One of the welcome reminders of this long hot summer (in the Languedoc at least) is just how well dry wines go with fresh fruit. I’ve been happily drinking whites, ross and even reds with fruit such as peaches, apricots, melons and figs. Sweet wines, of course, go well with all of these but sometimes sweet wines seem too intense, particularly if, like me, you don’t have a very sweet tooth.
The ideal wines to pair with fruit are young unoaked - or subtly oaked - and fruity themselves. I particularly like rosé with peaches and melon, slightly aromatic wines like Viognier with both peaches and apricots and fruity lightly chilled reds such as Cinsault with strawberries, peaches and fresh figs. Riesling works well too: For reasons too complicated to go into we happened to have a bottle of Australian Tingletip Riesling to hand which went particularly well with some grapes.
I’ve also noticed how much more frequently the French offer fresh fruit for dessert than we do. Obviously they have better quality, riper fruit but also a taste - in simple restaurants at least - for less rich puddings. On our way down through France we were offered fresh peaches in verveine (lemon verbena) syrup, peaches and mint granita and fresh pineapple with basil. Any accompanying herb or some young goats' cheese will make it more likely that a dry wine will match but if the dessert includes a sweet accompaniment such as ice cream or a parfait or semi-freddo you’re more likely to need to reach for a sweeter bottle.