(BPT) - Summer means long days, bountiful sunshine and fresh fare to tantalize the taste buds. Locally grown produce, grilled meats and seafood, and new takes on classic dishes like pizza and pasta make this the season to raise a glass and toast to family, friends and the sharing of delicious food.
White wine is a classic summer drink that never goes out of style. However, you may want to look beyond the traditional chardonnays and sauvignon blancs when creating the perfect pairings for your summer menus.
If you want alternative white wines for upcoming meal pairings, the following options are guaranteed to satisfy whether you're making an intimate meal for two or are hosting a large outdoor event.
Perfect pairing: Pinot gris and grilled poultry and seafood
Wine to try: Wairau River Pinot Gris 2015 Marlborough
Grilling poultry and seafood infuses amazing flavor, making it a popular main dish for summer dining. A pinot gris is a fantastic dry white wine that complements these types of dishes. With the rich fresh flavor of pear and green apple mingling with touches of spice, this wine adds weight to the palate and completes the dining experience.
Perfect pairing: Chenin blanc with salads and fresh vegetables
Wine to try: Protea Chenin Blanc 2016 Western Cape
Whether you regularly visit the farmers market, subscribe to a CSA or grow your own produce in a home garden, fresh vegetables are abundant throughout the summer season. When enjoying a luscious salad, pour yourself a glass of chenin blanc. This lively wine with notes of stone fruit have a light body that enhances without overwhelming fresh fare.
Perfect pairing: Garganega with shellfish, fish and white pizza
Wine to try: Anselmi San Vincenzo 2016 Veneto
Summer is the ideal time for new takes on favorite dishes. For example, try a white pizza for extraordinary, outside-the-box flavor. White pizza typically features a garlic sauce that is then topped with loads of vegetables. This light take on pizza calls for a crisp, medium-bodied wine made from garganega grapes. (This dry variety is also a great option for shellfish and fish dishes.)
Perfect pairing: Carricante with pesto dishes and white fish ceviche
Wine to try: Alta Mora Etna Bianco 2015
Wines made from the carricante grape are sure to please. Fresh and fruity, with touches of earthy minerality, this silky, full-bodied wine is a wonderful pair to the pesto dishes that are so popular during summertime. (Also ideal for seafood and shellfish, particularly fish ceviche.)
Perfect pairing: Falanghina with pasta made with citrus- and cream-based sauces
Wine to try: Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina 2015
Inspired by warm weather, chefs often create a citrus- or cream-based pasta dish on their summer menus. You too can enjoy this quintessential summer trend by cooking your own recipe from the comfort of your home and then enjoying it with a big glass of Falanghina. Fresh and well-balanced, this wine blends flavors of flowers and fruit, and has a clean finish.
Need more inspiration? Try this recipe and visit www.uncorked.com/discovery-whites.html for the right wine pairings.
Simplest Shrimp Kebabs
Pick and choose the vegetables that are freshest at the market, and alternate them with plump shrimp on skewers to create a colorful warm-weather entrée.
1 1/2 pounds raw peeled and cleaned jumbo (16 to 20 count) shrimp
3 cups mixed vegetables, such as red onions, bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, or briefly cooked cauliflower or broccoli, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces, or whole cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup Citrus Basil Sauce (recipe follows)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving
Fourteen 6-inch or eight 12-inch wooden or metal skewers
1. Place the shrimp in a large bowl. Add the vegetables, then toss with the Citrus Basil Sauce. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.
2. If you are using wooden skewers, at least 30 minutes before cooking soak them in water to cover in order to prevent them from burning.
3. Thread the shrimp and veggies on skewers, creating appealing patterns. (The 6-inch skewers will hold about 3 pieces of shrimp, alternating with veggies; for 12-inch skewers, double that amount.) Lightly salt and pepper the skewers.
4. Preheat the grill to medium-high.
5. Grill the kebabs until the shrimp is cooked through and everything has a nice grill-marked exterior, about 3 minutes per side. Serve the kebabs hot, with wedges of lemon. If you used metal skewers they will be hot, so make sure your guests know.