Pairing White Wine: Rich and Creamy

While Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio and Riesling are rarely exposed to oak (toast, spice, vanilla influences) or lees (buttery, creamy influences), Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are frequently fermented and aged with oak creating wines falling into in the Rich and Creamy style.  As a result, similar food pairings are recommended for these varietals providing great options whether choosing wine for yourself or recommending wine to others.  Let’s explore.

Rich and Creamy

Dry or Off-Dry / Low Acid / Riper Fruit / High Alcohol / Butter or Baking Spice

Chardonnay:   Warmer areas create higher sugar content in Chardonnay grapes driving higher alcohol and more body.  Often wine makers age these wines in oak giving toasty, baking spice flavors to the wine.  To lower the acidity, a process called malolactic fermentation or “MALO” is used which softens the acids resulting in wine which tastes creamy or buttery.  Another wine making choice is to leave the dead yeast cells left from fermentation in the wine as it ages – this is called “Lees” aging and gives wine a bready flavor.   Sauvignon Blanc:   Oak and lees influences paired with higher alcohol from warmer climates can drive Sauvignon Blanc toward richer, creamier and fuller styles.  As with Chardonnay, these influences change the flavor palette of the wine adding baking spices and toasty flavors along with buttery, yogurt-like notes to the wine which balance perfectly with the riper, juicier, stone and tropical fruit flavors.  This style pairs well with fatter, creamier, oilier foods than its crisp, lean counterpart.  Goat cheese remains a strong favorite for pairings as well.

Food Pairings:

Rich Seafood – Lobster, salmon

Sauteed or Roasted Chicken, Pork or Veal

Pasta with alfredo, cream or buttery sauces

Squash, root vegetables and mushrooms

Creamy, buttery side dishes

Key Words: Buttery, creamy, smooth, oaky, toasty, full, opulent, silky.