Soup is complicated. Is it lunch, dinner, or both? Is a sandwich required? Is that sandwich dipped or not dipped? Is slurping cool? The answers to these questions can vary from person to person. And that’s just the functional enjoyment of this ancient dish. If you’re broth-based, you like that high proportion of liquid — like in egg drop or matzo ball soup. If you’re all about the chunk, you dig soups like minestrone or chowder. And if “you fancy, huh?” you’re sipping (Eating? Slurping?) purée, such as vichyssoise or bisque, with a Pollock-style dollop of olive oil.
What’s even more complicated is that, although you’re consuming a liquid-based meal, you still get thirsty. So what do you sip with soup? Wine, of course! It might sound weird at first, but this also-ancient beverage is great with all the members of the soup fam. So this winter, warm yourself inside and out by pairing wine with soup.
It doesn’t matter what category you choose: These bowls of awesomeness are just as layered with flavor as any plated dish. The trick is finding the right texture of wine that can hold up to those layers, while rising above the broth and matching any acid, such as lemon juice, vinegar, tomatoes, or even a dollop of sour cream.
For white and red wines alike, I tend to go for high acidity with soup. The more vibrant the wine, the more presence it will have on the palate. For reds, I like to make sure the perception of fruit is prominent so it can handle the complexity of a chili or bisque. For white wines, lean or deep fruit works depending on the soup.
Here are some wines that will match with a warming bowl.
Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay 2018
No muss, no fuss, legit California Chardonnay here. It has the classic butteriness of Chardonnay, but the toasty oak is blessedly subtle. The bracing acidity, in contrast with the grape’s natural fruit depth, makes for an awesome companion to a chunky, creamy chowder.
Massolino Dolcetto d’Alba 2019
Soft, juicy, and filled with aromas of blackberries, blueberries, and a whiff of fresh soil, this is a very well-balanced wine. The acidity is just right, keeping some depth on the palate. Rustic soups like lentil or tortellini soup would warm the soul with this bottle.
Anne Amie Vineyards Pinot Gris 2019
This wine has a nice balance between vibrant acidity and depth. There’s just enough buoyancy to mesh with the slight acidity of any vegetable purée soup. Most of these types of soups begin with onions and end with an immersion blender, so the subtle heft will be just right with the earthy, savory vibes.
Dutton- Goldfield Chileno Valley Vineyard Riesling 2018
Riesling is often a go-to for high acid, and this wine definitely has it. But it’s calmed by that slight nutty depth. A little grippy and waxy, with a whiff of almonds, this wine would be a nice match with something as simple as a brothy consommé or even a homemade chicken soup. Which you worked hard on — you deserve a glass of wine.
Teutonic Wine Company ‘Bergspitze’ Whole Cluster Pinot Noir 2018
Man, this is a cool wine. It’s big and juicy, with significant fruit and some grippy tannins. This is countered by high acid, making it a great pairing for the earthier side of soup. I’m thinking cream of mushroom or French onion.
Skouras Saint George Agiorgitiko 2017
This wine smells like cherries in aged balsamic and newly turned soil. It has a bright depth, meaning that the acidity is high, but the fruit is significant enough that — even in its earthiness — it’s bright. Pair this bottle with your chunky minestrone, or even something as simple as roasted tomato soup.