Expert Jill Hough’s Tips on the Best Wines for Spring

Wine, like food, has a seasonal quality and now that it’s spring we asked Jill Silverman Hough, author of the new book 100 Perfect Pairings: Main Dishes to Enjoy with the Wines You Love (Wiley), to share her tips on what to sip these days. If you enjoyed her fabulous (and easy) Coppa-Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Blue Cheese with Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah this winter, you’ll love her Fish “Burgers” with Minted Napa Cabbage Slaw with Pinot Grigio now!

Spring has sprung! Do you find that as the light changes, the days get longer and warmer, you want different wines than you’ve been sipping all winter?

Definitely. Just as I crave salads in the spring and summer and stews and pot roast in the winter, I also crave different wines depending on the season. Frankly, I’m not sure if the wines I’m craving changes or if, since the food cravings change, I crave different wines because they’ll go better with those foods. Probably a little of both.

In general, what makes a wine more “spring” vs. winter or fall?

Wine preferences, and likes and dislikes about food and wine pairing, are highly personal, so it’s always important to me to acknowledge that there is no “right” thing to eat or drink and there are no hard and fast rules–other than that you should eat and drink whatever makes you happy.

That said, spring is light and bright and sunny and refreshing, so the wines that go with spring, and typical spring foods, will have similar qualities.

What are the best wines to serve with spring fare?

Right now, I’m craving light, bright whites: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, crisp Chardonnay. I also recently had a Viognier that I’m still thinking about.

I always think of white wines or roses in spring and summer, but are there reds that also make great sippers with spring dishes?

I’m with you regarding whites and roses in spring and summer, but I also enjoy Pinot Noir and Grenache during warmer weather. Sometimes the mood just calls for a red, and those two hit the spot because they’re lighter reds.

What’s your personal favorite go-to wine for spring?

It changes, depending on what I’m eating (or not) and what the weather is like. Right now, it’s a crisp sunny day in Napa and I could really go for a glass of crisp, sunny glass of Chardonnay.

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