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The Best Wines to Serve with Brunch

March 8, 2014

Brunch’s charm lies in its varied, all-things-to-all-people character. The fare can be deliciously sticky-sweet pancakes, spicy Mexican chilaquiles, or grilled steak with poached eggs. Whichever direction you favor, brunch is a leisurely meal and the perfect opportunity to pour a glass of wine or share a bottle with friends. These pairings cover a number of brunch dishes and styles you’re likely to encounter on weekends.

Related: 14 New, Lighter Comfort Food Ideas

Croissants, Muffins, Coffee Cake

Serve Champagne

Because buttery pastries and quick breads deserve a bubbly with some of the complex, yeast-biscuit notes one finds in distinguished Champagnes.

A Brunch Featuring Lots of Bacon

Serve Chardonnay

Because Chardonnay aged gently in oak has expressions of butterscotch and vanilla that play off the salty-smoky jolt of good bacon.

Related: Delicious Desserts in 15 Minutes or Less

Steak and Eggs

Serve Merlot

Because if there were a comfort wine, it would be soft, velvety, easy-drinking merlot. It fits the most classic and indulgent of comfort proteins, steak and eggs, like a glove.

Southern-Style Ham Steak with Redeye Gravy

Serve White Rioja

Because the light, sweet-tart playfulness of the grape Viura (from which most white Riojas are made or blended) is just right for the salt and smoke of a good ham and for the nutty, tannic quality of a redeye gravy made with strong coffee.

Related: 47 Ways to Maximize Space in Your Kitchen

Classic English Fry-Up

Serve Australian Rhone-Style Blend

Because the disparate elements on the plate of a classic fry-up — streaky bacon, potatoes, roasted tomatoes, and kidneys — call for a wine that brings them together, one with jammy-berry fruit flavors and an earthy undertone.

Huevos Rancheros or Chilaquiles

Serve Beaujolais (Chilled)

Because the heat of chiles, coupled with the mellow flavors of corn tortilla and egg, typify brunches inspired by Mexican or Southwestern dishes. The red-berry juiciness of the Gamay grape draws out the fruitiness in chiles, while the chilled wine cools their heat.

Related: 22 Chicken Dinner Recipes in Less Than 30 Minutes

Sausage and Peppers

Serve Moscato d’Asti

Because sausage and Moscato d’Asti is a classic pairing, and for good reason. The riot of seasonings in a good sausage — fennel seed, crushed red pepper, garlic — call for Moscato’s fragrant, peach-nectar flavors, which refresh the palate with every sip.

Smoked Salmon

Serve Dry Hungarian Furmint

Because the dry white wines made from Furmint, a grape typically used in the dessert wine Tokaji Aszu, have a bracing lemon character that’s like a squeeze of juice on smoked salmon. It balances the richly smoky, salty sensations of the fish.

French Toast or Pancakes with Toppings

Serve Italian Prosecco

Because its dry citrus flavors and lively effervescence are the perfect foil for the thick, sweet toppings, such as maple syrup and honey, that are often drizzled on these brunch mainstays. But Prosecco is equally suited to pancake and French toast partners that possess more acidity and fruit flavor, such as apple, rhubarb, or currant compotes.

Frittatas, Omelets, Quiches, Other Egg Dishes

Serve German Riesling

Because eggs are notoriously challenging to pair, but the gently sweet, round, and sometimes resinous flavors in Riesling give focus to the shyness of eggs and to the medley of vegetables — onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, and bell peppers — that commonly appears in these dishes.

More from Martha Stewart:
Quick, One-Pot Meal Ideas To Feed the Whole Family
Grilled Cheeese Recipes for Grown-Ups

Next week take brunch to another level with a wine cocktail.