With Soup

by Terry Thompson-Anderson • Photography by Sandy Wilson

Pairing wine with soup can be a daunting task—it’s all about balancing the various textures and weights. Generally, soups are paired with white wines, but the addition of red meat proteins to a soup can change the pairing. Hearty chowders and other thick, rich soups can handle more robust, full-bodied wines, while creamy soups generally demand a wine with a good dose of acidity. Here’s what we’re drinking with this issue’s featured soups.

Jote’s Mom’s Fakie Chicken Noodle Soup. This is an interesting soup in that it doesn’t really contain chicken, but rather textured vegetable protein and nutritional yeast flakes to help create a chicken-like flavor and texture. But it’s also packed with vegetables and a nice touch of dill, and should pair well with a wine that’s known for its herbaceous qualities, such as the Fall Creek Vineyards 2013 Sauvignon Blanc.

Carly’s Smoky Butternut Squash Soup with Curry-Roasted Seeds. Because this is a complex soup with a lot of flavors, it needs a full-bodied wine, especially one with good acidity to cut through the creamy texture. The Pedernales Cellars 2011 or 2012 Viognier is a fine match, and will help bring out the curry spice in the seed garnish.

Susan’s Sopa Verde de Elote. Since this soup has a blast of heat from the Hatch chile, it should be paired with a wine that has a slightly sweet profile. The William Chris Vineyards 2014 “Mary Ruth” would be a good choice. The wine is 42 percent orange muscat, and it will help play up the citrus accent of fresh lime juice in the soup.

Amy’s Golden Creamy Cauliflower Soup. Normally, a pinot grigio would be a good pairing for a creamy cauliflower soup, but this one has a decent amount of spicy Sriracha hot chili sauce, which would tear up many wines. Instead, try a wine with a solidly sweet profile to tame down the fire, such as the Messina Hof 2006 Riesling NV.

Marcela’s Husband’s Spicy Carrot Coconut Soup. Although this recipe calls for “cayenne pepper, to taste,” even a moderate amount of the spicy ground chili will be offset by the addition of the fatty coconut milk. Heat, then, shouldn’t be a big factor in choosing a wine to pair with it. A Texas Hills Vineyard chardonnay, which is estate-grown, is a perfect match to cut through the fattiness and enhance the citrus elements of the soup.

Anne Marie’s Tortilla Soup. For chile-based soups, stay away from wines with heavy oak and tannins, which would taste like fingernails-on-a-blackboard sound. Instead, opt for a more balanced choice, such as a tempranillo from Pontotoc Vineyard.

Knox Gardner’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. This is definitely a rich and creamy soup that calls for an equally rich and hefty white, but not one that’s highly oaky. Again, try a Texas Hills Vineyard chardonnay that has aged in stainless steel. This wine will cut through the richness of the cream in the soup, and the soup will bring out the minerals in the wine.

Jennifer Chenoweth’s Pozole Blanco. Pozole is a complex, aromatic stew-soup with dominant flavors that are both spicy and tart. The Flat Creek Estate 2014 Texas Pinot Grigio is a crisp, dry wine that was 100-percent fermented in stainless steel and blended with Texas blanc du bois and pinot blanc. The resulting wine is filled with traditional green apple characteristics and a hint of white peach and lime zest. The lime notes will pair with the lime in the pozole, and the blanc du bois will moderate the chiles.