Gumbo pairs best with an off-dry Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer, or Pinot Gris. Stick to white wines that are somewhat off-dry and low in alcohol if your Gumbo is spicy. If red wine is your game, look no further than a Beaujolais Village, Zinfandel or Pinot Noir to pair up with your Gumbo. Bold reds with a lot of tannin and alcohol will cause your mouth a lot of discomfort as the tannin and alcohol will clash with any spice, causing your mouth to burn. Even if your Gumbo isn’t spicy, bold red wines will crush all the intricate flavours Gumbo has.
What is Gumbo?
Gumbo is a popular soup/stew made out of a strongly flavoured and thick stock called a roux and is served over rice. While famous for originating in the state of Louisiana, there is no definitive Gumbo, much like there is no definitive soup or stew. Thus, you’ll find a hodgepodge of ingredients that your Gumbo might include, such as alligator, duck, chicken, seafood, shellfish, sausage, and vegetables.
What is the difference between Creole Gumbo and Cajun Gumbo?
- Cajun Gumbo Does not Contain Tomatoes
- Cajun Gumbo is often spicier
- Cajun Gumbo tends to have a darker roux and is often thicker.
- The running joke with Cajun Gumbo is to cook it until it’s a few shades lighter than burn (meaning Cajun Gumbo is Dark)
- May contain fowl, seafood or sausage
- Creole Gumbo often contain tomatoes
- Creole Gumbo isn’t as spicy or hot as Cajun Gumbo
Best Wine with Gumbo
Cajun Gumbo and Off-Dry Riesling Pairing
Cajun Gumbo is going to contain some spice, so you’ll be grateful for the the zippy blast of an off-dry Riesling‘s sweetness to help tame some of that fire in your mouth. Off-Dry means the wine is ever so slightly sweet, not sickly sweet like the bottle of Riesling you drank and got sick off when you were young.
Riesling is often perceived as being sweet in North America, as many of us get our start drinking wine by experimenting when we are young. Thus, we, or our friends, tend to buy sweet and poorly made inexpensive white wines as they are cheap and taste like juice. However, Riesling is an incredibly food-friendly wine, and when made proper, can be incredibly dry, slightly sweet, or deliciously sweet.
As Riesling nearly goes with everything, it will also go with every ingredient in your Gumbo. I give this pairing four out of five stars as Riesling will pair much better with seafood or chicken Gumbo than Gumbo that lean more heavily towards duck or sausage.
Prosecco & Cajun Seafood Gumbo Pairing
Prosecco is a crisp sparkling wine from Italy that is inexpensive, yet anytime you introduce a flute of sparkling wine to the dinner party, it will make you feel like you are eating like royalty. Even better is that an off-dry Prosecco offers a sweet and bubbly contrast to the spicy and rich flavours of Cajun Gumbo. The high acidity of Prosecco also ensures you’ll taste all the seafood in your Gumbo, as acidity works as a flavour amplifier.
Prosecco is the perfect palate cleanser as the high acidity and bubbles scrub everything from your cheeks while re-invigorating your appetite with its quiet notes of apple, almond, apricot, pear, melon, toast, lemon and honey. This ensures every bite of Gumbo tastes as fresh as your very first bite and also ensures you won’t overeat, as you’ll be satisfied much earlier on.
Creole Seafood Gumbo & Sauvignon Blanc Pairing
Sauvignon Blanc is a crisp white wine featuring notes of grapefruit, citrus and green herbs or grass. The herbal notes mingle beautifully with the deep vegetable and lighter spices in your Creole Gumbo. Meanwhile, the vibrant citrus flavours lift up the subtle seafood flavours to the front, where you can bask in their deliciousness. Seafood is expensive after all, so why not highlight it with a sip of Sauvignon Blanc.
Seeing as Sauvignon Blanc is dry, (which means there is nothing sweet about it), it is not a great match with spicier Cajun Gumbo. The dry flavours of Sauvignon Blanc are too steely for the heat, and will not offer up any refreshment against the fiery flavours of your Cajun Gumbo.
Duck & Sausage Gumbo & Zinfandel Pairing
A medium-ranged Zinfandel has the perfect amount of fruitiness and smoky spiciness to complement the sausage in your Gumbo. Expect notes of black pepper, coffee, cloves, smoke and cinnamon to dance with all the rich flavours drifting around in your gumbo. Meanwhile, the fruity flavours of blackberries, black cherries and raspberries help mask the gaminess of the duck.
Middle and lower ranged Zinfandel tend to be low in tannin, making them acidic enough to go with a Creole Gumbo containing Tomatoes, or an ever so spicy Cajun Gumbo.
Cajun Chicken & Sausage Gumbo & Beaujolais Pairing
Beaujolais Villages is a light and fruity red wine from France that is perfect with spicier dishes as the wine is also low in alcohol. When you mix alcohol with hot spice, it will make your mouth taste like burn, which is not something you’ll have to be concerned about with a Beaujolais Villages. Instead, you’ll find pure refreshment with Beaujolais flavours of cherry, strawberry and raspberry, which are bold enough to stand up to the sausage but not so bold as to crush the chicken in your Gumbo.
Beaujolais Villages also has a touch of earthiness that whirls in perfectly with those deep Cajun flavours found in the roux and andouille sausage.