Mother Earth Living

Wine + Herbs: Herb and Wine Pairing Chart

By Tabitha Alterman
February/March 2011


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• Herb Flavor: Anise
Whites: Viognier
Reds: Pinot Noir

• Herb Flavor: Arugula
Whites: Chablis, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc

• Herb Flavor: Basil
Whites: Chardonnay (unoaked), Orvieto, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Soave, sparkling
Reds: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah/Shiraz (esp. fruity), Chianti, Gavi, Merlot, Nebbiolo, rosé, Sangiovese (esp. with hearty dishes), Syrah/Shiraz, Zinfandel

• Herb Flavor: Bay Leaf
Whites: Sauvignon Blanc
Reds: Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, Pinotage, Sangiovese, Zinfandel

• Herb Flavor: Capers
Whites: Muscadet, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris (esp. dry), Sancerre, Sauvignon Blanc
Reds: Beaujolais (high-acid), Pinot Noir, rosé (dry)
Notes: Dry white wines

• Herb Flavor: Caraway Seeds
Whites: Gewürtraminer, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc
Reds: Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah/Shiraz

• Herb Flavor: Chervil
Whites: Chardonnay, Gewürtraminer, Riesling, Sancerre, Sauvignon Blanc, sparkling
Reds: rosé, Syrah/Shiraz

• Herb Flavor: Chiles
Whites: Chenin Blanc (off-dry), Fume Blanc, Gewürtraminer, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Riesling (off-dry), Sauvignon Blanc
Reds: Beaujolais, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir (esp. fruity), Rioja, Sherry, Syrah/Shiraz, Tempranillo, Zinfandel
Notes: Acidic, fruity, less tannic, unoaked, light-bodied, low-alcohol, and off-dry to sweet wines. Avoid full-bodied, high-alcohol, oaked and tannic wines.

• Herb Flavor: Chives
Whites: Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Sancerre, Sauvignon Blanc
Reds: Pinot Noir, Zinfandel

• Herb Flavor: Cilantro
Whites: Chenin Blanc, Gewürtraminer, sparkling
Reds: Barbera

• Herb Flavor: Cinnamon
Whites: Chenin Blanc, Gewürtraminer, sparkling
Reds: Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah/Shiraz, Zinfandel

• Herb Flavor: Cloves
Whites: Chardonnay (esp. oaked), Chenin Blanc, Gewürtraminer, Riesling, Viognier
Reds: Pinot Noir, Syrah/Shiraz, Zinfandel

• Herb Flavor: Coriander
Whites: Chardonnay, Gewürtraminer, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, sparkling, Viognier
Reds: Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Syrah/Shiraz, Rioja
Notes: Earthy, mineral-ey wines

Herb Flavor: Cumin
Whites: Chardonnay, Riesling (esp. dry), Sauvignon Blanc, sparkling, Viognier
Reds: Pinot Noir (esp. with red meat), Rioja, Syrah/Shiraz (esp. with red meat), Tempranillo, Zinfandel

• Herb Flavor: Dill
Whites: Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier

• Herb Flavor: Epazote
Reds: Chianti, Pinot Noir

• Herb Flavor: Fennel
Whites: Chardonnay (esp. buttery), Chenin Blanc, Grüner Veltliner, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sancerre, Sauvignon Blanc, Soave, Viognier
Reds: Barbera, Pinot Noir

Herb Flavor: Garlic (and Onions)
Whites: Albarino, Chardonnay, Gewürtraminer, Grüner Veltliner, Riesling (esp. off-dry), Soave, Sauvignon Blanc, sherry, sparkling, Viognier
Reds: Barbera, Burgundy, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, rosé (dry), Syrah/Shiraz, Zinfandel
Notes: Fruity wine, dry white wine (esp. with raw garlic)

Herb Flavor: Ginger-Savory
Whites: Chardonnay (esp. oaked), Gewürtraminer, Muscat, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Riesling (off-dry to sweet), Sauvignon Blanc, sparkling, Viognier
Reds: Pinot Noir, Syrah/Shiraz, Zinfandel
Notes: Fruity and/or off-dry

Herb Flavor: Ginger-Sweet
Whites: Gewürtraminer (late harvest), Moscato d'Asti, Muscat (sweet), Riesling (sweet), Satuernes, sparkling (off-dry to sweet)
Notes: Sweet white wines

• Herb Flavor: Horseradish
Whites: Gewürtraminer, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, sparkling, Viognier
Reds: Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Rioja, rosé, Syrah/Shiraz, Zinfandel
Notes: Off-dry to slightly sweet wine. Horseradish can kill the flavor of wines; to make it more wine-friendly, add cream.

• Herb Flavor: Lemongrass
Whites: Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sancerre, Sauvignon Blanc, Vouvray

• Herb Flavor: Marjoram
Whites: Sauvignon Blanc
Reds: Merlot, Pinot Noir

• Herb Flavor: Mint-Savory
Whites: Gewürtraminer, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc
Reds: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah/Shiraz

• Herb Flavor: Mint-Sweet
Whites: Moscato d'Asti, Muscat

• Herb Flavor: Mustard
Whites: Burgundy, Chablis, Chardonnay (unoaked), Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sancerre, Sauvignon Blanc
Reds: Cotes du Rhone, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah/Shiraz, Zinfandel
Notes: Dijon mustard is the most wine-friendly mustard.

• Herb Flavor: Nutmeg
Whites: Burgundy, Chardonnay (esp. oaked), Pinot Blanc, Viognier
Reds: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah/Shiraz, Zinfandel

• Herb Flavor: Oregano
Whites: Sauvignon Blanc
Reds: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, Merlot, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Syrah/Shiraz, Zinfandel

• Herb Flavor: Paprika
Reds: Bordeaux (esp. aged), Cabernet Sauvignon (esp. young), Merlot, Zinfandel (fruity)
Notes: Hungarian wines

• Herb Flavor: Parsley
Whites: Sauvignon Blanc

• Herb Flavor: Pepper, Black
Whites: Gewürtraminer, sparkling
Reds: Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Syrah/Shiraz, Zinfandel

• Herb Flavor: Pesto
Whites: Burgundy, Chablis, Chardonnay (unoaked), Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Soave, sparkling (dry)
Reds: Barbera, Gavi
Notes: White wine, esp. Italian

• Herb Flavor: Rosemary
Whites: Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, sparkling
Reds: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Syrah/Shiraz, Zinfandel
Notes: Red wine

• Herb Flavor: Saffron
Whites: Chardonnay, sherry (dry), Viognier
Reds: Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Rioja, rosé (dry)
Notes: Dry white wine

• Herb Flavor: Sage
Whites: Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc
Reds: Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah/Shiraz
Notes: Red wine

• Herb Flavor: Sesame (Including Oil and Sauce)
Whites: Chardonnay (oaked), Riesling, Viognier

• Herb Flavor: Sorrel
Whites: Sparkling, Chardonnay (unoaked), Grüner Veltliner, Riesling (dry), Sauvignon Blanc

• Herb Flavor: Star Anise
Whites: Sauvignon Blanc
Reds: Pinot Noir

• Herb Flavor: Tapenade
Whites: Sauvignon Blanc, sherry, sparkling
Reds: rosé (dry), Zinfandel

• Herb Flavor: Tarragon
Whites: Burgundy, Chardonnay (unoaked), Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier
Reds: Merlot, Pinot Noir

• Herb Flavor: Thai Basil
Whites: Sauvignon Blanc

• Herb Flavor: Thyme
Whites: Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, sparkling
Reds: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah/Shiraz, Zinfandel

• Herb Flavor: Vanilla
Whites: Asti, Burgundy, Chardonnay (esp. big and buttery), Moscato d'Asti, Riesling (esp. sweet or late harvest), sherry (PX), sparkling
Reds: Port (esp. tawny)
Notes: Ice wine

• Herb Flavor: Wasabi
Whites: Gewürtraminer, Riesling (off-dry), Sauvignon Blanc, sparkling (esp. Cava)
Reds: Zinfandel
Notes: Avoid Cabernet Sauvignon and tannic, red wine.


Tabitha Alterman is the food editor at Mother Earth News and Natural Home magazines. She wonders if a small-fishbowl-sized glass counts as ONE glass of wine. 

Click here for the main article, 50 Ways to Pair Wine with Herbs. 


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