Jambalaya is one of the staples of cajun cuisine and is served all over the New Orleans area as well as all around the Gulf Coast. Jambalaya can be made in a variety of different styles, and aspiring wine with jambalaya can be easy by following a few guidelines!
There are different styles of red wine that pair perfectly with the spices of this cajun dish, as well as white wine and sparkling jambalaya wine pairings.
The Top 4 Choices – What Wine Goes With Jambalaya
1. Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is one of the most popular wine grapes in the entire world, and its low tannin and high acid make it a perfect pairing for certain styles of Jambalaya.
Pinot Noir is light enough in body and low enough in tannin to not overpower the layers of flavor in the dish.
Wines with high acidity profiles are best for pairing with creole styles of jambalaya, as the creole version of the dish included tomatoes which are very high in acid.
Light-bodied red wines without a sufficient amount of acid will be overpowered by the tomatoes in creole jambalaya.
Cajun-style jambalaya does not contain tomatoes, and cherries have a significantly different flavor profile. Cajun jambalaya tends to be heavier in sausage and protein in general, making it a better fit for heavier-bodied reds.
Pinot Noir is a great fit for seafood and chicken jambalayas as well, as its light body and concentrated flavors of red fruit make for perfect pairings with these lighter proteins.
There is also a significant amount of spice involved in most jambalaya recipes, and wines with a higher alcohol content can inflame these spices and overpower the palate.
Pinot Noir is the perfect balance of full flavor and lowers alcohol for this dish.
Zinfandel is another fantastic red wine to reach for when it comes to jambalaya wine pairings. The low tannin content as well as the full fruit flavors of Zinfandel help it to balance out particularly heavy renditions of jambalaya, as the fruit works to soften heavy proteins.
The acidic tomatoes contained in creole-style jambalaya are balanced out by these rich and fruity flavors, and the sweetness of the wine helps keep spices in check.
This is a perfect wine to pair with all styles of jambalaya, as it is extremely versatile when it comes to pairing.
The low tannin content of Zinfandel allows for a full body without the astringent and drying qualities of a Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah.
It also works particularly well with large flavors and will not disappear on the palate amongst full flavored proteins.
The low to medium acidic content of Zinfandel makes it very versatile, and there are not many styles of jambalaya that aren’t suitable for this style of wine.
Some of the best bottles come from the state of California, as well as in Italy where it is called Primitovo.
Rioja is a Spanish red wine that is world renowned for its aggressive tannins and body, as well as its superior ageing.
It is one of the most versatile pairing wines for red meats, and older bottles of Rioja can make for some of the best jambalaya pairings possible.
Jambalaya dishes that are heavy in red meat like sausage and beef are the best candidates for pairing with a bottle of Rioja, as the tannins are strong enough to stand up to even the heaviest of meats and fats.
Creole-style jambalaya is not a good fit for pairing with Rioja, as the tomatoes contained in the recipe will not interact well with the wine’s aggressive tannins and heavy body. Instead, Rioja is best served with heavy red meats, especially those with some smoky flavors.
Smoked meats in a jambalaya are a fantastic fit for pairing with Rioja Reserva. To be considered a Reserva, the wine must be aged for at least five years.
This aging process allows the tannins to soften and develop with time as the oak barrels interact with the red wine.
4. Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc is one of the best white wines when it comes to pairing with cajun food, and its racy acidity and bright finish make it a perfect candidate for a jambalaya pairing.
Different styles of Sauvignon Blanc work best with different types of jambalaya due to acidity and sweetness.
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc carries a distinct aroma of grapefruit or white peach, making it a great option for pairing with seafood and chicken versions of jambalaya.
The full and bright flavors of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc work to lift up the delicate flavors of the proteins.
Many light-bodied white wines are easily overpowered by the strong flavors and spices contained in jambalaya.
Sauvignon Blanc offers enough taste and character to hold its own on the palate amongst the heavy cajun flavors of jambalaya.
Sauvignon Blanc also contains enough acid to stand up to creole versions of the dish that contain tomatoes. Less acidic white wines like Chardonnay will be overpowered by this acidity, and make for a clunky food and wine pairing.