soup velouté cream

Veloutés are soups prepared with the addition of cream and egg yolk, and wine pairings are not an easy thing, for two reasons.

The first reason behind the complexity in finding the right wine is due to the texture of the velouté. Of course a velouté is much thicker than a soup or a consommé, however, this is still a pairing with a food where there is no chewiness.

The second raison is the hot/cold faceoff. Veloutés are served piping hot, which is in clear opposition to the serving temperature for the wine, especially if it’s a white wine. In any case, when looking around for the right wine, you must keep in mind the main ingredient principal and the creamy texture that gives rise to fullness on the palate. When serving a soup based on poultry, or beef, turn to wines such as Madeira, Xeres, or Montilla. They can be served at room temperature, and lessen the hot/cold impact on the palate.

Veloutés are outstanding classic dishes in French gastronomy…

With a velouté of mushrooms, choose a fairly full-flavoured white wine whose aromatic palette evolves and includes forest floor that comes across with the mushrooms. I recently tasted a 1996 Puligny-Montrachet by Jean-Marc Boillot; the vintage was beautifully balanced between maturity and acidity. It had precisely that positive aromatic evolution and a lovely autumnal palette of flavours, yet did not tip into tertiary aromas. The gorgeous finish truly pepped up the dish and underscored the creaminess of the velouté.
With a velouté of de potimarron (also known as onion squash, or red kuri squash), served with a crumble of toasted bread and sliced jamon from Jabugo, I recommend the 2009 Pouilly-Fuissé Tris des Hauts des Vignes from the Guffens-Heynen estate. Here, the pairing works with the complementary relationship between the sweet nature of the squash and the lovely maturity of this very solar vintage which pairs beautifully with the utter smoothness of the velouté. Once again, the striking energy on the finish totally wakes up this composition, which is much greater than the sum of its parts.

Let’s not overlook the famous Crème Dubarry, a true classic of French gastronomy that features cauliflower. Served with a lovely quenelle of caviar from Aquitaine, this is unrivalled. The cauliflower of course has strong taste even if its intensity is somewhat lessened by the cream and the vigor of the caviar which contributes saltiness and vivacity to the velouté. To go with this classic, I suggest that you serve the 2016 Pinot Blanc reserve, made by Jean Boxler, from the Brand grand cru. In Alsace, 2016 is a very harmonious year, structured by the granite terroir which is behind its amazingly long finish.

Last but not least, with a cream of asparagus soup, my preference goes to a Sauvignon. The 2017 Sancerre white from the Domaine Gérard Boulay, in Chavignol has a wide mid-palate and a refreshing finish. It is straightforward and totally seductive right now.

Soup’s on!

La Revue du Vin de France – November 2019