Pairing White Rhône Wines with Food

Food friendly and versatile varietals from the Northern Rhône

When most people think of the Northern Rhône, they don't think of white wine.

It's really no surprise that viognier (one of the principal white grapes of the region) had nearly gone extinct only fifty years ago, with just eight acres planted across the entire region. Now, viognier, as well as marsanne and roussanne, have spread across the world. Viognier, being the most popular of these varietals, has found success in South America, Australia, California, and even Virginia. Frankly, we're lucky to have viognier in our arsenal of food-friendly wines because its versatility allows it to pair well with some of the more difficult wine-pairing cuisines around the world; namely Indian, Asian, and vegetarian foods. It also has the ability to stand up against moderately spicy foods.

Marsanne and roussane have not had as much success as viognier, but they are certainly worth seeking out as they are both truly unique grapes. While they are the only grapes permitted in Northern Rhône whites such as Crozes-Hermitage and Saint-Joseph, you can also find varietal bottlings from the Rhône-Rangers in California and in Austrailia.

Exploration is important, but the wines and recipes I’ve put together are a great start. I think you’ll find that viognier, marsanne, and roussane deserve a place in your repertoire.

Click here for the White Rhône Wines & Food Pairing Slideshow.

— Eric Guido, Snooth