Soup is like a comforting blanket on a cold day. And, if you’ve ever savored a warm, cheesy, and aromatic bowl of French onion soup, you’d know what I mean. Oh, and let’s not forget the wine! Choosing what wine goes with French onion soup can turn a humble bowl of soup into a five-star dining experience.

So, how did this soup come into being? French onion soup has been warming bellies for centuries.

Born in the rustic kitchens of old France, it’s a testament to how simple ingredients like onions, beef broth, and cheese can create pure magic.

As for the wine, it can make or break your soup experience. You see, the right wine will elevate the flavors of your soup.

But get it wrong, and the whole thing can turn a bit, well, sour. So, figuring out what wine goes with French onion soup is pretty important.

What Wine Goes with French Onion Soup

Wine Type Flavor Profile Body Acidity Why It Works
Chardonnay (Oaked) Rich, buttery, with oak nuances Full Medium to High Oaky notes complement the caramelized onions; richness matches soup
Pinot Noir Red fruit, earthy, smooth tannins Light to Medium Medium to High Light body doesn’t overpower; earthiness pairs with savory soup
Sauvignon Blanc Crisp, citrus, herbaceous Light to Medium High Refreshing acidity cuts through the cheese and richness of the soup
Beaujolais Fruity, low tannins, floral Light to Medium Medium to High Fruitiness contrasts with the savory soup without overwhelming it
Viognier Floral, peach, apricot Medium to Full Low to Medium Aromatic complexity adds to the flavor experience; body matches soup

Understanding French Onion Soup

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This is the part where we get to know our soup better. You know, really understand what’s going on inside that bowl.

Key Ingredients of French Onion Soup

French onion soup is all about onions caramelized to perfection, beefy broth, and a cheesy crouton on top.

Pretty straightforward, right?

Flavor Profile of French Onion Soup

But, there’s more to it. This soup is a culinary opera. Think sweet caramel, savory beef, and salty cheese all coming together.

It’s a soup with a lot of personality.

Principles of Wine Pairing

When it comes to wine, things get a bit more complex. It’s all about striking a balance and finding a wine that matches the soup’s intensity.

Balancing Flavors

Just like a tightrope walker, it’s all about balance. The wine should neither overpower the soup nor be too weak. It’s a delicate dance.

Complementing Textures

Next, we look at the texture. A silky soup needs a wine that can hold its own. But a rich soup might need a wine that cuts through the heaviness.

Considering the Intensity of Flavors

Last but not least, we can’t ignore the intensity. A soup with strong flavors calls for a bold wine. On the flip side, a mild soup needs a gentler wine.

Best White Wines for French Onion Soup

Getting the right white wine for that steaming bowl of French onion soup can be like finding a piece to a puzzle. But don’t worry. I’ve got your back. We’ll find the perfect match for that soup.


Viognier is a white wine that’s often overlooked but oh boy, does it hold its own!

Characteristics of Viognier

Viognier is like that flamboyant friend who walks into a room and just lights it up. It’s full-bodied, aromatic, and boasts of flavors like peach, tangerine, and honeysuckle. It also has a creamy texture that can be pretty irresistible.

Why Viognier Pairs Well with French Onion Soup

Here’s the kicker. Viognier is great with French onion soup. Why? Because it balances the richness of the soup with its acidity and highlights the sweetness of caramelized onions with its fruit-forward profile.

Pinot Gris

Next on the list is Pinot Gris, and it’s one of those wines that people often get wrong. But when paired correctly, it shines.

Characteristics of Pinot Gris

Pinot Gris is like a chameleon. It’s super adaptable, taking on different characteristics based on where it’s grown. But generally, it’s medium to full-bodied, with a crisp acidity and flavors of pear, apple, and spice.

Why Pinot Gris Pairs Well with French Onion Soup

With French onion soup, Pinot Gris works wonders. The soup’s hearty flavors are balanced by the wine’s acidity, while the savory beef broth is complemented by the wine’s fruit flavors.

Oaked Chardonnay

Finally, we can’t forget about Oaked Chardonnay. It’s a classic for a reason!

Characteristics of Oaked Chardonnay

Oaked Chardonnay is like the leader of the pack. It’s full-bodied, rich, and creamy, with flavors of vanilla, butter, and tropical fruit.

Why Oaked Chardonnay Pairs Well with French Onion Soup

For French onion soup, Oaked Chardonnay is a real winner. The wine’s rich, buttery flavors are a match made in heaven with the soup’s creamy, cheesy goodness.

Best Red Wines for French Onion Soup

Now, what about red wine? Can you pair French onion soup with a hearty red? You bet!

Pinot Noir

Let’s start with Pinot Noir. It’s a red wine that’s loved for its versatility.

Characteristics of Pinot Noir

Picture this: you’re at a party and you meet someone who’s elegant, complex, and yet so approachable. That’s Pinot Noir for you. It’s a medium-bodied red, full of red fruit flavors like cherry and raspberry, with a hint of earthiness.

Why Pinot Noir Pairs Well with French Onion Soup

The thing is, Pinot Noir is like a cozy blanket for French onion soup. It’s fruity, slightly earthy notes compliment the caramelized onions. The soup’s rich broth and the wine’s light body strike a perfect balance.


Now let’s talk Beaujolais, a red wine that’s often forgotten but can be a surprise hit.

Characteristics of Beaujolais

Think of Beaujolais as that bubbly, fruity friend who always makes you smile. It’s a light-bodied red wine with flavors of ripe red fruits like cherries and raspberries.

Why Beaujolais Pairs Well with French Onion Soup

The vibrant acidity and fruity notes of Beaujolais can cut through the richness of French onion soup. It’s a classic case of opposites attract.


Moving on to Dolcetto. This Italian red wine is an unsung hero when it comes to food pairing.

Characteristics of Dolcetto

Dolcetto is like that book you picked up and couldn’t put down. It’s intriguing, smooth, and plush with flavors of black cherry and licorice.

Why Dolcetto Pairs Well with French Onion Soup

When you pair Dolcetto with French onion soup, something special happens. The wine’s fruity and smooth characteristics match the soup’s richness while its moderate acidity balances the dish’s flavors.

Côtes du Rhône

Finally, we’ve got Côtes du Rhône, a red blend that’s all about harmony.

Characteristics of Côtes du Rhône

Imagine a symphony orchestra where every instrument works in harmony. That’s Côtes du Rhône. It’s a blend of several grapes, resulting in a medium-bodied wine with red and black fruit flavors, peppery notes, and a hint of spice.

Why Côtes du Rhône Pairs Well with French Onion Soup

Côtes du Rhône and French onion soup? A pair to remember. The wine’s fruit flavors and peppery notes complement the sweetness of caramelized onions, while its body stands up to the soup’s robustness.

Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, Dolcetto, or Côtes du Rhône – the options to answer what wine goes with French onion soup are many. Now that we have uncovered the best white and red wines for your soup, let’s look at other factors that can influence your pairing choice.

Other Considerations for Wine Pairing

Before we wrap up, remember that choosing a wine isn’t just about the type or flavor. There are other factors that play a crucial role too. So, let’s dive in!

Personal Taste Preferences

This is the fun part! Because when it comes down to it, the best wine is the one you enjoy the most. Maybe you’re a die-hard Chardonnay fan. Or perhaps you just can’t get enough of Pinot Noir. That’s cool. Listen to your palate and go with what makes you happy.

Occasion and Setting

Setting matters. If it’s a laid-back dinner at home, maybe a comforting Beaujolais is the way to go. If you’re trying to impress a date, bring out the Viognier. Celebrating something special? Pop open that bottle of Pinot Noir. The occasion and setting can really influence your choice.

Experimentation and Discovery

Life is about exploration and discovery. And that applies to wine too. Maybe you’ve never tried Dolcetto or Viognier before. Or you’re used to reds and want to venture into white wine territory. Don’t be afraid to experiment. You might discover a new favorite!

FAQ about what wine goes with French onion soup

What type of wine pairs best with French onion soup?

Ah, great question! So, for French onion soup, a medium-bodied red like Pinot Noir or a Northern Rhône Syrah is a classic choice.

They’ve got enough heft to stand up to the rich broth but won’t overpower those sweet caramelized onions. Cheers!

Is white wine ever a good match for the soup?

You might be surprised, but yeah! If you’re more of a white wine drinker, a rich, oaky Chardonnay can work wonders with the cheesy crust and savory broth of the soup. It’s all about balancing flavors.

Would a rosé work with French onion soup?

Hmm, that’s a curveball! While it’s not the traditional choice, a fuller-bodied rosé with some structure could pair nicely. Think Tavel rosé from France.

It offers enough weight, but keeps things fresh. Give it a try, you might be surprised!

Can I go sparkling with the soup?

Oh, I love where your head’s at! Sparkling wines like Cremant or Champagne can add a refreshing pop to the rich, savory depth of the soup. It’s like a little party in your mouth!

How about sweet wines, any chance there?

Hmm, it’s tricky. Generally, you’d want to avoid overly sweet wines. But, a slightly off-dry Riesling might work. Its bright acidity and hint of sweetness can contrast and complement the saltiness of the soup.

Are there any regional French wines that are a natural fit?

Totally! When in doubt, go local, right? A Beaujolais or even a Côtes du Rhône red would be lovely. Both wines come from the same country as the soup, so you know they’ll get along like old friends.

What should I avoid pairing with the soup?

Hey, I’m all for experimentation, but super tannic wines like a Cabernet Sauvignon might clash with the soup. Those tannins can make the soup feel metallic.

Stick to smoother, softer reds or the whites I mentioned earlier.

Can fortified wines work?

You’re thinking outside the box, I like it! A dry Sherry could be interesting. Its nutty flavors might play well with the caramelized onions. But, tread lightly – it’s not everyone’s cup of tea (or glass of wine).

How about serving temperature? Does it matter?

Oh, for sure! With reds, aim for slightly cooler than room temperature, like 60-65°F. Whites? Chill them, but not too much. Think 50-55°F. It’ll let their flavors shine without getting lost in the soup’s warmth.

Any wildcard pairings you’d recommend?

Alright, throwing a curveball your way – a light-bodied Lambrusco! It’s sparkling, it’s red, it’s got a touch of sweetness. Sounds odd, but it’s fun and might just be the wildcard you’re looking for with that bowl of oniony goodness!


Alright, we’ve reached the end of our wine and soup adventure. And you’ve got some solid answers to that question: what wine goes with French onion soup?

Just to recap: we’ve covered the history and flavor profile of French onion soup, the principles of wine pairing, the best white and red wines for the soup, and other factors to consider when choosing a wine.

But hey, this is just a guide. The real fun starts when you uncork that bottle of wine and dip your spoon into that delicious bowl of French onion soup. So go ahead, start experimenting. You never know, you might just discover a pairing that’s truly magical. Cheers to that!

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