Soups

Jukes Wine And Food Soups

Dry sherry is often quoted as soup’s ideal soul mate. But it seems a little ludicrous to crack open a bottle of fino every time I fancy a bowl of broth. And, what’s more, it isn’t always the best wine for the job, as the soup dynasty is a diverse collection of individuals – no one wine can expect to cover all of the flavours. Minestrone, with its wonderful cannellini bean base, and ribollita (the stunning, next-day minestrone incarnation, re-boiled with cabbage and bread thrown in for extra body) like to keep things Italian, with chilled Teroldego or Marzemino from Trentino and Valpolicella and inexpensive Tuscan reds all being superb candidates. If you want to hop over the mountains to France, then simpler southern Rhônes (a well-made C-de-R would do) make a refreshing and accurate alternative. Spinach and chickpea soup goes well with bone-dry whites like those from Orvieto, Frascati, Greco, Verdicchio (Italy), Penedès or Rueda (Spain), or Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, South Africa or Chile. Vichyssoise (chilled leek and potato soup) needs creamy, floral whites, such as straightforward Alsatian Riesling, South American or French Viognier, or light, white Rhônes. Lobster or crayfish bisque has a creamy texture coupled with a deceptive richness, so dry sherry could conceivably make an appearance here. If you don’t fancy that, then youthful white Burgundy is best. Bouillabaisse with rouille, the serious fish, garlic, tomatoes, onion and herb broth with floating toasty crostinis topped with garlic, chilli and mayo, is a mighty dish and yet it only needs very simple whites like our old favourites Muscadet and Sauvignon de Touraine. Consommé is a definite Fino sherry dish (at last). Gazpacho (chilled tomato, cucumber, onion, pepper and garlic soup) likes nothing more than Spanish new-wave (unoaked) Viura or cheeky Verdejo from Rueda. Mushroom soup is another dry sherry candidate (you might use some in the recipe), while French onion soup goes well with dry Riesling from Alsace or South Australia. Oxtail demands hearty reds – rustic, earthy inexpensive southern French bruisers like St.-Chinian or Minervois. Lentil and chestnut and lentil and bacon soups both crave dry sherry (this time trade up from fino to an amontillado, for complexity and intensity), while clam chowder is a fishy soup with cream (and sometimes potato), so Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and all seafood-friendly whites are perfect. Vegetable soup can be dull, but it can also be excellent; either way, rustic reds at the bottom of the price ladder are needed. Tomato soup is a strange one. Always avoid oak. I favour light reds or dry whites – Gamay (Beaujolais or Loire) or Sauvignon Blanc (Pays d’Oc, Loire, South Africa or Chile) all do the job admirably.