Most food just seems to taste even better paired with a complimentary wine or spirit. This doesn’t have to be intimidating at all.
I like to say there really are no rules when it comes to wine pairings, since it’s all a matter of taste — your taste. If you like to drink Chardonnay with everything, then go for it. But, you can branch out and open a whole now world of flavor by tasting food and wines together. You’ll bring out qualities in the food and in the wine that you might not have revealed, otherwise.
Here’s an example. Think about baking. When you bake a sweet dessert you always put in a pinch or more of salt. If you are new to baking, you might think this is odd, but adding the salt brings out the sweetness in the dessert. The same principle is what wine and food pairing is all about: pairing the right food with a wine is like the salt in the dessert, it brings out best qualities of the wine and of the food.
This week, I’m going to share some of my favorite wine pairings for classic dishes I’ve featured here on my website. Let’s start with my Roasted Cauliflower Soup. I’ll take you through my thinking on pairing wine with this flavorful soup — and the three options I like. But first, let’s ask three questions:
Is the dish heavy or light? My Roasted Cauliflower Soup is a medium to heavy soup, since it contains cream. So, for pairing with a cream, you typically want something that will cut the cream and give balance. You will need a wine with some acid for this, a not so common white wine the Roussanne is a perfect match here. Roussannes are becoming very popular in Washington and they have enough acid to cut a creamy dish.
What are the seasonings? My Roasted Cauliflower Soup is very flavorful it is seasoned with Cumin, Coriander and Truffle salt. Cumin is a powerful flavor and needs the right pairing. A good pairing with Cumin is a crisp medium bodied white wine as well, such as a Viognier. Some Viogniers can have a floral nose which works well with the cumin.
How is the dish cooked? All the ingredients are roasted before they are blended into the broth, which gives a smoky nutty flavor to the vegetables. This smoky flavor pairs perfectly with a Syrah. A full bodied Syrah can stand up to the roasted flavor as well as the Parmesan cheese.
Following these steps you can easily pair a great white or red with my Roasted Cauliflower Soup. These would be my favorites for pairing with this recipe:
Roussanne – Two great Washington Roussannes are Delille Cellars, Doyenne 2014 Roussanne and Lauren Ashton Cellars Roussanne. Both have beautiful tasting rooms in Woodinville, Washington, if you have yet to try a Roussanne go out and try one and buy a bottle to have when you make my Roasted Cauliflower Soup.
Viognier – Kestrel Wines makes a bit of everything and they have a great Viognier, and it’s affordable at $17 per bottle. The freshness of this wine will work to balance out the soup and bring out the cumin flavors! If you want a Napa take on a Viognier try Fortunati Vineyards, this is probably my favorite Viognier to date, it’s fresh and develops as it warms up in the glass.
Syrah– A favorite Syrah is, of course, the Adobe Road Syrah from Sonoma. This wine is so smooth it can go with almost anything but would be delicious with my Roasted Cauliflower Soup.