How to pair Italian wines with classic summer dishes

Sponsored feature: presented by Cavit Wines


With summer in full swing, we’re all scrambling to pack in picnics, park hangs and potlucks before the sun sets on the season. This means setting the perfect menu for guests or bringing a tipsy treat for hosts.

But it’s not always easy to know which wine you should pick up for a variety of dishes that could include chips and guac to meaty burgers to sweet desserts. Italian wines are often ideal companions for most occasions because the terroir and winemaking techniques are so varied and encompass a wide range of complementary flavours. 

Whether you’re hanging out with friends on a backyard patio or hosting a late-night gathering in your home, you’ll often see people choosing Italian wines like the ones made by Cavit, who run a high-tech co-op in the Trentino region of northern Italy. 

Christie Pollard, a sommelier at Cork + Board, says that one of the characteristics of Cavit wines are their versatility.

“That makes them very approachable,” says Pollard, adding that they’re ideal for both beginners and seasoned wine pros.

When it comes to gifting wine to a host, Pollard suggests giving a bottle that you’ve tried before so you can accurately describe it and suggest possible pairings. “My rule of thumb is to always give people a bottle of wine that I’m hoping they’re going to enjoy with me,” she says.

But if you’re the host, here are some pairings of Cavit wines that are sure to match the notes of the summer season.

Tortilla chips and guacamole with pinot grigio

A simple and classic appetizer that never fails to please pairs well with pinot grigio.

“It’s a great introductory wine,” says Pollard. “It’s refreshing, meaning it has a really good backbone of acidity.”

Because guacamole is rich and chips are salty, a pinot grigio will help keep the medley of notes refreshed and lifted, and also cleanse the palate in between bites.

Charcuterie board with Prosecco

Prosciutto, melon, sliced peaches and ricotta salata come together for an effortless appetizer that is both light and substantial. And it pairs exceptionally well with Prosecco – Italy’s most popular sparkling wine.

“That effervescence can cut through things that are a bit richer and goes well with things that are a bit salted.”

Plus, Pollard offers some sagely advice: “You can’t go wrong with bubbles, ever.”

BBQ burger with red blend

The quintessential backyard burger has long been the domain of beer pairings. But a strong red wine can move in and balance out dishes where red meat is paired with tomato, onion, grilled onions and basil pesto.

Pollard says that a blended Italian red that brings together grapes like syrah, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and teroldego can be a great way to balance these flavours. “It has that classic Italian wine backbone with a good acidity which makes Italian wines so good with different kind of dishes”

Poke bowl with riesling

Fresh fish, watermelon, fresh mint, ginger and sesame oil offer elegance and approachability, suitable for a formal dinner party or a casual picnic. Pollard says an Italian riesling is ideal for a dish like this.

“That residual sweetness from the fruit will hold up and equal the sweetness from the melon,” she says.

“When it’s hot outside, you want to make sure that you’ve got layers of flavour,” she says. This helps ensure that wine’s refreshing notes always keep us ready for that next bite.

Hawaiian pizza with rosé

The pride of Chatham, Ontario, Hawaiian pizza brings together sweet pineapple with salty cured meats. And this unlikely combination is ideally paired with an Italian rosé – especially one that boasts a unique blend of Trentino red grapes, like Cavit’s. 

“It’s for people who love red wine and are looking for something crisp and refreshing,” says Pollard, noting that this rosé has a good acidic profile to balance out any kind of tomato sauce that you’d be using on a pizza.

Strawberry shortcake with moscato

Shortcake, berries and cream create the perfect dish for any summer’s evening. And a well-made moscato offers the ideals flavours to end a night with.

“It has that touch of sweetness and a slight effervescence as well.” This means it’s going to help keep things that are a little bit richer – like a shortcake – crisp and refreshed.

Pollard also suggests substituting the strawberries with cherries, peaches or nectarines, updating the fruit as the season moves along, holding onto summer for as long as you can.  


Find out more about Cavit wines in our month-long digital residency!

Leave your opinion for the editor...We read everything!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *