These Are the Best Wines to Pair with Your Favorite Comfort Food Dinners
It's the time of year when hearty soups, stews, and casseroles are what we crave for dinner. And what goes better with your favorite comfort food recipes than a great glass of wine? To take the guesswork out of wine pairings during the cold-weather season, we've selected white and red wines—and even some bubbly—to go with the meaty meals, cheesy baked pastas, and other beloved winter dinners.
Pair Chicken Pot Pie with Pinot Gris
Cozy chicken pot pies with a flaky puff-pastry crust deserves a rich, textural white wine. Pinot gris (called pinot grigio in Italy—yes, it's the same grape) is a fuller-bodied white wine with a creamy, lush, and rounded texture and flavors of ripe yellow pear. Most pinot gris is aged without the use of new oak barrels (new oak can impart a buttery or toasty flavor that's not for everyone), so it has a clean, crisp profile. If you like a fuller-bodied white wine and want to try something that's not chardonnay, give pinot gris a chance!
One of the best regions for pinot gris is Alsace, France. Hugel Classic Pinot Gris 2018 ($26.99, wine.com) has lush, juicy pear flavors and a touch of apricot and has a rich, round body and a nice dry finish. Austria also has some lovely options: Kracher Trocken Pinot Gris 2018 ($23.99, wine.com) builds on those beautiful pear notes with additional floral and herbal aromas. If you want to support wineries right here in the U.S., look no further than Oregon. Some of the finest pinot gris in the country is grown there. Ponzi Pinot Gris 2019 ($18.99, wine.com) has sweeter citrus notes (think, tangerine and meyer lemon) and a touch of white pepper in the finish. And Erath Pinot Gris 2019 ($16.99, wine.com) has Honeycrisp apple and melon flavors with a bright citrusy finish and is one of the best options out there for under $20.
Pair Macaroni and Cheese with Sparkling Wine
A childhood favorite that's also a winter comfort staple, mac and cheese has it all: It's hot, filling, and creamy. You've likely tried many different mac and cheese recipes, with bacon, baked, or spicy, but our favorite twist to this classic dish is to enjoy a glass of bubbly with it. The richness of the cheese sauce is perfectly balanced by the contrast of a crisp, mouthwatering sparkling wine—there's really no better way to elevate a weeknight meal!
What could be more luxurious than popping a bottle of Champagne with your mac and cheese? Champagne Henriot Brut Souverain ($44.99, wine.com) is bright and elegant, with tart apple flavors and a touch of vanilla. With a high percentage of reserve wines in the blend, and more than three years of bottle aging, it's always a solid choice. If you prefer not to splurge on Champagne, try a traditional method sparkler from France's Loire Valley, such as Bouvet Ladubay Signature Brut ($13.29, totalwine.com). It's based on the chenin blanc grape which gives it a lovely roundness. For another affordable option go with cava, a Spanish sparkling wine: Segura Viudas Cava Brut ($9.97, totalwine.com) which has floral aromas and refreshing citrus flavors. Of course, we can't forget Prosecco: Masottina Prosecco Brut ($17.99, wine.com) is a fresh and lively complement to this favorite comforting pasta dish.
Pair Slow-Cooker Pot Roast with Cabernet Sauvignon
Not only are slow-cooker recipes incredibly convenient and easy to prepare, but the process also really concentrates the flavors of something like a simple chuck roast, elevating it to a whole new level of deliciousness. With fattier cuts of red meat, a powerful red with a nice tannic structure is just right to cut through the richness and keep your palate refreshed. The intensity of flavor in a ripe cabernet sauvignon is a perfect pairing.
H3 Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 ($11.99, wine.com) is a full of rich, earthy dark berry tones—it definitely proves why Washington State cabernets should be on your radar! For a California cabernet at under $20, try Decoy California Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 ($19.99, wine.com) which has mouthwatering blueberry and plum flavors. Justin Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 ($28, justinwine.com) is a favorite of those who love rich reds, with its chocolate and spice notes.
Pair Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup with Vermentino
The next time you get a snow day, savor the classic combo that is a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup alongside a versatile wine. A medium-bodied Italian white wine with good acidity is a refreshing option. Vermentino comes from both Tuscany and Sardinia. It has mellow golden apple flavors and a sunny yet crisp finish.
From Sardinia, consider Argiolas Costamolino Vermentino 2020 ($14.99, wine.com) it's a favorite due to its aromas of macchia: the shrubs and brush that line the Sardinian coast. This expresses itself as notes of mint and evergreens that float above juicy lemon and peach notes. La Spinetta Toscana Vermentino 2020 ($20.99, wine.com) is a classic Tuscan Vermentino, with a medium body and a fresh and lively finish. Tenuta Guado al Tasso Vermentino 2020 ($23.99, wine.com) is from the Tuscan Bolgheri subregion and combines bright fruit with savory minerality.
Pair Eggplant Parmesan with Rich Southern Italian Red
Nothing says comfort like melty, cheesy eggplant parm. One wine pairing trick to live by is "what grows together, goes together." Foods and wines from the same regions are effortlessly amazing pairings that work every single time. The red wines from Italy's southern regions are soft, rich, smooth, and voluptuous. Best of all, they're usually inexpensive! Look for bottles from Puglia and Sicily: you will find wonderful wines made from primitivo, negroamaro, or nero d'Avola grapes with plenty of delicious options under $20.
Taurino Salice Salentino 2011 ($15.99, astorwines.com) is made in Puglia from the negroamaro grape, and it has aromas of mocha and flavors of dusty cherries and dried herbs. Also from Puglia, Tormaresca Torcicoda Primitivo 2017 ($19.99, wine.com) has licorice and violet aromas to complement the rich dark berry notes—primitivo is a relative of the zinfandel grape, so this one is especially recommended for fans of zin. Feudo Montoni Lagnusa Nero d'Avola 2018 ($19.99, astorwines.com) from Sicily has a silky texture and bold, ripe, juicy red raspberry and black plum notes.
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