Wine Pairing: Peaches & Riesling

By dhueston 
In: Wine 101

It's no secret we love peaches here at Kendall-Jackson. If you've ever visited our Wine Estate & Gardens during the summer months, chances are you've enjoyed a dish made with a Dry Creek Peach– a favorite local purveyor we often feature in our Wine & Food Experience and at our Farm-to-Table dinners. So if you're like us and are looking for the perfect pairing for your bounty of perfectly ripe peaches, look no further. Let's explore why peaches and Riesling are a match made in summer heaven. We'll delve into the flavor profiles that make them the ultimate power couple, share tips on selecting the juiciest peaches, and share a few culinary creations you can whip up to truly celebrate this pairing perfection.

Picking the Perfect Peach 

Peaches are synonymous with summer. Across the U.S., peak peach picking season is typically late May through September. Depending on when they are picked, your fruit may not be ready to eat and may require some additional ripening time. So, how do you know when your peach is ripe and ready? First, look at the color. Contrary to popular belief, you want there to be an abundance of yellow, an indication the fruit is ripe versus deep orange, an indication your peaches are overripe. The quintessential color of yellow mixed with orange is referred to as ground color. Next, give it a gentle squeeze. There should be some "give" and it should be slightly soft to the touch. Almost as if you can feel the juiciness behind the peach fuzz. And as Executive Chef Tracey likes to say, "when you take a bite and a drip runs down your arm and hits your elbow, that’s when you know you have a great peach." If your fruit doesn't feel or look quite ready, simply place a single peach in a paper bag, fold it bag closed, let it sit at room temperature and it should ripen to perfection within two days.

A Perfect Pair: Peaches and Riesling 

When it comes to the best wine to pair with the ripest, juiciest peaches, we love a chilled bottle of Riesling. The sweetness of the peach naturally complements this wine variety's aromatics and crisp flavor. Reach for our classic Vintner's Reserve Riesling or our Jackson Estate Jensen Vineyard Riesling. Serve your between 45 – 49°F for a crisp and delicious way to beat the summer heat.

Kendall-Jackson Peach Toast with Garden Honey & Basil

Recipe: Peach Toast with Garden Honey & Basil 

For maximum flavor enjoyment, the best way to pair peaches and Riesling is often the most simple. That's why grilled peaches have become a go-to for picnics, BBQs, or just a quick snack perfect for lounging around in your backyard. Here's how to make one of our favorite dishes that combines the delectable flavors of ripe fruit, honey, basil, and crunchy salt:

  • Slice a fresh sourdough loaf or baguette into 1-inch thick slices. Fire up your grill and lightly brush both sides of each bread slice with oil (about 1 tablespoon per slice) and sprinkle with kosher salt. Grill the slices, turning once, until golden brown on both sides. Using tongs, transfer the slices to a serving platter. 
  • Slice at least 3 ripe peaches by halving them, removing the pit, and cutting into equal slices. Top the baguette slices with the peaches, dividing them evenly.
  • Drizzle each peach-topped toast with a tablespoon of local honey and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with sel gris (aka flaky sea salt) and garnish with fresh basil leaves.
  • For a more substantial version, layer on a paper-thin slice of prosciutto or creamy cheese such as Crescenza or Taleggio. 

Looking for more recipes? Try a salad version here with figs or here with bacon. Or savor the sweet side with a Peach Tart or a Rustic Honey Peach Galette.

Is your mouth watering yet? Ours certainly are! Show us how you're enjoying peaches with your favorite Kendall-Jackson wine by tagging us @kjwines