20 Unconventional Foods To Pair With Rosé This Summer

Rosé wine offers the perfect balance between whimsical and sophisticated flavors. Plus, its vibrant color is a total summer vibe. And while you can definitely drink it year-round, hot weather and outdoor dining are the perfect ingredients for a chilled glass of rosé. While the category itself might appear fairly monotone, it encompasses a rainbow of hues that includes dozens of styles. Whether you like your wine sweet, tart, subdued, or bold, there's a bottle of rosé for you.

With such a wide variety, this type of wine makes an excellent match for plenty of dishes. You can channel the heart of this style by serving Provençal rosé with a Niçoise salad, but you'd be missing out on the multitude of ways the pink stuff can complement a meal. Thanks to the wide array of grapes and vinification methods used to make rosé, it's easy to step outside of the box and enjoy some unconventional food pairings with your next salmon-hued glass.

Watermelon salad

Thanks to its crisp texture and thirst-quenching properties, watermelon makes for the ultimate summer fruit. Its sweet, juicy flavors make it an excellent ingredient in a refreshing salad, and our favorite variations include a salty cheesy contrast. Take your meal outdoors with a grilled watermelon salad recipe; balsamic vinegar caramelizes to produce decadently rich flavors, while fresh basil and mint lighten it up with an herbal element. Finally, salty cotija or feta cheese is crumbled into the mix, providing the ideal blend of tastes.

If you're lucky and the watermelon is at peak ripeness, a high acid, dry rosé is the perfect option to balance out the sweetness. A classic Provençal rosé typically made with grenache or syrah will highlight some of the fruitiness and simultaneously counter it with hints of spice and herbal flavors. While the south of France is the star of the show here, garnacha rosado from northern Spain hits all the right flavor points, too (via Wine Folly).

Falafel wrap

Falafel wraps run the gamut, from a convenient fast food meal to an elevated dish that combines earthy, nutty flavors with tart pickled turnips, creamy hummus, and herb-infused yogurt sauce. Wrapped up in a warm stretchy pita bread, even a homemade falafel sandwich will hit the spot. No matter the final result, the delicious preparation deserves a fresh and vibrant glass of wine to tie it all together. In order to avoid going overboard on tangy flavors, a fruity option is your best bet.

For an easy match, look for rosé wines made with pinot noir — California or Oregon are good regions to start your search. You'll find plenty of berry aromas and creamy flavors that will pair delightfully with the yogurt sauce and hummus in your wrap. Meanwhile, Italian rosato made with sangiovese (the star grape in Chianti) brings pleasant notes of red fruit and fresh herbs to the table, with just enough tannins to stand up to a hearty falafel wrap. Alternatively, move a bit north to the Garda Lake region and sample a bottle of Bardolino Chiaretto DOC for a lighter (but no less flavorful) fruit-forward rosé to enjoy with your chickpea feast.

Lamb burgers

While a juicy beef burger might inspire you to crack open a beer or a bottle of cabernet sauvignon, lamb burgers are an excellent match for rosé wines. Thanks to its savory and gamey flavors, this complex meat option merits a nuanced pairing. Not only is the taste of lamb more interesting than typical barbecue meats like beef and chicken, there's also plenty of room for experimentation when it comes to seasoning. For the best lamb burger recipe, you're looking at flavors such as coriander, garlic, and mint served with paprika, lemon, parsley, and dill mayonnaise.

These layered flavors are ideal for picking up a range of aromas from a syrah-based rosé. The spice-forward earthy varietal complements the mixed elements in the patty without overpowering some of the subtle flavors. Options from the southern Rhône Valley in France that blend grapes like cinsault and mourvèdre hold up to the bolder flavors of the meat. If you want to impress your wine-loving friends, Lebanon's most esteemed producer Chateau Musar makes an impressive cinsault mourvèdre rosé that will highlight your lamb burgers' flavors while keeping your palate pleasantly refreshed.

Lobster rolls

When summertime hits, fresh seafood is at the top of our minds. Sure, cracking into a whole lobster is a luxurious (albeit, messy) affair, but lobster rolls are an easy no-brainer. Making them at home is as simple as it gets, and our classic recipe doesn't call for much beyond mayo, parsley, dill, and lemon juice to make the briny flavors of the large crustaceans shine. Paired with a fluffy and mildly sweet brioche bun, what's not to like? With this seafood feast, you'll want to heighten these decadent rolls by pairing them with rosé bubbles.

Rosé sparkling wine doesn't have to be a splurge, but you'll undoubtedly feel like it's a special occasion. For a fruitier take with red berry and floral notes, pop open a bottle of prosecco rosé. Or, highlight the brioche flavors of the bun with a traditional method sparkling wine. If you're ready to shell out the cash, rosé Champagne is an obvious choice. Otherwise, try a crémant de Bourgogne rosé, which is typically made by combining pinot noir, chardonnay, and gamay. The result is fruity and dry with a rich creamy finish that will accent the filling in your lobster roll.

Vegetarian pizza

You might be accustomed to washing down a slice of cheesy pizza with an ice-cold beer, but that's a recipe for feeling full. Instead, try pairing a vegetable-heavy pie with a bottle of bold rosé wine. Summer means plenty of fresh garden vegetables, so there's no excuse for not loading them up on your pizza. Zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, spinach — there's no shortage of flavor-packed (not to mention nutritious) options to serve on top of your pie.

Rosé is the perfect option to pour at your next pizza party thanks to its versatility. If you're just looking for something to rinse out your palate, then a classic Provençal rosé is always a great option for easy sipping. However, for a wine that will both complement and enhance the savory flavors of a vegetarian pizza, your best bet for a seamless match is an Italian varietal. Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo is a cherry-colored rosé made with the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo grape. Decanter explains that the variety's highly pigmented skins (which only come in contact with the juice for a short period of time) result in a rich color, structure, and sufficient tannins to stand up next to a hearty slice of pizza.

Grilled cheese

If your idea of summer dining revolves around a grill, then you'll want to serve up a slab of halloumi cheese at your next meal. In case you haven't had the chance to enjoy its simultaneously crispy and springy texture right off the flame, halloumi comes from Cyprus and can be made with cow, goat, or sheep milk (via Cheese.com). Thanks to its firm nature, it doesn't melt all over the grill and instead offers a deliciously briny flavor that will please both vegetarians and meat lovers. Alternatively, saganaki is a Greek dish made by frying lightly floured cheese in a pan (via Britannica).

In both cases, we're talking about a salty preparation that calls for a mouthwateringly crisp glass of rosé wine. If you're plating up the cheese in a salad with watermelon or strawberries, you'll want to highlight those fruity aromas while maintaining a dry palate. Once again, a rosé from Provence made with a blend of grenache, syrah, and assorted grapes makes for an excellent pairing (it's no wonder Vins de Provence describes the style as being "as timeless as [it is] iconic"). This citrusy, floral, and herbal wine shines yet again when served with salty grilled halloumi.

Shrimp skewers

Shrimp skewers can easily become one of the most creative items at a barbecue. For starters, you can keep it simple and season them minimally with oil, salt, and pepper. Alternatively, you can get experimental with a marinade that showcases citrusy tangy notes or perhaps the ideal contrast of sweet and spicy like our favorite grilled shrimp recipe. Then, there's the option of skewering your shrimp solo or alongside fruits — like mango or pineapple — for a truly tropical flavor.

With so many variations and flavor profiles, rosé is a versatile solution that can take you from citrus to berry notes with a hint of spice. If your dish is really spicy, a sweeter option like moscato or white zinfandel will tame the heat. But if you're really playing up the acidic flavors in your marinade, a fresh grenache-based rosé from southern France or northern Spain will complement these aromas. For a recipe that highlights tropical fruits, a syrah rosé from California or Canada's Okanagan Valley will tie it all together.

Crab cakes

Whether they're bite-sized or as big as your palm, crab cakes are a decadent treat that really lets this shellfish shine. Plus, you get to enjoy the delicious flavors without having to deal with cracking open the shell to get to the meat. Of course, everyone has their favorite way to make these buttery bites, but a standard crab cake recipe consists of crab meat, breadcrumbs or crackers, mayonnaise or cream, seasoning, and fresh herbs. It's really just an excuse to enjoy crab in its creamiest most unctuous form.

Such a rich meal requires a fairly high acid wine to cut right through it. We have two favorite picks, one of which is bubbles. Once again, the crisp nature of sparkling wine makes it a perfect palate cleanser that easily offsets this weighty dish. Try a crémant de Bordeaux rosé for a well-structured wine typically made with cabernet franc, merlot, or malbec grapes, among others. Alternatively, a cabernet franc rosé from the Loire valley in France will have just the right balance of herbaceous and fruity notes to complement every bite of your crab cake.

Poke bowls

The ultimate refreshing summertime dish, poke bowls are a convenient and incredibly customizable way to get your protein fix. Whether you're whipping up a classic ahi tuna poke bowl recipe or incorporating other seafood (or even tofu) into the mix, there are dozens of ways to create your ideal meal. With a soy and sesame profile, this dish has plenty of elements that make it exciting for the palate. Since the main components are typically raw, rosé wine is the best way to highlight the various flavors while maintaining a light balance.

Our top choice to serve with a tuna poke bowl is a rosé from Tavel or Bandol in the south of France. The former includes the typical Provence grapes such as grenache, syrah, mourvèdre, and cinsault, whereas the latter focuses on mourvèdre and fills in the balance with grenache and cinsault. With plenty of fruit, subtle spice, and a crisp mineral note, these wines are bold enough to stand up to the salty seasoning, yet elegantly subtle, making them the perfect complement to the fish.

Fish tacos

Whether you're serving them ready to eat or plan on setting up a DIY station, fish tacos are simply fun. They fit comfortably in your hand and offer endless creative variations — it's really hard not to love this humble dish. From fried fish to sashimi-grade raw tuna, and everything from coleslaw to guacamole, you can experiment with plenty of ingredients. With such an easy-going meal, it's best to keep the wine pairing fuss-free, which is why rosé is a great match.

If you're opting for battered and fried fish, look to sparkling wine. Just like a bubbly soda is the perfect palate cleanser for a crispy preparation, bubbly ros​​é elevates the experience a notch higher. For a classic tartar sauce and coleslaw rendition, you might just want to play up the high-low pairing and opt for a ros​​é Champagne. Or, if your taco is loaded with blackened salmon or tuna sashimi, Prosecco ros​​é is fruity, floral, and fun — the perfect complement to your handheld seafood feast.

Grilled corn

Both veggie and meat aficionados can't deny the appeal of a perfectly grilled ear of corn. Sinking your teeth into the charred kernels is as satisfying as it is eventually frustrating (which is why carrying floss in your pocket should be the norm). Whether you enjoy your corn on the cob in the traditional way, slathered in butter and heavily salted, or with citrus or aromatic garlic seasoning, there's no reason to miss out on summer's top vegetable.

If you're going for the classic buttery style, skip the oaked chardonnay and opt for a malbec ros​​é from Argentina. The dark wild berry aromas, subtle spice, and smooth finish make it a pleasant accompaniment to sweet corn. But if you're grilling up a zingy Mexican street corn recipe complete with lime, ancho chilis, cilantro, and tangy cotija cheese, then a refreshing glass of rioja rosé will do the trick. Made using the tempranillo grape, this style combines herbaceous notes with red fruits.

Chicken wings

Sure, chicken wings are the ultimate bar food, but that's not to say they can't get gussied up. When it comes to the poultry bits, the flavor is all about their marinade and sauce. From classic crispy baked chicken wings to a simple Buffalo wing recipe, there are endless ways to season them. For a bright taste, we love a zesty lime-based profile, but there's always room for classic barbecue sauce wings in our bellies. And if you're grilling up a storm, chances are that chicken wings will be on the menu.

While you might be accustomed to washing down your wings with a cool pint of lager, you'll feel just as refreshed with a glass of rosé — plus, the lack of carbonation will leave space for a second helping. If you've upped the spice factor on the sauce, a lightly sparkling Bugey Cerdon from France has just the right level of sweetness to tame the heat while the fruity flavors contrast the barbecue char.

As for still rosés, we'd recommend something with a bit more weight to match the smoky barbecue flavors. A rosato from Sicily's volcanic Etna region makes a delicious pairing, and a mourvèdre-heavy rosé from Bandol highlights the meaty flavor of the wings. And if there's far too much going on with the sauce, a crisp glass of Côtes de Provence rosé will keep your thirst quenched.

Beet salad

A deep reddish-purple beet salad is the perfect way to add some nutrition to your diet (per Healthline) while treating your taste buds to a flavor-packed feast. If you're lucky, you might even have some golden beets to add to the mix. There are plenty of ways to serve these root vegetables, whether you grate them into a raw salad, steam and cube them, or roast them in the oven. From zingy vinaigrettes and creamy dressings to concoctions featuring salty cheese and mixed greens, we're all for some extra beets on the menu.

While you could choose a red wine that most closely approaches the hue of your beets, pairing them with a crisp glass of rosé is a pro move. A California pinot noir rosé offers just the right balance of strawberries, cherries, and spice to enhance the earthiness of the beets. Thanks to its smooth and versatile palate, it can maneuver the broad range of styles you might find in a beet salad.

Grilled oysters

Raw oysters on the half shell are a summertime favorite. But if the barbecue is hot, then there's really no reason why you shouldn't be grilling some of them, too. For starters, anyone squeamish about eating raw oysters will feel more confident munching on cooked ones. Even better, you can customize the toppings and turn each bivalve into a multilayered feast. Whether you stick to a classic preparation like buttery oysters Rockefeller or expand your horizons with different flavor combos, you'll want a wine to match the added weight.

Champagne is an iconic pairing with raw oysters, and a rosé version of the bubbles provides just the extra oomph needed to stand up against the broiled bites. If you're not up for the splurge, rosé crémant, cava, and prosecco all offer similar qualities at a fraction of the price. As always, a citrus and mineral-driven rosé from Provence is a foolproof way to complement the briny seaside flavors.


If you've never tried nachos and guacamole with rosé wine, then you're missing out. Nachos are the ultimate customizable meal, whether you're looking for a vegetarian bean-based dish or are eager to load them up with ground beef and cheese. Then there's salsa, sour cream, and guacamole for dipping, and perhaps a few spicy jalapeños, too. There are a lot of elements to think about, and rosé is the best wine to take along for the ride.

If you've gone heavy on the spice, we'd recommend sticking to slightly off-dry wines like a rosé moscato, white zinfandel, or a sparkling Bugey Cerdon. Meanwhile, if you've gone wild with the meat, rosé syrah offers a subtle hint of spice and plenty of fruit to complement those weightier ingredients. Alternatively, a cabernet franc rosé provides enough acidity and a balance of herbaceous and fruity flavors to match whatever vegetables and add-ins you included with your nachos.

Caprese pesto skewers

Tomato season is the perfect time to experiment with the unlimited ways you can eat this delicious vegetable ... ahem, fruit. Regardless of its botanical background, what's certain is that the simple combination of fresh tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, and a drizzle of pesto is easily one of our favorite ways of enjoying it. Sweet, creamy, tangy, and herbal flavors mingle in each bite, and whether you enjoy the trio in a convenient skewered format or with a piece of bread, it's always delicious.

Although you'll likely notice the sweet taste of the ripe tomatoes, they tend to have a high level of underlying acidity. This characteristic calls for a wine with a similar level of acid, which you'll surely find in a grenache-based Côtes de Provence rosé. Similarly, garnachas from northern Spain will make a suitable match. For something with a more punchy fruit flavor, a rosé from Languedoc in France has plenty of character.

Potato salad

The ubiquitous dish at pretty much every picnic and barbecue? Potato salad. But don't ignore it as an overdone side dish — there are plenty of ways to customize it (and they don't all include mayonnaise). From creamy dill potato salad recipes to French-inspired renditions, it's worth exploring the many variations. The two main styles are either mayonnaise or vinaigrette based, with additional flavors from fresh herbs (dill, parsley, etc.), hard-boiled eggs, celery, bacon, and more.

For a rich creamier style, a refreshing rosé sparkling wine made with pinot noir grapes combines plenty of fruit with a crisp bite that doubles as the perfect palate cleanser. You'll find options in Burgundy, but don't shy away from U.S. pinot stars like Oregon. Meanwhile, a Beaujolais rosé made with the gamay grape offers high acid citrus and red fruit flavors that both contrast creamy versions and complement vinegar-based ones.


A deliciously cool gazpacho recipe showcases tomatoes along with other add-ins like onions, garlic, cucumbers, peppers, cilantro, and lime. This is another excellent way to let your garden tomatoes shine, and it's undoubtedly the ideal way to enjoy a light, satisfying, and refreshing meal. Served alone or with crusty bread, gazpacho exemplifies the phrase "less is more." Much like rosé wine is perceived as being the ideal hot weather drink, gazpacho screams summer. That being said, to truly channel the spirit of the season, you'll want to pair the two together.

While a light and floral Côtes de Provence rosé will make a pleasant match for this chilled soup (when does it not?), you can definitely experiment a bit. Move farther north in France to the Côtes du Rhône region where the wines are slightly bolder and focus on grenache and syrah grapes. Their acidity enhances the tomatoes in the gazpacho, highlighting the mouthwatering dish. Alternatively, a sangiovese rosé from Italy is regularly paired with tomato-heavy dishes, making it an excellent option.


If this is the first you're hearing about panzanella, you'll want to bookmark our heirloom tomato panzanella recipe for immediate reference. The dish was originally made with the intention of salvaging stale bread, but the result is truly far better than you might imagine. With an olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing, the simple combination of tomatoes, bread, herbs, and shallots takes on a new dimension of flavor. The bread soaks up the oily dressing and the juice from the tomatoes, while the fresh herbs add a bright touch of flavor.

If it wasn't clear before, tomatoes and rosé wine are kind of meant to be. Given this salad's Tuscan origin, we're going to have to recommend a sangiovese rosé from the same region. We'll stick to Italian wines for this quintessential Italian dish — to match the tomatoes, pour a glass of Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo for the perfect balance of rich flavor and acidity. For a slightly lighter option, a Bardolino Chiaretto DOC will seal the deal.

Berries and cream

There's no need to get complicated with summertime desserts thanks to the abundance of fresh produce. Berries are a prime example, as the delicate fruits have a limited timeline and are well worth overindulging in. They can easily be elevated into a complete dessert with a splash of heavy cream or a dollop of the whipped stuff, if you're feeling it.

Even though the color of rosé gives it the illusion of being a sugary sweet beverage, the wine is often quite dry. And while crisp citrusy styles make great matches for savory dishes, the golden rule is that your wine should always be sweeter than your dessert (via Vinepair).

Berries and cream can range in sweetness, so choose your wine accordingly. Cabernet d'Anjou from France's Loire Valley is a blend of cabernet grapes that has some lingering residual sugar that will pair well with the naturally sweet fruit. Meanwhile, if you're serving the berries with sweet whipped cream — and crumble while you're at it — a sweeter wine will have a better balance. Get inspired by a sparkling Brachetto d'Acqui from Piedmont, Italy, the ultimate festive wine to brighten up any meal.