Pairing Wine with Spring Foods

When spring rolls around, the weather is perfect and it's time for a dinner party. Pair these wines with these 4 spring classics.

Which wines are best with spring foods?

Photo: Randy Mayor

Which wines are best with spring foods?

Spring brings delicate produce like English peas and asparagus, but choosing wines to accompany these season openers isn't as simple as "think light." Asparagus is particularly tough to pair because it clashes with many wines, especially reds.

Meats commonly served this time of year have special considerations, too. Ham's salty-smoky combination calls for a fruity, slightly sweet wine (to balance the sodium) that won't get lost in the smoke. And gamey lamb calls for a red with just the right amount of body and earthiness.

Pasta primavera

Photo: Randy Mayor

Pasta Primavera

America's Italian darling, pinot grigio, is a good match for this dish. However, an Italian Soave with a bit more body and plenty of acidity is also a great pick.

Folonari Soave 2008 (Italy, $10) Peach and floral aromas. Finishes clean and crisp (pictured)

Santi Soave Classico Vigneti di Monteforte 2008 (Italy, $15) Bright and lively with citrus and a dried herb finish

SPLURGE: Inama Soave Classico 2007 (Italy, $18) Creamy body carries peach, lemon, and almond flavors.

View Recipe: Pasta Primavera

Roast Leg of Lamb

Photo: Randy Mayor

Roast Leg of Lamb

Medium-bodied red wines, like malbec, shiraz, tempranillo, or grenache, have rustic qualities to match lamb's gaminess.

Bodegas Borsao Campo de Borja 2008 (Spain, $8) Coffee and herbs mingled with cherry fruit

Bodegas Montecillo Rioja Crianza 2005 (Spain, $12) Dry with tart red fruits, leather, and herbs (pictured)

SPLURGE: Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserva 2005 (Spain, $27) Earthy, smoky, and plummy, with a supple texture

View Recipe: Garlicky Leg of Lamb with Yogurt Sauce

Baked ham

Photo: Randy Mayor

Baked Ham

Riesling's apple, apricot, and pineapple flavors have a natural affinity with ham.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling Cold Creek Vineyard 2008 (Washington, $18) Lightly sweet with white peach and tropical fruit

Covey Run Riesling 2008 (Washington, $10) Racy with crisp red apple and pineapple (pictured)

SPLURGE: S.A. Prüm Riesling Kabinett Mosel Ürziger Würzgarten 2006 (Germany, $22) Luscious apricot and succulent peach

View Recipe: Simple Baked Ham

Asparagus Risotto

Photo: Randy Mayor

Asparagus Risotto

The herbaceous quality of sauvignon blanc works well with asparagus dishes. Austrian grüner veltliner is another sure winner.

Yellow Tail Sauvignon Blanc (Australia, $8) Zesty and crisp with lime and cut grass

Glazebrook Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (New Zealand, $15) Tropical fruit meets bell pepper and spring peas.The herbaceous quality of sauvignon blanc works well with asparagus dishes. Austrian grüner veltliner is another sure winner (pictured)

SPLURGE: Loimer Grüner Veltliner Trocken Kamptal 2007 (Austria, $22) Lively with grapefruit and peppery spice

View Recipe: Spring Asparagus Risotto

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