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The case for wine with soup

People eat soup for many reasons but I’d say number one at the moment is a post-holiday cleanse. Perhaps a close second is its warming quality. Besides taking the edge off a wet and chilly evening, a steaming bowl nourishes the body and soul.
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People eat soup for many reasons but I’d say number one at the moment is a post-holiday cleanse. Perhaps a close second is its warming quality.

Besides taking the edge off a wet and chilly evening, a steaming bowl nourishes the body and soul. My motive often falls into the broke and busy category. When money is tight, nothing stretches $20 further than soup. I can make a huge pot that will last the week and that means cooking only once out of seven days.

Don’t even ask if I crack a bottle with my daily broth. The answer is of course, yes. Liquid with liquid? Wine on a cleanse? Get over your hang-ups. You need to drink something when you’re eating, even if your meal requires a spoon. And for those of you detoxifying, may I remind you that wine is made from fruit. Surely grapes are on your purifying regime. As for me, with all that money I saved by economizing on soup, I think I deserve a bottle of wine.

So what wine with what soup? The fun is in experimenting. With pho I would try an assertive and herbal white such as Sauvignon Blanc or Verdejo (that’s a lively number from Spain). Sherry with consommé is an elegant classic (try dry Amontillado or Fino). For a chock-a-block vegetable potage, Verdicchio (Italian white) or Grüner Veltliner (Austria’s flagship grape) would both work a treat.

Go for something earthy like a Pinot Noir with mushroom soup. Boston clam chowder calls for Chardonnay of course!

And my favourite, sausage soup can handle a gutsy red from the south of France.

Oops, I almost forgot my other favourite, French onion. Just check out my recommendation below. One of my greatest coups in the kitchen was a bouillabaisse I served with a rosé. My date was noticeably impressed.

Of soup, my Mum always says just add a slice of hearty bread and a big hunk of cheese and you’ve got a complete meal. Sorry Mum, but you forgot the wine. Hopefully she’s reading this.


2013 Muga • Rosado Rioja DOCA, Spain • $17.99, BC Liquor Stores

Strawberry, raspberry and fresh herbs notes work so well with a robust fish soup like bouillabaisse. The combo will bring sunshine to the dark winter days and may even convince you to drink rosé year round.


2013 d’Arenberg, Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne • McLaren Vale, Australia • $19.99, BC Liquor Stores

Rich and lusciously textured with ginger, apricot and spice, this is the quintessential winter white. Perfect for a butternut squash bisque with an exotic hint of curry.


2011 Fabulous Ant Pinot Noir • Tolna, Hungary • $12.99, BC Liquor Stores

Bright berries yet slightly earthy. Simple and affordable but lovely and tasty with mushroom or ham and split pea soup.


2010 Il Nespoli Sangiovese di Romagna Superiore Riserva • Emilia-Romagna DOC, Italy • $22.99, BC Liquor Stores

Juicy red cherry, black tea and tobacco complemented by a touch of toast and ripe chewy tannin. Think Tuscan white bean soup drizzled with olive oil and piled high with grated parmesan.


2013 Domaine la Rosière, Vin de Savoie Jongieux Blanc • Savoie AOC, France • $18.99, BC Liquor Stores

Delicate scents of blossom, wet stone and pine honey with a mouthful of lemon zest and apples. Brilliantly lively and will cut through the gooey cheese of French onion soup.