There's a season for everything, and—lucky for citrus lovers—oranges, lemons, and grapefruits shine during the cooler months. Their sunny scent and tart juiciness provide a burst of bright refreshment even when the temperatures drop.
Even so, those same tangy flavors can make many citrus-focused dishes tricky to match with wine. The key is balance on both sides of the flavor spectrum, which is why high-acid wines work best.
- oak-aged chardonnays
- full-bodied reds like zinfandel
Taste for yourself with our suggested pairings for the citrus-starring recipes that follow.
Fresh Fruit with Citrus Mint Dressing + Gewürztraminer
Recipe: Fresh Fruit with Citrus Mint Dressing
Sweetened with honey and mint, fresh fruit with citrus mint dressing makes a refreshing alternative to chocolaty desserts. Pair this delicate dish with an equally sweet gewürztraminer, which has its own honeyed flavor profile.
Grilled Swordfish with Citrus Relish + Sauvignon Blanc
Recipe: Grilled Swordfish with Citrus Relish
For dishes with heat, like this jalapeño-tinged citrus relish with meaty grilled swordfish, a light-bodied wine with minerality cools things down. Try a New Zealand sauvignon blanc with notes of flint and grass.
Blood Orange Relish Crostini + Rioja
Recipe: Blood Orange Relish Crostini
A dry, unoaked tempranillo wine like a Spanish rioja balances dry tannins and acid with juicy berry notes. Its bouncy but not-too-full structure makes it an ideal match for the red onion and ginger in these orange relish crostini.
Citrus Salad with Endive and Fennel + Shiraz
Recipe: Citrus Salad with Endive and Fennel
A touch of hazelnut oil adds richness to the snappy, bitter greens in this citrus salad with endive and fennel. A young shiraz, with its peppery bite and tannic mouthfeel, is a well-structured pairing for this flavorful salad.
Citrus Pasta Salad + Cava
Recipe: Citrus Pasta Salad
The slight sweetness and sparkle of cava makes it an agreeable match for nearly any dish. The main-course pasta salad has a wide range of flavors, from salty feta to basil to orange and grapefruit; the versatility of cava stands up to every bite.
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