How to Pair Wine with Fresh Herbs from Your Garden

You've worked hard on your garden, now don't let those herbs go to waste! Check out these 9 wine and herb pairings for the perfect summer dinner.

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You’ve planted, watered, and tended to your garden all season long. Now it’s time to reap the benefits of your hard work and enjoy some stellar home-cooked meals seasoned with fresh herbs – hooray! Check out these 9 wine and herb pairings to get your started!

Fresh herbs can elevate an average, everyday recipe to restaurant-quality deliciousness. The only way to improve upon your garden-fresh meal is by pairing it with the perfect bottle of vino.

Here’s a guide for picking the right wine to go with your favorite fresh herbs.

Pairing Tips

If you’re unsure of how to pick a wine to go with your summer meal, here’s a handy rule of thumb: Think about texture.

Softer herbs – such as basil, dill and tarragon – tend to go well with white wine, where “hard” herbs like rosemary and thyme generally go with red.

Freshly picked herbs are full of flavor, so no matter what cooking style you use, herbs are often the centerpiece of a meal. However, if there’s a stronger element – like the sauce, for instance – use the most prominent flavor to help you choose a wine.

Wine & Herb Pairings

Fresh basil

1. Basil

Fresh basil is the perfect garnish on summer pastas and Caprese salad, plus it’s the main ingredient in pesto sauce. Using the principle “what grows together goes together,” pair this herb that’s commonly found in Italian cooking with Pinot Grigio – a light Italian wine.

Use up this herb with a 20-minute garlic basil brown butter pasta! Perfect for those last few days of summer.

wine and herb pairings Meet Cute Pinot Grigio

Bright Cellars' Meet Cute Pinot Grigio

Pair basil with Bright Cellars' own Meet Cute Pinot Grigio! It also makes a great pairing for the garlic basil brown butter pasta!

2. Cilantro

The most polarizing herb, people either love it or hate it. If you adore this green herb on salads or tacos, pair it with Sauvignon Blanc – a light and zesty white wine with a “green” streak that can taste like green bell pepper.

Add some homemade guacamole to your tacos with this guac recipe that you can make using your fresh cilantro!

wine and herb pairings - Bright Cellars' Watchkeeper Sauvignon Blanc Bottle shot Bright Cellars' Watchkeeper Sauvignon Blanc

The best wine for this pairing would be Bright Cellars' own Watchkeeper Sauvignon Blanc. The herby flavors from the vino will go perfectly with the cilantro flavors!

3. Dill

Whether you add it to a fresh cucumber salad or place it atop a light fish, dill pairs well with Sémillon, a medium-bodied white wine, or even a light red like Pinot Noir.

To help use up that extra dill make this healthy recipe, salmon with creamy dill sauce!

wine and herb pairings - Vanishing Act Pinot Noir

Bright Cellars' Vanishing Act Pinot Noir

Our favorite Pinot Noir for this pairing is Bright Cellars own Vanishing Act Pinot Noir! A classic Oregon Pinot, this wine is fruit-forward with aromas of strawberry, cherry, fresh mushroom, and cedar on the finish.

mint herb

5. Mint

When it comes to pairing wine with mint, you want to think about the other elements that are in the mix. If you’re seasoning a heavier dish – lamb, for instance – with mint, you can go with Cabernet Sauvignon. For minty Mediterranean salads, you’d be better off with zippy white wine like Greek Assyrtiko. For a mint-flavored wine cocktail, you’ll want to use Moscato, a sweet wine. Use this herb to make fabulous grilled lamb chops with mint!

Jumble Sale Cab
Bright Cellars' own Jumble Sale Cabernet Sauvignon

Try pairing this recipe with Bright Cellars' own Jumble Sale Cabernet Sauvignon! The flavor notes of red berry and baking spices will go perfectly with the mint!

5. Oregano

Another herb that’s common in Italian cuisine, oregano pairs well with spicy red wines like Cabernet Franc – with notes of red berries and chili pepper – or Carménère, a medium-bodied red with notes of plum, paprika, and vanilla.

Use up this herb by making this pesto recipe! Add this on top of whole wheat noodles or zoodles (zucchini noodles) for a healthy dinner.

6. Parsley

Parsley elevates grilled fish, brightens summer salads, and can sub in for basil in a pesto. It pairs well with Chianti – an Italian red wine with notes of cherry, tomato leaf, and clay – or a white wine like Riesling. With balanced sweetness and acidity, German Riesling can lift up the bright flavors in parsley.

Parsley is a great addition to seafood dishes, make this sautéed shrimp with lemon, garlic, and parsley.

7. Rosemary

Whether you’re roasting chicken, grilling salmon, or assembling a flavorful salad, rosemary flavored dishes pair nicely along with bold red like Shiraz or Zinfandel. Use up your leftover rosemary with this baked salmon in foil with garlic, rosemary, and thyme recipe.

8. Tarragon

The perfect addition to chicken salad, crab cakes, or salad dressing, tarragon pairs well with a rich white wine like Chardonnay – particularly white Burgundy.

These lemon tarragon carb cakes are the perfect recipe for diminishing your extra tarragon.

wine and herb pairings - Chene Cremeaux Bright Cellars' Chêne Crémeaux

Pair this with Bright Cellars own Chêne Crémeux Chardonnay!

9. Thyme

If you’re running out of thyme, just go out and pick some more. (Sorry, we couldn’t resist.) This earthy, lemony herb is used in so many recipes from grilled chicken to garlicky pasta. Pair it with a medium- to full-bodied red wine like a Bordeaux blend with notes of black currant and dried herbs.

Try making this grilled chicken with lemon and thyme!

In Vino Finito

Did your favorite herb not make it onto the list? If you need help finding a wine to go with the herbs in your garden, email us and we can help.
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