It has been a cold winter of late in the Northeast and given the option I’d like to spend every evening curled up in front of the fireplace with a steaming hot bowl of rich hearty soup. Give me an “everything soup” - start with the chicken & herbs and simply throw everything you can imagine in – ahh, the best. Now you want to have a nice glass of wine in front of your fireplace with the aforementioned bowl of soup, but which wine to choose?
Pairing wine with soup can be a challenge for wine lovers; with the overpowering nature of a rich soup and the similar liquidy texture between the two. The first rule, as always, is to drink whatever wine you like. But if you want to work a little outside the box you can turn to some underappreciated wines; sparkling & fortified.
When considering sparkling wine the associations are automatically champagne & celebratory events. I’d encourage you to consider trying a sparkling wine any time and turning to those made outside of the Champagne region of France (similar to champagne but legally not allowed to be called “Champagne”), such as Cava from Spain, Prosecco from Italy, or simply sparkling wine made in places such as Israel or California. When done right, the texture of the little bubbles in a sparkling wine combined with its bracing dry acidity make sparkling wines “food neutral” – as in they compliment ANYTHING. Looking to the “old world” you can seek out the French Blanc de Blanc by Herzog, the slightly sweet Bartenura Brut Prosecco from Italy or the bone dry ELVI “Adar” Brut Cava from Spain.
Another option for fireplace sipping, also unheralded, is “Port”, a fortified wine from Portugal. Often sweet and generally fortified with a neutral grape spirit such as grappa or brandy, this wine screams warm slippers & fireplace sipper. The fortification of the wine leads to a higher alcohol level than regular table wines. And said heavier alcohol makes for a similar textural contrast as the aforementioned sparkling wines – making for a heart warming combination with soup. Try the Porto Cordovero from Portugal or Israel’s Vintage Port made by Carmel.
It’s cold outside but these underappreciated wine styles paired with that steamy bowl of soup and a crackling fireplace can ensure that you are nice and warm inside.
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