A Guide to Wine Pairing when Offering a Boozy Brunch

A wine program makes up a crucial part of a restaurant’s overall monthly sales, and many restaurants are seeking to feature unique options to entice their guests. Offering specific wine pairings that match a restaurant’s own cuisine offers diners a chance to branch out of their comfort zone to try something unique that will complement their meal. Yet what many restaurants fail to consider is their brunch menu when crafting their wine pairings. Weekend brunch for many restaurants has evolved into much more than breakfast service as many diners view brunch as a destination stop for imbibing.

The so called “Boozy Brunches” feature a number of alcoholic offerings, oftentimes bottomless, such as mimosas, bloody marys, and other fruit based cocktails. And while brunch may not be the obvious time for wine pairings, by not considering this crucial sales opportunity, a restaurant closes itself off to an additional area of revenue.

Below is a list of tried and true brunch wine pairings focusing on some of the more classic breakfast menu items. 

Omelets and Scrambles: Eggs may not be the most classic of wine pairing dishes, but there are many wines that will do the trick. When considering the pairing, the main point to tackle is the oily, richness of the eggs. A sparkling wine would be the obvious choice for the majority of pairings. One doesn’t need to break the bank with this pairing and instead of a higher price point Champagne, a cremant-style wine—a wine made from another region in France but in the same traditional style as Champagne—would fit the same flavor profile and structure that would pair well with a number of egg based dishes. Rose wines, both sparkling and still, also make for an interesting pairing and depending on the preparation and additional ingredients and sauces, could benefit well from the extra fruit forward quality.

Pancakes, Waffles and Pastries: Perhaps one of the easiest brunch wine pairings, it is rather difficult to mess up a wine pairing matched with these bready, classic dishes. However, an aspect one must consider is the accompanying sauce or toppings these pastries contain. Generally doused in maple syrup, the ideal wine pairing would be one that could absorb the sweetness from the syrup without destroying the delicacy of the pastry. Look to white wines that have a bigger body, although aren’t overwhelming on the palate, such as an oak aged Chenin Blanc or Grenache Blanc.

Bacon and Sausage: No brunch is complete without a side of a salty meat dish, generally a pan fried bacon or sausage. While thought of as more of an accompaniment than the full meal, these dishes beg for a wine pairing that will satiate their greasy goodness. A wine that is an ideal pairer for these types of side dishes would be the off dry sparkling wine Bugey Cerdon, a semi-sweet natural sparkler of Gamay that offers enough lush, fruity notes to absorb and counteract the meat’s salty, savory quality. Additionally, several off dry German Rieslings could also pair well, with the riper fruit qualities absorbing the salty flavors, while providing enough acidity to wipe one’s palate clean after each bite.

Steak and Eggs: While steak and eggs is a classic brunch menu item, the same can’t be said for the wine pairing. While many would immediately think of a bold, tannic red wine to pair with the steak, the addition of eggs to the dish must also be considered when thinking of what wine to pair. Additionally, the time of day is also a factor, with many diners looking for lighter, brighter wines to drink in the early hours of the morning. Going full force with a tannic Cabernet is a surefire way to ensure your guest doesn’t order a second glass.

For this pairing, sparkling rose is ideal. The high acid and carbonation help cut through the oily, richness of the eggs while still offering enough structure and red fruit notes to complement the steak. If you must go red, look for reds with a light to medium body that feature prominent fruit notes. Grapes such as Gamay, certain Pinot Noirs, and Pineau d’Aunis are great choices. Perhaps consider serving a chillable red as well. The quaffability, as well as versatility, make this an ideal pairer.

Sweeter, Fruit-Based Dishes: Whether a freshly baked pastry covered in jam or a decadent strawberry filled crepe, topped with whipped cream, sweeter based breakfast dishes are a staple of any classic brunch menu. When thinking of what to pair with these types of sweeter pastries, it would be helpful to think of traditional dessert pairings. Look towards an already sweeter offering such as a Moscato D’Asti to add an extra layer of richness to the pairing. Or, try something a little different such as pairing a classic Provencal rose to complement these fruity, sweeter leaning flavor profiles.