Wine With Breakfast, Anyone?

published Apr 8, 2010
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Do you enjoy a glass of wine with breakfast? What wine would you like to sip over breakfast? Or would you drink wine with breakfast at all?

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

This week is breakfast week at The Kitchn. While it might seem a bit strange to be talking about wine with breakfast, there are special occasions when it is fitting to enjoy a glass of wine with the first meal of the day. Particularly when breakfast starts later, as is often the case at weekends, when it actually becomes brunch.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

When I decided to write about breakfast wines, the first thing that came to mind of course was Champagne. Why? Perhaps, because it is the classic celebratory breakfast tipple? Or perhaps because it refreshing, and lively, therefore in keeping with the feeling of being ‘bright-eyed and bushy-tailed’ and ready to attack the day.

The more I pondered the more I focused on the types of foods that we might eat for breakfast, rather than the time of the day that breakfast is eaten. For many who work at night breakfast is the last, rather then the first meal of their day.

Around the globe, traditional breakfast fare differs as much as it does for any other meal of the day. Here in the United States, classic breakfast foods include savory dishes such as eggs any which way, bacon, sausage, cured meats, cheese, and smoked fish. Or sweeter delights like pancakes, waffles, freshly baked breads and toast.

The more foods I considered the longer and more interesting my list of wine possibilities looked.

First back to Champagne and sparkling wine. A key reason that these wines have proven to be excellent breakfast partners is their versatility. The crisp acidity as well as the bubbles help cut through the richness of egg dishes and fried foods, as well as the oiliness of smoked salmon and fattiness of many cured meats. Of course it does not have to be Champagne all the time. Cava, Prosecco as well as a plethora of New World sparkling wines will do the trick. Sparkling Rosé (dry or slightly off-dry) is a favorite for me.

So, why not look at other high acid wines to do the same. Last Sunday, I chose a dry Furmint from Hungary to enjoy with late Easter breakfast poached eggs and rabbit sausage in a local restaurant. Alternatively, with this dish I could have opted for a dry Chenin Blanc from the Loire, an Albariño from Rías Baixas, a crisp Chablis, or a dry Riesling . If I had baked eggs and ham I might choose a dry Fino sherry.

With spring here, now is the time to start looking at the newly released rosé wines. Go for a dry style, which will work with breakfasts of eggs and bacon (and some black pudding or blood sausage if you can get it), eggs benedict or a platter of cured meats. The 2009s should just be coming on the market.

Some red wines that work really well at breakfast are chilled Lambrusco from Italy, which will certainly cut through fatty fried foods. For lovers of cured meats or salty hard cheese I would also recommend light reds such as a Schiava from Alto Adige or Beaujolais Villages from France. Both of these styles would be perfect with Faith’s breakfast pizza.

Mushrooms are one of my favorite foods at any time. With a sauté of mushrooms or a mushroom omelet try a dry Oloroso or Amontillado sherry. The nuttiness of the sherry really brings out the earthiness in the mushrooms. A match made in heaven.

For the waffles, pancakes, French toast and sweeter baked goods I am inclined to veer toward Moscato d’Asti – sweet, slightly frizzante, aromatic and only about 5-6% alcohol, or a delicate Mosel Riesling Kabinett, which is also low in alcohol (7 to 8%), and light bodied. An off-dry Prosecco would also be an ideal companion or a demi-sec Vouvray from the Loire (Chenin Blanc grape).

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

As I am not a big cereal person, I have not paired them with wines, but I did come across an interesting video by well-known wine maverick Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV. Gary recommends a Von Kesselstatt Spatlese Scharzhofbergeron Riesling with Captain Crunch, Champagne Veuve Cliquot Demi-Sec with Lucky Charms and Landmark Chardonnay (Central Coast) with Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Interesting?

While a glass of wine can be a wonderful breakfast treat, it is probably not prudent to indulge so early on a regular basis. That said, I would love to hear about any great breakfast wine pairings that you would like to share?

Until next week!

Mary Gorman-McAdams, DWS, is a New York based wine educator, freelance writer and consultant. She holds the Diploma in Wine & Spirits from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), and is a candidate in the Master of Wine Program.

(Images: Mary Gorman)