press Democrat, by Michele Anna Jordan--she pairs food and wine so beautifully we asked if we could share it here. Go to her website for more inspired recipes.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

An easy, healthy version of this soup.

Corvina with roasted beets, beet greens and orange gremolata

This is a my take on the recipe I found on

Couscous Salad with Eggplant, Zucchini, Tomatoes & Chickpeas

This recipe was developed by Michele Anna Jordan, writer for the Food & Wine column in the Press Democrat, specifically for our Bushnell Vineyard Zinfandel.

Green Chile Chowder

Another tasty dish from local chef Michele Anna Jordan who is author of the new "Good Cook’s" series. Email her at [email protected] com and visit her blog at

Fettuccine and White Bean Soup

This soup comes together nicely with some salty prosciutto accenting the beans and pasta.

Grilled Fish with Chermoula Sauce

This is a recipe from the Chile Pepper magazine as found in The Blade a newspaper in Canada. I was intrigued by the north African flavors and was not disappointed as it went very well with the swordfish I had on hand.

Halibut with Spicy Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette

A delicious combination, this recipe hails from Simple Life, an online magazine.

Mexican Tortilla Chicken Soup

This is our go-to wintertime soup-I found this delicious version by Katie Workman in our local paper.

Moroccan Lemon Shish Kebabs

A great recipe from one of my favorite recipe sites:

Pan-Roasted Cauliflower With Garlic, Parsley and Rosemary

A great combination of flavors. Perfect cold weather fare.

Pasta Salad with Broccoli and Olives

Pasta with Lemon Cream and Prosciutto

A delicious recipe from Bon Appetit. This pasta recipe below is a perfect example of a dish for any season. Its’ fresh flavors and great ingredients are always available and can be made any time of the year.

Pecorino and Warm Olives

Just about any sheep’s milk cheese would be a compatible partner for these seasoned olives. Try pecorino toscano, France’s Abbaye de Belloc, Carr Valley Marisa from Wisconsin or a Spanish Manchego. Aged goat cheeses, such as Dutch goat Gouda or Spanish Garrotxa, would work, too. The olives improve if made a day ahead. Let stand at room temperature, covered, and rewarm gently before serving with cocktails or the evening’s first glass of wine. Adapted from The Cheese Course.

Rosemary Pasta with Black Olives & Carrots

From food writer Georgeanne Brennan

Spaghetti Squash with Persillade & Lemon

Michele Anna Jordan, Sonoma County chef, cookbook author and resident, wrote about parsley in The Press Democrat for springtime dish ideas. This is one of three.

You may read about her other recipes and projects here:

Spaghettini with Yellow Tomatoes, Green Olives, Chevre and Capers

A great recipe for using up summer's tomatoes--use red ones or a mixture of heirloom if you like. By Michele Anna Jordan

Spice Roasted Chickpeas

A great recipe with many options for flavoring this snack. From the blog "On the Table Today".

Spicy Thai Turkey Meatballs

A delicious blend of flavors-making it a great savory dish. Found on and is created by Mary Subialka. This is a very versatile-it can be made as an appetizer or served over rice for a meal. She provides a green curry option as well.

Three Cheese Crackers

A great cracker recipe that is wine friendly. A recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Vegetable Biryani

A great dish, aromatic and vegetarian. A nice wintertime meal. Found on the website.

Vegetarian Cassoulet

A hearty and flavorful dish with a tasty vegetable combination.

Warm Chicken Salad

From the Tasting Table website comes a great chicken dish created and adapted by Jody Williams of Buvette in New York.

Zucchini Tots

A yummy way to get your vegetables.

Zucchini Noodles with Pistachio-Parsley Pesto

Another favorite from the recipe website known as The Kitchn. Enjoy zucchini in a different form-as pasta!

Slow Cooked Teriyaki Salmon on bed of Cucumber

A nice blend of flavors and the warm salmon on a bed of cucumber is the perfect match with the marinade. From Michele Anna Jordan who is the author of 24 books to date, including "The Good Cook’s Book of Salt & Pepper." Email her at [email protected]

Zucchini Rice Gratin

A great way to use up zucchini and tomatoes.

Soupe Au Pistou

A delicious bean soup enhanced by the 'pistou' or pesto in Italian.

Shrimp Salad with Avocado and Orange

Colorful as well as flavorful this packs great flavor into a salad.

Roasted Carrot & Potato Salad

A delicious recipe from Ken Rochioli of KR Catering Healdsburg CA

Spring Herb Salad

Michele Anna Jordan, Sonoma County chef, cookbook author and resident, focused on parsley for spring recipes in The Press Democrat. More here:

Zucchini Fritters

This recipe is by Claudia Roden from her cookbook "Arabesque" and gives some flavor to a somewhat bland summertime vegetable

Broiled Feta with Garlicky Cherry Tomatoes and Capers

A tasty way to use up some of those cherry tomatoes-use different colors for a striking appetizer.

Grilled Shrimp Tostadas with Tomato-Corn Salsa, Guacamole, and Lime

A perfect summer or fall recipe but delicious anytime of the year. A great way to use up tomatoes and corn from the garden.

Avocado Toasts with Arugula Pesto and Crisp Cucumber

This is an easy Saturday lunch or brunch sandwich. Here's a hint: you can easily turn these into crostini by toasting a baguette thinly sliced and downsizing the portions-a pleasing party platter!


Brenda Simoneau shared this great recipe on her blog which contains photos of each step in the process.

Butternut Squash and Leek Soup with Gruyere Pesto Toasts

Butternut Squash is one of the most flavorful wintertime squash and paired with Leek and Gruyere Toasts makes this extra special. By Sara Moulton

Asian Pork Shoulder Stew with Anise

I usually focus on beef for long-cooking stews but found this recipe to be equally appealing and it uses pork in a flavorful broth of ginger and star anise.

Shaved Asparagus Salad with Ricotta

Asparagus shaved in this salad is a unique way to serve it and along with artisan ricotta this is spring in a bowl! From Chef Julie Logue-Riordan via Janet Fletcher's Planet Cheese enewsletter.

Moroccan Chicken with Roasted Lemons and Green Olives

Flavorful and easy-two things go together for a delicious dish! Roasted lemons and green olives pair well together.

Weeknight Thai Chicken Curry

Weeknights or any night this flavorful recipe will be easy and quick so you have more time to relax. From Melissa D'arabian.

Grilled Italian Sausages with Cauliflower, Fennel, Red Onion and Basil Gremolada

Light spring and summer fare.

Spice-Rubbed Chicken Tacos with Shredded Napa Cabbage, Cilantro and Monterey Jack Cheese

A tasty combination of spices lends itself to a flavorful and easy dish.

Charred Cauliflower With Anchovies, Capers and Olives

A tasty combination of flavors makes this a great main dish or side dish-serve with grilled fish or chicken if you wish.

Snap Pea Salad

I’ll let our friend and wine club member John Dewitt tell the story of this salad: “In 2011 our daughter came to visit us during a hot Phoenix summer. She made the salad for us and told us she first had it at the Union Square Cafe. She asked for the recipe and they referred her to their newsletter. Since then we have found many different takes on the recipe but the original is by far the best. Crunchy, cold, and wonderfully refreshing. At our house it’s referred to as Kaija’s USC Salad. And we rarely have leftovers!”

Rice with Chickpeas, Lemon and a Bouquet of Herbs

In this recipe, by local chef Michele Anna Jordan, she brings together a touch of sweetness for a side dish with both carrots and the maple syrup-just a touch to bring out the umami of roasting the veggie along with the deep flavor of bacon.

Bacon-Shrimp Kebabs

Julie's notes: Once I saw this used bacon and shrimp together in a kebab I was intrigued-how delicious is this combination? From the marinade for the shrimp (orange-chardonnay-cumin) along with the Comeback sauce (you will be coming back for more!) this is a so simple and tasty. I paired it with a fennel-beet salad with Point Reyes Blue Cheese crumbles.

Tomato & Corn Chowder with Salmon, Ginger, & Lemongrass

Summertime soup? Yes! This brings together a few choice ingredients with layers of flavor and a light touch for warm nights.

Spaghettini with Zucchini Noodles, Wax Beans & Basil

This easy mid-week recipe combines great summer veggies with a touch of basil for a satisfying and tasty pasta dish.


When crab season is on here in northern California this Cioppino recipe from another favorite local chef Michele Anna Jordan is the perfect combination of fresh herbs and a bit of spice from my favorite player red pepper flakes. It even uses the crab shells in a homemade broth to bring even more deliciousness to your bowl.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Fennel Soup with Fried Sage

Lots of flavor with the fennel and sage complementing the sweetness of the squash. From Discover California Wines.

Garlic Prawns with Warm Cucumber and Ginger Salad

Spring brings lighter fare and this recipe is perfect-a touch of spice to lift the flavors and cool cucumbers over greens. From Discover California Wines.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Feta, Mint and Toasted Pita Croutons

An easy dish for those hot summer days-tasty and the vinaigrette is also the marinade!

Mac & Cheese with Fresh Peas, Cauliflower and Toasted Garlic Breadcrumbs

A tasty recipe from Discover CA Wines-a great way to change up the Mac and Cheese game.

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