What’s the Best Wine to Pair with Apples?

Apples come in a variety of flavors, making for diverse wine pairing options. The combination may not keep the doctor away, but it certainly can't hurt.
Photo by Meg Baggott / Food Styling by Ray Garraffa

Apples, the country’s second-most-consumed fruit after bananas, hold a special place in our culture. They’re a symbol of Americana, everywhere from apple pie to the Big Apple. In the kitchen, there’s no end to their versatility. They show equal affinity with sweet, sour, spicy and meaty flavors, while apple cider and brandies (like applejack and Calvados) show the fruit’s appeal in the glass. Apples may not keep the doctor away, but they can’t hurt.

Fun Facts About Apples

Le trou Normand (“the Normand hole”) is a French tradition where diners take a sip of Calvados during a long meal to restore appetite.
The heaviest apple ever picked weighed more than four pounds.
As Chinese as apple pie? China produces almost 10 times more apples than the U.S..
Apples originated in Kazakhstan. The only variety native to North America is the crabapple.
Steve Jobs took his inspiration from a visit to an orchard when he named Apple.

Pair It

Dan McCaffrey is wine director at The Marc in Walla Walla, Washington, where both apples and grapes thrive.

“With fresh-cut apples and cheese, I’d choose an earthy Pinot Noir from Oregon or Burgundy like the 2015 Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir, with a silky texture and red fruits that blend with both the crisp and rich flavors,” McCaffrey says. “For whites, the vanilla, caramel and apple notes of a buttery oak-aged Chardonnay like the 2014 Mer Soleil Chardonnay Reserve roll perfectly in.

An Apple Brandy a Day Keeps the Winter Blues Away

“For apples in salads with vinaigrette, I’d pair an unoaked Chardonnay, or one just lightly kissed with oak, like the 2015 L’Ecole No. 41 Chardonnay. And for traditional apple pie, I feel that botrytized wines, and sweeter Rieslings and Gewürztraminers, complement this American tradition.”

The Jack Rose Cocktail
  • 2 ounces apple brandy
  • ¾ ounce grenadine
  • ¾ ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Directions

Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass or coupe.

Published on September 20, 2017
About the Author
Nils Bernstein
Contributing Editor, Food

A fan of sweet wines, sour beers, and old-school Rioja, Bernstein is an exhaustive traveler in search of new and unsung chefs and restaurants, innovative wine and food pairings, and eating and drinking at the source. In addition to Wine Enthusiast, Bernstein has written for Bon Appetit, Men’s Journal, New York Times, Men’s Fitness, Hemispheres, and Kinfolk, among others.

Email: nbernstein@wineenthusiast.net



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