I love brunch. I mean seriously, a great homemade brunch can be one of those next level eating and drinking experiences. Today I want to go beyond the Benny (not that there’s anything wrong with them – I’ve eaten my share. And probably some of yours, too!) with a collection of 11 decadent and breathtakingly delicious brunch recipes.
Part of the appeal of brunch is that it often becomes the perfect nexus point, where the decadent, indulgent and deliciously sublime, meet up with casual comfort and a distinctly unpretentious vibe; like sipping Champagne while munching on lobster breakfast tacos in your pyjamas. I mean really, can a sunny Sunday morning really get any better?
As a professional wine merchant by trade (ok, ok – wine geek, but I’ve held onto my amateur status) I can’t conceive of many occasions in life that aren’t made better by the inclusion of a well selected wine. But when it comes to brunch, I can’t help but allow some of that casual, laid-back vibe to intercede and impact that way I like going about picking the right wines.
So today, rather than presenting recipes with wine pairings and detailed descriptions of the relative merits of these various choices, I’d prefer to approach things in two parts – first, a list with four of my go-to brunch wines followed by 11 amazing brunch recipes.
My wine picks present sufficient diversity in style, flavour profile and pairing potential to ensure that if you keep all four on-hand for your next Sunday morning brunch, you can pick and choose from these 11 recipes featured today more or less guarantee to find yourself in a happy place.
So let’s start with beverages… here are my top brunch wine picks:
1. Rose Champagne
OK, so maybe this one was a little predictable. Or a lot predictable. But often classics become classics because they really just are that good. And this is the truth with bubbly and brunch. I am hard pressed to think of a food and wine marriage that delivers this kind of synergy. There’s something about the effervescence and delicate aromatic nature of well-chosen sparkling wines or Champagne that soothes the palate, offering something of a gentle “good morning” to your taste buds.
From mimosas as a bit of a hair of the dog, to the service of the finest vintage Champagnes during brunch service in 5-Star hotels around the world, there is a long history of enjoying bubbly as a part of your weekend breakfast regimen. For me though, the ultimate – and perhaps most food versatile – picks are dry rose Champagnes (and here’s one I absolutely adore!). These wines offer a bit more body than their white counterparts, and something about the colour and floral aromatics make them feel like the perfect picks at a spring brunch.
2. Off-Dry Aromatic White Wines
Shortly before my first product hunting trip and tour to through the wine regions of Germany with my Father and Grandfather, I recall my dad using a phrase to describe Mosel Riesling – that has stuck with me ever since – referring to them as “liquid sunshine”. I don’t think I have ever come across a better and more succinct reference point for the delicious aromatic white wines of Germany. While sweet and off-dry wines have taken a bit of a beating in recent years among certain members of the wine intelligentsia, I’ll tell you that some of the most delicious, most profound, most enticing “next-level” wines I’ve have ever tasted have featured a bit (or a bunch) of sweetness.
Today I want to focus on what the Germans call “Kabinett”, or a late-harvest style of wine. These wines are most commonly produced from Riesling (and I’d strongly encourage you to buy literally anything that’s got this guy’s name on the label!), but can also be made from other grape varieties (like this delicious Gewurztraminer). They tend to contain a bit of unfermented natural grape sugar, and the result is wines with slightly lower than average levels of alcohol – often in the 8%-10% alcohol range. The best Mosel Kabinett Rieslings offer bright citrus fruit and great freshness and acidity. Do these latter descriptions remind anyone of another common morning beverage?
3. Fleshy & Personable Mediterranean Red Wines
Let’s face it – when you roll out of bed in the morning, most people don’t sit back and lay claim to craving a big ol’ glass of rich, robust and full-bodied red wine. But as we all know, brunch is becoming an increasingly later-in-the-day kind of a meal (particularly if the rest of your weekend has been any kind of fun at all!) including more serious, heavier fare featuring more red meat and ingredients ideally geared to pair with red wine.
So while we acknowledge that this is probably one of those #FirstWorldProblems, allow me to introduce a couple of red wines I’d recommend uncorking at your next brunch festivity. First, without reading too many of my wine and food recommendations you’ll quickly discover that I’m a big fan of many red wines coming out of Spain these days. From the tasty Monastrell based reds of southeastern Spain (like this chart-topping best seller) to Garnacha (aka Grenache) based reds of Campo de Borja and Calatayud, you will find wines that deliver fabulous fruit flavours in a midweight frame.
Heading in a completely unrelated direction and moving north – way north! – and into serious French wine country, we come upon another, lighter set of reds made from Pinot Noir, as we arrive in Burgundy. If you’re a fan of beautiful fresh strawberries, raspberries and cherries, boy have we stumbled upon the right wine for you! Now in the heart of Burgundy, we come across a collection of some of the most seriously collectible and age-worthy Pinot Noir made anywhere, but that’s not what we’re talking about today.
When we examine some of the surrounding – or “satellite” – regions of Burgundy, like Givry or Marsannay or even better examples of “declassified” Bourgogne Pinot Noir bottlings (like this one, for example) we find wines that are infinitely more affordable – and enjoyable in their youth. These wines are like a glass full of crushed summer berry fruit, and offer the perfect refreshing, lighter to mid-weight reds you can enjoy alongside your favourite brunch-y munchies.
Wow – I’ve worked up an appetite with all this wine talk – it’s time to get cooking! So here we go with 11 breathtaking and decadent brunch recipes, from the sublimely sweet, to the seriously savoury: