The Origins of Brunch (And Wines To Drink With It)
There are two sides to the brunch coin. Celebrate an elegant holiday or reframe a late night with a bit of the hair of the dog on the following day. What you pop or serve sets the atmosphere. To create the elevated version — like that of Mother’s Day, Easter, or for a wedding party — delicate, sparkling, or refined wines will ensure your event has the polish it so deserves.
The first printed evidence of brunch dates back to 1895, when author Guy Beringer wrote an article for Hunter's Weekly called Brunch: A Plea. According to Smithsonian Magazine he put it this way: ''Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting,'' Beringer writes. ''It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.''
Bubbles for Brunch
Is there any other wine category that fits this description better than bubbles? A grower Champagne such as Vilmart & Cie Brut 'Grand Cellier' NV would fit the bill, with its textured bubbles and total absence of any chemical treatment. But the same goes for Patrick Bottex Bugey-Cerdon 'La Cueille' NV, which comes from one of the most interesting growing regions in France, sure to be “talk-compelling.” Slightly sweet and low in alcohol this is a fan-favorite perfect for brunch fare.
White Burgundy for Breakfast
By the 1930s, brunch was on the rails, a trend discovered by Hollywood stars making the trip from New York City west to the Sunshine State. A stop in Chicago for a late-morning meal became tradition and the hotels and restaurants there decided to make it a thing, train of A-listers or not. Around this time the bottomless adult beverage became the norm. And sure, we aren’t turning down an endless Bloody Mary but it’s a shame to drink well-liquor when a bottle of crisp, high quality white wine like Domaine Roulot Auxey-Duresses Blanc 2018 is on offer, or some of our favorites from Domaine Jobard.
Rosé Goes with Anything
Rosé is another excellent brunch option, because it goes well with so many foods. Regardless of what dishes you're planning to make — from eggs benedict to gourmet French toast — a bottle of crisp, dry rosé will very likely slide right onto the table and fit in. When we’re in charge of brunch we always turn to Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé 2020 for the perfect balance of body and brightness.
Sauvignon Blanc to Sip at Brunch
We’re also fans of Sauvignon Blanc for brunch. Data shows that this variety was one of the fast-growing wine categories recently, and we think that’s because it has an appealing, crisp acidity and is a round robin pairing for nearly any dish. Domaine Laporte Cuvée Vivienne Sancerre is always a favorite, and you can bet that your guests will be asking for a second bottle.
Riesling for the Win
Everyone’s on the prowl for “cult” German Riesling that could set you way back. Not that brunch isn’t a time to splurge, but one can find exceptional bottles at approachable prices. A gathering of friends and family is the perfect opportunity to show that you’re in tune with the finer things (a little Hollywood flair, after all), but also astute enough to get them without breaking the bank. We’re always up for something from one of our favorite producers in the Nahe — Dönnhoff shows perfect structure graced with balanced acidity for $25! Or from one of our cult favorites like Peter Lauer, for some of the most sought after Rieslings out there.
The Smithsonian article also points out one interesting detail: chefs aren’t brunch’s biggest fan. Understandable…after a busy Saturday it’s not so easy to put on a feast fit for a crowd. So our final bit of advice is this: find someone to host the meal and offer to bring the wine. Easy!