Peaches in red wine, or pesche al vino rosso in Italian, is something that my husband absolutely loves during the summer. When big, juicy, organic peaches are at their peak, he loves to slice them and let them soak in red wine. It’s almost like a very simple, Italian rendition of sangria, except it’s literally just the super sweet peaches and red wine. That’s it. I was at a cousin’s wedding in the Bronx a few years back, and red-wine soaked peaches were served at the cocktail hour. It was a hot day in July and the ceremony was held outdoors. It was refreshing to enjoy the peaches with a bit of chilled red wine after being outside in the heat!
Truth be told, Italians rarely ever drink their red wine cold; it’s almost always served at room temperature. In fact, some say that chilling the red wine changes its taste. But trust me, you can (and should!) make the exception in this case during the summer months. It’s well worth breaking the rules, so to speak! A lot of recipes out there suggest adding lemon juice and sugar to the sliced peaches first, but we don’t. If you have really ripe, beautiful organic peaches, there’s really no need to alter them.
Italians enjoy this either before dinner or after. Heck, sometimes I even sip it while I’m having dinner! The peaches infuse the wine with a subtle, yet fruity aroma. It’s just lovely. Enjoy the peaches just as they are, or serve them with vanilla ice cream or pound cake for dessert.
A note on the wine itself… any red wine of your choice will do, but I really prefer a slightly fruity red wine for this, such as Apothic Crush (pictured below) or my new favorite, 14 Hands Red Blend. It’s the perfect marriage. A fruitier red, like a blend, really provides the ideal backdrop for the peaches to shine. If you opt for a heavier-bodied red, like a cabernet or chianti, the peaches may be overshadowed by the wine.
There really isn’t a formal ‘recipe’ for this. Here’s how I do it:
- Wash two ripe (you want them ripe, but not mushy) medium-large peaches and pat dry.
- Slice them into wedges, not too thick and not too thin; you want them to be thick enough that they’ll hold up to the wine soaking.
- Divide the sliced peaches among two red wine glasses (red wine glasses are wider than white wine glasses and can fit more fruit; I usually use a stemless glass).
- Pour your red wine into the glass, covering the peaches completely.
- Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the glass and keep in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours or overnight.
When you’re ready to enjoy this drink/dessert, simply remove the peaches from the wine and place in a dish or small bowl. Drink the chilled red wine and then eat the peaches, or eat and drink at the same time. There’s no right or wrong way to enjoy this! And doing it alfresco makes it taste even better!