Sweetest Batch™ Strawberry Tasting Notes & Pairings

We asked distinguished San Francisco chefs, Master Sommeliers and wine professionals to taste these Sweetest Batch™ strawberries and report back. They gave us helpful tasting notes, food pairing ideas, and excellent wine pairing recommendations.
Can you recall the best strawberry you ever had? That sweet, cool, crisp, juicy wonder of a flavor? That is what a Sweetest Batch™ strawberry tastes like: the strawberriest strawberry. In fact, it’s so favor-packed, sweet, ripe, and juicy that you’ll want to lean forward if you hope to save your clean white shirt.
The experts concur: “It is the best strawberry I’ve ever tasted” extols Jienna Basaldu, then adds “when I think of the ‘perfect strawberry,’ it is everything that this berry is.” Mark Guillaudeu chimes in, saying it’s as if “you dialed the strawberry flavor up to 11, then added in a few other deep, ripe red fruits.” And while it is undeniably sweet, the flavor still had a special bright crisp quality to it. Luke Kenning observes that its flavor was “a kind of cross between a honeycrisp apple and a strawberry.” Let’s see what all of our flavor experts say when tasting the new Sweetest Batch™ strawberry:
Orange blossom, honeycrisp, cotton candy, ripe red plums. Candied, dark amber, intense.
In terms of a classic summer-ripe strawberry, the Sweetest Batch™ strawberry was the fan favorite without question. It was also the most closely associated with specific memories, for the experts. Flavors certainly can evoke strong memories, and the Sweetest Batch™ strawberry is like a memory encapsulated in a berry.
Here are some of the memories it evoked for our expert tasters:
“Growing up in Texas, every summer we had snow-cones” shares Charlotte Randolph. “This reminded me of a hot summer day in July, strawberry snow-cone ice dripping on my hands.” For Melissa King, she shares that “the Sweetest Batch brought me to summertime. It tastes like a freshly picked strawberry in a field. It reminds me of walking the farmers market during summertime.” Catherine Walker’s nostalgic jaunt was that “it reminds of me of picking up crates of strawberries off the side of the road with my Dad and then going home and making chocolate covered strawberries.”
Spun with sugar and placed within your memories of perfect strawberries from your childhood, this special Sweetest Batch™ strawberry makes you want to slurp it up; it’s so perfectly refreshing. Naturally a fresh and juicy berry on a hot summer day is a perfect snack all by itself, but with such a nostalgic berry, we just had to pair it with a nostalgic dessert.
Classic Shortcake with Crystallised Ginger, Lemon, and Sweetest Batch™ Strawberries

Strawberry Shortcake

The inspiration for this recipe comes from how nostalgic the Sweetest Batch™ strawberries are, and also because a few of our experts remembered summer desserts and specifically Strawberry Shortcake in their food pairing recommendations. One fun idea included “vanilla cream on lemon sugar scone” via Luke Kenning.
The first Strawberry Shortcake recipe appeared all the way back in 1588, and this now-classic American summer treat is woven deeply into Driscoll’s very heritage — not only are Driscoll’s strawberries what most would picture when creating this dessert, but every year, Discoll’s also celebrates June 14th as Strawberry Shortcake Day! As we are entering the height of summer (and currently a heat wave!) on the California Coast, the time for this classic dessert is definitely ripe!
We thought of lemon since “acidic foods that cut some of the sweetness” would be preferable for Catherine Walker, and crystallised ginger because of the subtle spice. 


Melissa King

For the sweetest batch, I would pair with a pinot noir or a barbera. 
Driscoll's Sweetest Batch strawberries and wine
Pairing Suggestions:
  • 2017 Flowers Sea View Ridge Pinot Noir
  • 2018 Barbera, Harde Vineyard, El Dorado County

Mark Guillaudeu

“Sweetest Batch - These are the richest-flavored of the bunch, and call for robust style rosés like Tavel from the southern Rhône Valley or Cigales in Spain.  In short, if the rosé is deep enough in color that it looks more like a light red wine than a dark white wine, we're in business for this berry.  It could also show very well with lighter reds - nuanced Cabernet Francs (again from the Loire) or Pinot Noir from Germany or France.” 
Driscoll's Sweetest Batch strawberries and wine 
Pairing Suggestions:
  • 2017 Terrassen Finger Lakes New York Cabernet Franc 
  • Domaine Michel Chignard Les Moriers Fleurie 2018 

Emily Wines

“The Sweetest Batch would be best with a wine that had a natural, fresh sweetness to it that wasn’t too sweet.”
Driscoll's Sweetest Batch strawberries and wine
Pairing Suggestions:
  • Saracco Moscato d’Asti, Piedmont 2019 is perfect! It is low alcohol and has a vibrant flavors akin to fresh peaches. I would even consider a dessert of this wine poured over fresh strawberries. 
  • For something more luxurious, Beau Joie Champagne “Sugar King” Demi-Sec is a pale pink with a sweet, fruity flavor that still has the bright acidity classic to Champagne. It is fresh and succulent and won’t overwhelm the charm of these fresh berries.

Luke Kenning

“My philosophy for pairing wine with food — Start with regionality and seasonality. Most likely the region will have a wine that pairs well with the food. As the wine most likely in the old world has been produced for centuries to go with the local food. Seasonally the weather plays a big role in how heavy my dishes are and in turn how light or heavy I want my wine to be, also what temperature.” Also: Temperature note: Moscato d’Asti is lightly sparkling and should be served refrigerator-cold, champagne flute or white wine glass.
Driscoll's Sweetest Batch strawberries and wine
Pairing Suggestions:
  • Michele Chiarlo, Nivole, Moscato d’Asti,Piemonte, Italy (375ML) 2018 
  • Elvio Cogno, Moscato d’Asti, Piemonte, Italy 2018 8 

Rachel Calendaria

Driscoll's Sweetest Batch strawberries and wine
Pairing Suggestions:
  • Sparkling Wine, Mumm Napa Brut Rosé, NV is a more affordable yet delicious sparkling wine that is readily available at many grocery stores. It is a Pinot Noir-based sparkling wine and shows aromas and flavors of ripe strawberries and raspberries. 
  • Muscat, Vietti Moscato d’Asti, Piedmont 2019 is a slightly effervescent, fresh vibrant wine with enough sweetness to complement the sweetness of the Sweetest Batch berries. I enjoy a glass of chilled Moscato d’Asti with dessert or fresh berries. 

Jienna Basaldu

Driscoll's Sweetest Batch strawberries and wine
Pairing Suggestions:
  • Schramsberg, Brut Rosé, California 
  • 2018 Pascal Jolive, Sancerre Rosé  

Charlotte Randoloph

“Pair with fresh bright Nebbiolo to draw out that beautiful juicy red fruit!”
Driscoll's Sweetest Batch strawberries and wine
Pairing Suggestions:
  • Borgogno Francesco Langhe Nebbiolo 2018 
  • Vietti Perbacco Nebbiolo delle Langhe 2017

Catherine Walker

Driscoll's Sweetest Batch strawberries and wine
Pairing Suggestions:
  • If you want to impress your friends, grab an Orin Swift Cab… Orin Swift Cellars Palermo. It is going to balance the sweetness of the berry well, the label is fun (which doesn’t matter but is always a plus with the right crowds)
  • Save $$ and still impress folks with this Cab- Angeline Reserve. It will balance out. I even used some of it in my chocolate when I made chocolate covered strawberries. So fun!