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Wines can complement potent herbs

Herbs, Basil, Saffron, Cilantro, Lemongrass, Dill, Mint, RosemaryRecently, a friend asked if wine could be paired with herbs. An interesting thought because, generally, pairings are much more broad. But as she continued it made perfect sense because she creates dishes based on the fresh herbs available, whether homegrown or those she finds in the supermarket.

So with this question in mind, I sought to find a few compatible herb and wine pairings.


Basil is an integral part of most Mediterranean cuisines, especially French and Italian, and it’s easy to match with white and red wines.

Best matches: Soave, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, sangiovese or French syrah.


Saffron (technically a spice), often appears in Spanish cuisine and contemporary fish dishes. Saffron goes well with aromatic white wines. Best matches: Albarino and viognier.


If you are using cilantro in a recipe, chances are there is a lime, garlic clove and chile pepper involved. Best matches: Sauvignon blanc and chardonnay.


Lemongrass is common to southeast Asian cuisine and frequently appears in Thaistyle dishes. It imparts a delicate lemon flavor. Best matches: Riesling and sauvignon blanc.


Dill’s strong flavor needs a wine capable of competing with its power. Best matches: Sauvignon blanc and chardonnay.


Mint is widely used in Greek and Middle Eastern cooking, where it matches well with white wines, offering a subtle lemony zest. Best match: Vinho Verde.


Rosemary has one of the easier flavors to match with wines with a distinct earthy herb taste. Best matches: Chianti, pinot noir, sangiovese and syrah.


  • 2011 Pacific Rim Columbia Valley Riesling, Washington (about $13 retail)


  • 2011 Honig Sauvignon Blanc, California (about $17 retail)