I suppose at this stage of the year you might be lamenting the end of summer and the white and pink wines that go with it. And, as the seasons change, you might well be thinking about changing your food and wine preferences.
Well, have you noticed that, with the Wexford Festival finished, Halloween celebrated and the temperature dropped – various new wine and soup options are appearing on restaurant menus.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the 2019 meteorological start to Autumn is Sept 1 and to Winter is Dec 1st. So now we are in Autumn, heading towards Winter and of course we’re in need of some comfort, in these wetter and shorter daytimes.
To go back to my previous reference to soup, to me comfort goes beyond jumpers, Netflix favourites, and cosy fires. I need soup. But, pairing seasonal wine and soups, that does justice to both, can be tricky.
To help you, in this post I have colluded with Richie Trappe, the Green Acres Head Chef, and will suggest some pairings of wine and soups.
I mean, just because soup and a piece of Green Acres homemade bread may appear to be on the simpler side of a meal starter, it doesn’t mean that a glass of wine’s not perfectly in order.
How to Pair Wine and Soups
“There are many options on how to pair them” says Richie. “It can be done on flavour profile, weight, texture or geography for instance. The trick is to pair like with like or use contrasting flavours. The more niche or specific a soup is, the narrower the choice of wine is.”
Richie and myself discussed the pitfalls of pairing wine and soups and I learnt from him that the important thing to be aware of is what base is being used in the soup. “Flavour is built in via the stock. So, for instance red wine and a fish/seafood base may produce a metallic flavour which spoils the experience of both.” I reckoned that white wine would be a safer bet in this instance, and Richie agreed.
To explain further, here are a few soups suggested by Richie that you might encounter during the autumn and winter months with my wine pairings.
Pumpkin Soup + Spain – Verdejo
Vegetable Soup + France – White Bourgogne
Fish Chowder + Spain – Amontillado Sherry
Curried Carrot Soup + Germany – Riesling
Oxtail/Beef Soup + Italy – Nebbiolo
Tomato Soup + France – Pinot NoirHere are a few soups suggested by Chef Richie that you might encounter during the autumn and winter months with our Green Acres wine pairings. Click To Tweet
Grapes that you might Experiment with this Autumn
Thanks Richie – Now, I would like to revisit a few grape varietals that might be mentioned later, that maybe are not as well known. They are perfect for this autumnal weather we’re having.
Sémillon – This white Bordeaux-borne grape is often blended with Sauvignon Blanc, giving an otherwise lush, mouth-filling wine a welcome hint of liveliness to make an excellent white pour for those dark green autumn vegetables.
Marsanne/Roussanne – these white grapes from the Northern Rhône are often blended together to make a rich, medium-to-full-bodied wine with striking perfume aromas, creamy pear and nut flavours. It really has a filling finish.
Barbera – This red wine from Northern Italy, can taste both rich and light-bodied with berry and cherry notes accompanied by lively acidity.
Carignan – A red wine known for its cranberry, cured meat, and baking spice flavours. This medium-bodied red grape is making tremendous wines that pair so well with foods – the wine is practically its own ingredient.
Grenache – an extremely autumn friendly red wine whose character varies from each region where it’s grown. It can vary from raspberry and clove to dried strawberry and herbs. Sometimes it has a high ABV which isn’t the worst complaint on cold autumn days.
Cabernet Franc – Usually a blended red grape (especially in Bordeaux), that gives you flavours of strawberries and plums but also, you’ll come across chilli and bell pepper notes which can pair well with certain soups.
Rhône/GSM Blends – If you love the flavours of Grenache mentioned above, this blend of red grapes (grenache-syrah-mourvédre) with a little more tannin and acidity, adds flavours of lavender and even some green herbs.
Primitivo (Zinfandel in USA) – is rich with flavours of jam and smoke! It can have notes of cinnamon, raisin, chocolate and tobacco. This is definitely an autumn wine to cosy up to the fire with.
More Specific Suggestions for Wine and Soup Pairings
I know what you’re thinking. If you’re having a bowl of soup on its own it seems superfluous to drink wine with it. And sure, if it is a really thick soup – why would you want more liquid to accompany it?
Here’s another scenario for you, if you’re hosting a dinner party at home and starting with soup … what kind of wine do you serve?
Obviously, soups can range from being delicate in flavour to very rich and there are some classic pairings that still work (think consommé and sherry). But in my opinion the wines that generally pair best with soups are crisp dry white wines.
I mentioned some different grapes above, but you are probably aware of Chablis, white Burgundies, Pinot Grigio and others such as Albariño, Sauvignon Blanc and Sancerre.
Here are some more specific white wine suggestions for pairing with soups:
Consommé – Sherry (Tomato consommé – Sancerre)
Asian broth – Grüner Veltliner, dry German Kabinett Riesling
Creamy Vegetable Soups:
Smooth and creamy – Pinot Grigio or Soave
(The creamier a soup is the more full-bodied a wine it can take).
Light and Creamy – Chardonnay; Dark and Mushroomy – Pinot Noir
Cream of Chicken – Sauvignon Blanc or Viognier.
Chardonnay in the main unless it is Asian with coconut then Riesling or Verdelho
I love a Picpoul de Pinet with Provençal fish soup but with lobster it’d be a lush white Burgundy.
Sweet Vegetable Soups (pumpkin):
Rich Chardonnay or Viognier
Sauvignon Blanc or Albariño
French Onion Soup:
A basic vin blanc or an Aligoté
Mainly reds (Côtes du Rhône, Chianti Classico)
I have tried to base my suggestions above on flavour but also remember to take temperature and alcohol levels into account as well. To finish, here are some wine and weather-related tips to bear in mind.
- Serve your white wines a degree or two warmer
- Decant (carafe) your fuller wines
- On really cold days with big meals bring out the winter warmers (big reds)
- Drink malt whiskey instead of Champagne with your smoked salmon
- Have a ‘hot toddy’ at bedtime.
Soups, stews, chilli, and chowder are staples for cooler weather; however, pairing wines with your favourite soup recipes can be tricky. Examine the soup’s ingredients and then pair.
Keep in mind that there are no hard and fast rules for pairing wine and soups, stews, and the like; however, there are certainly some wines that will enhance a pot of soup infinitely better than others. So, experiment with some of my suggestions above and try your own.
One last thing – did you know that we have a Green Acres mobile app? Now you can bring us home in your pocket. Book tables, browse wines, learn of special offers, check events, connect with us, earn loyalty rewards and much more. We would really appreciate if you would click on either of the tabs below to download for free.
Talk to you soon, James.