Cheers to wine and chili—two things that go surprisingly well together! They both give you that warm and cozy feeling, and they both come in many varieties. We asked Missa Capozzo, our Director of Sommology, to give us her top four chili recipes and their perfect wine pairings! You can also find these crowd-pleasers on our Sommology page. Ready to get a little spicy? Grab a spoon and a glass because we’re talking wine and chili pairings.
There’s nothing like a bowl of hot, classic chili. Chili is traditional comfort food, a game-day staple, and the subject of cook-offs all across America. Classic chili with mild to medium spice would pair beautifully with a dry or off-dry white wine, or even a fruity red soft in tannins such as Pinot Noir. A pot of chili heavy on the spice would be better paired with a semi-sweet or even sweet white.
Sweet and spicy is a loved, delicious combination. Molasses chili offers just that. That bit of sweetness blanketing the spice allows you to pair your chili with a nice, fruit forward red, such as a Zinfandel or even a Cabernet Sauvignon. If you prefer white wines, an off-dry Riesling would be perfection on the palate.
Caribbean Chili with Black Beans
If you’ve ever been to the Caribbean, you’ve been fortunate enough to experience the unique spices and flavor combinations of the cuisine. Mango and cilantro are a Caribbean staple, providing the palate with a tropical essence. This Caribbean chili recipe offers the best of all flavors, including the heat of habanero peppers with the sweet citrus of orange juice and warmth of allspice. This fusion of flavors pairs well with crisp, fruity white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Torrontés, off-dry whites such as Riesling, and reds soft in tannins but forward in fruit, such as Pinot Noir and Merlot.
Chunky Vegetable Chili
Vegetarians rejoice! This chunky vegetable chili provides all the delectable flavors of traditional chili, but brimming with an array of vegetables. This recipe can be made as mild or spicy as you wish, depending on the spice level of the salsa and amount of chili powder. A mild version would be idea with almost any white, red, or even rosé. A spicier version would pair best with an off-dry or semi-sweet white or soft, fruit forward, mild red.
We hope these delectable wine and chili pairings warm you right up! Be sure to tag us on Instagram if you try one at home! For more information on pairing food and wine, schedule an in-home wine tasting with a Traveling Vineyard Wine Guide who will give you great tips for your sips (and bring 5 free bottles to share!).