Lentil soup pairs best with medium-bodied reds with a touch of earthiness like Cabernet Franc, Chianti, Beaujolais Villages, or Syrah. For white wine, you’ll want something full-bodied such as Chardonnay or Vouvray, to match the weight of the soup. For spicy lentil soup with a touch of heat, pair it up with an off-dry Gewurztraminer or Riesling.
Recipes for Lentil Soup are endless, but the result is typically earthy, savoury and chunky. Indian recipes will call for spicy heat, and North American recipes might include sausage, beef or turkey. The pairings below are focused on vegan versions of Lentil Soup but are versatile enough to pair with meatier or spicier versions.
Best Wine with Lentil Soup
Beaujolais Villages & Lentil Soup Pairing
Beaujolais Villages pairs best with Lentil Soup as this light and fruity red wine with a hint of earthiness that complements the lentils along with any mushrooms, root veggies or onions tossed into the soup.
Beaujolais-Villages is so refreshing and acidic it will get along beautifully with anything you’ve tossed in your lentil soup, such as chunks of potatoes, carrots, cabbage, rice, pasta, barley, sausage, garlic or any other beans.
Cherry, raspberry and strawberry are the dominant flavours of Beaujolais-Villages but expect notes of black pepper, mineral, spice and earth to shine through. Beaujolais-Cru, a step up in price (and often hard to find on shelves in North America), will feature even bolder and earthier flavours.
Pinot Noir is another exceptional choice with Lentil Soup, but it should be noted that good Pinot Noir is exceptional. If you buy a Pinot Noir for under $40, chances are it will be swill and a pale imitation of the real thing. Unless you really love Lentil Soup, I can’t imagine anyone wanting to spend a lot of money for a Pinot Noir. Whereas with Beaujolais Villages, you get a similar wine to Pinot Noir (although not as earthy) that is exceptional for half the price.
Cabernet Franc & Lentil Soup Pairing
Cabernet Franc is a tart and acidic red wine that has a distinct herbal and green pepper flavour to it that makes it exceptional with Lentil soup. While the green bell pepper flavours of Cabernet Franc are unmistakable, you’ll also find refreshing flavours of raspberry, cherry, plum, blackberry and strawberry. Additional flavours of leather, honeycomb, tobacco, cedar, coffee , black pepper and earth can also be noted and complement the savoury lentil flavours of your soup.
Cabernet Franc is one of the five grapes used to create Bordeaux, and you’ll also find it blended across the globe with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. I’m fond of Cabernet Franc from Niagara, Ontario, where it’s often bottled as a single varietal wine. Not only is single-varietal Cabernet Franc exceptional with Lentil Soup, but its green, fruity and earthy flavours also make it exoccipital with so many other vegetarian dishes!
Chianti Classico & Lentil Soup Pairing with Sausage
Chianti Classico is a medium-bodied red wine from Italy that has a good amount tannin that is balanced with acidity. Acidity is crucial if you’ve tossed some tomatoes into your Lentil soup as tomatoes are high in acidity, and requires a wine with lots of acidity as well. Wines that lack acidity will taste metallic when paired with tomatoes.
Chianti is also tannin-rich, which will bite into any sausage bits and make the sausage taste more flavourful and meaty. The sausage’s fat and protein composition will help smooth out the wine, giving the wine an even more velvety texture.
Regardless of if your Lentil Soup has tomatoes or not, Chianti makes for a great pairing as has a rustic herbal and mineral charm that complements the savoury flavours of Lentil Soup. Meanwhile, you get some silky notes of cherry, raspberry and plum that keep you refreshed throughout your meal.
Chardonnay & Lentil Soup Pairing
I’m not a big fan of chilled white wines with hot soups, as the contrast of hot soup and cold wine rattles my teeth with pain. If you can tolerate the temperature shift, the toasted coconut, smoke, and buttery flavours of Chardonnay make for an excellent pairing with the savoury Lentil soup flavours. Chardonnay also delivers lush green apple, tart lemon and soft peach flavours that provide plenty of contrasting refreshment.
Off-Dry Gewürztraminer & Spicy Lentil Soup Pairing
Gewürztraminer is not a white wine that everyone loves as it is incredibly aromatic and bossy with strong lychee flavours, along with some spicy ginger, cinnamon and smoke notes. If you’ve never had lychee fruit before, the closest example I can give to the smell is sweet rose petals. Yet, if you’re having a spicy hot Indian Lentil Soup, an off-dry Gewürztraminer hits all the right notes as the slight sweetness of the wine puts out some of the fire in any hot curry used. Meanwhile, the ginger, cinnamon, and smoke notes complement the spices used and the lentils’ earthy flavours.
If Gewürztraminer sounds like a white wine that is too much for you to handle, seek out an off-dry Riesling, which has a kiss of sugar and features refreshing notes of lemon, lime, peach and green apple that help in simmering down the heat of the spice.