What Wines Go With Jambalaya? 7 Great Pairings
Jambalaya, this amazing dish of the southern cuisine finds its origins in two rustic Mediterranean dishes, the Spanish paella, and the French jambalaia, one native to Valencia the other to Provence. Pairing it with wines brings a heavenly combination to the table, but which wines go with jambalaya?
Like in most Mediterranean dishes, jambalaya doesn’t have a fixed recipe. There are dozens of variants, and this versatility allows you to pair this dish with an impressive variety of wine.
You can pick the most suitable drink based on the ingredients in the dish. There are two primary cooking methods, with or without tomatoes.
Red or Creole jambalaya consists of a rich combination of meats and seafood. It all starts with a trinity of onions, peppers, and celery, followed by chicken, beef, sausage, season vegetables, and seafood. Rice and stock added in equal proportions cook together with the ingredients, absorbing the flavors and aromas.
Cajun jambalaya is characteristic to southwestern Louisiana and contains no tomatoes. In this recipe, the meat is first browned in a cast-iron pot, giving the characteristic brown color to the dish. To the meat follow red bell peppers, onions, and celery enriched with stock and seasoning in the fat of the meat.
Once the vegetables are soft, you can add the meat, rice, and more stock, and cook the jambalaya until all ingredients are well done. Seafood may or may not be present in this dish, depending on each recipe.
Another type of jambalaya contains only meat and veggies cooked separately from the rice, then joined together before serving. This dish is less common, as the rice doesn’t absorb the characteristic flavors of the dish. Nonetheless, this variant is more child-friendly precisely due to the absence of any strong flavors.
With so many styles, it’s easy to understand each jambalaya can pair with a variety of wines. The Creole style is perhaps the most versatile, as the different ingredients go with various beverages.
Now, if you’re wondering which wines to choose, check out my selection below.
Chardonnay pairs wonderfully with the seafood and white meat in jambalaya, enhancing their aromas and enriching their flavors.
The jambalaya won’t overwhelm the sweet fruity notes of a good chardonnay, while the wine will bring freshness to your dish, cooling you down. Other dry white wines, such as Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadet also work wonders with Creole jambalaya.
However, try to avoid the oaked white wines which may negatively affect the flavor of your dish.
#2 Chenin Blanc
The seafood and chicken in a traditional Creole jambalaya also appreciate the flavors of sweet white wine.
Chenin Blanc is perhaps the best expression of this combination. Fruity and light, this wine pairs with the sapidity of the fish and with all spices in the dish. Chicken and lean pork also pair wonderfully with a Chenin Blanc.
Gewurztraminer and Moscato are two other sweet white wines that go amazingly with jambalaya.
#3 Rosé Wine
There is something attractive about the deliciousness of jambalaya and a blush pink rosé wine. These light wines are low in alcohol, but the truth is that the higher the alcohol content in this wine, the more it will bring out the spicy burn in the dish.
All pink wines offer a subtle fruity finish to jambalaya, pairing above all with the shrimp and seafood in a Creole jambalaya.
Among the best rosé wines is Pinot rosé, but other varieties also work well as long as they are on the sweeter side.
Fizzy and textured, Prosecco also pairs well with seafood, white meat, and the rice. As such, it’s another inspired option for your red jambalaya.
This sparkling wine acts as a palate cleanser while the fruity aftertaste of the Glera grapes enhances all the flavors in the dish. A sparkling dry Pinot can also work wonders with this type of dish, while any other dry sparkling wine could be an excellent choice.
Australian Shiraz brings vivacious flavors of berry and wild fruits which blend nicely with the spicy sauce of a Cajun jambalaya. This red wine pairs better with the stronger flavors of red meat, so pairing it with a beef dish sounds perfect.
Shiraz also has subtle hints of pepper which only enhance the flavorful spiciness of the dish.
Instead of Australian Shiraz, you can also pair your jambalaya with a fruity French Syrah. Of course, the different terroir will change the characteristics of the wine, but the French version can also complement the deliciousness of jambalaya.
Moving towards Spain, Rioja is another exceptional wine to pair with a Cajun jambalaya. This wine blends the spiciness of American oak with subtle hints of tobacco, chocolate, and wild berries. All these flavors complement the beef, pork, but also white meat and fish.
The nice thing about the Rioja is that spicy food seems to calm down the strong oaked aromas in the wine.
Pleasant despite its full body, refreshing, and easy-going on the palate, this combination is meant to inspire a more thoughtful soul.
Zinfandel is a surprising wine characterized by a balanced yet full-body flavor which marries with the spiciness of jambalaya. Like all my red suggestions, this wine goes beautifully with a Cajun jambalaya but is less exceptional for the Creole variant.
The lower alcoholic content of the wine enhances its freshness and complements the dish in a unique way. What’s even more surprising is that Zinfandel is a particularly hard to pair wine but with jambalaya, it’s a treat.
And now that you know what wines go with jambalaya, all you have to do is pick your favorite variant and match it with one of the wines in this list. Bon appetite!