Herb week: Spice and wine pairing

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This week is national herb week and what better way to celebrate this than by explaining the best combination between wine and herbs and spices? We introduce you to the ultimate spice and wine pairing guide by Wine Folly. In this guide they explain exactly which herbs and spices fit with your wine. They also explain why it is important to pair wine with herbs and spices.

Wine folly explains that the magic behind spice and wine pairing starts with aroma compounds found in both spices and wine. Many herbs and spices share the same aroma compounds as wine, not surprising is it? A good example is matching a black pepper with Syrah; both wine and spice contain the spicy-but-floral compound called rotundone. When you match like flavours together they magnify each other. This type of pairing is called a congruent pairing and it’s the theory behind matching wine with spices and herbs.

Spice and wine pairing guide

According to Wine Folly the rules are as following:

Basil, Mint, Cilantro, Shiso, Chervil
Highly aromatic fresh green, citrus, and minty herbs

Thai Basil – Riesling, Moscato
Mint – Merlot, Syrah, Pinotage
Shiso – Rosé, Gamay
Basil – Soave, Gavi, Pinot Grigio
Chervil – Albariño, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc

Sage, Rosemary, Lavender, Fir
Dried resinous floral herbs

Sage – Riesling, Viognier, Marsala
Rosemary – Shiraz, Zinfandel, Carignan
Lavender – Monastrell, Rosé, Gewürz
Baby Leaf – Syrah, Nebbiolo
Fir – Tempranillo, Sangioverse

Oregano, Thyme, Marjoram, Tarragon, Bay Leaf, Parsley, Dill
Pungent earthy green herbs

Oregano – Cabernet Franc, Carménère
Thyme – Pinot Noir, Zweigelt
Tarragon – Chardonnay, Marsanne
Marjoram – Grüner Veltliner
Dill – Sémillon, Pinot Noir

Garlic, Shallot, Chive, Leek, Onion
Umami-rich, pungent, sulfury alliums

Garlic – Grüner Velt, Sauvignon Blac
Shallot – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
Chive – Muscadet, Trebbiano
Leek – Colombard, Picpoul
Onion – Zinfandel, Negroamaro

Coriander, Cumin, Caraway
Savory, umami-rich brown spices

Coriander – Malbec, Mourvèdre
Cumin – Sparkling Rosé, Bordeaux
Caraway – Gewürztraminer, Riesling

Mustard, Horseradish, Szechuan Pepper, Wasabi
Sharp, clean piquant (spicy) spices

Mustard – Pinot Gris
Horseradish – Riesling
Szechuan Pepper – Schiava, Lambrusco
Wasabi – Chenin Blanc

Cinnamon, Allspice, Vanilla, Clove, Fenugreek, Nutmeg, Mace
Sweet, brown, baking spices

Cinnamon – Zinfandel, Amarone, GSM
Allspice – Pinot Noir, Riesling
Vanilla – Port, Banyul
Clove – Pinot Noir, Gewürztraminer
Fenugreek – Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris

Anise, Licorice, Star Anise, Black Cardamom, Fennel
Aromatic, terpene-dominant, incense spices

Anise – Barbera, Syrah, Moscato
Licorice – Barbera, Syrah
Star Anice – Brachetto d’acqui
Black Cardamom – Gewürztraminer, Lemberger
Fennel – Riesling, Dolcetto

Red, White, Pink and Black Pepper
Piquant (spicy), umami-rich, rotundone-dominant spices

White pepper – Grüner Veltliner
Pink pepper – Sparkling Rosé
Black pepper – Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Port

Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, Ancho Pepper, Aleppo Pepper
Piquant (spicy), smoky red pepper

Paprika – Malvasia
Cayenne Pepper –  Lambrusco Amabile
Ancho Pepper – Gewürztraminer
Aleppo Pepper – Riesling

Ginger, Galangal, Turmeric, Green Cardamon
Perfumed, sharp, citrus-like spices

Ginger – Riesling, Sauternais
Turmeric – Chardonnay, Sémillon
Green Cardamom – Viognier, Zinfandel