Pairing Off: Campbell's Tomato Soup

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Matching wine to tomato soup wouldn't seem all that difficult. Fine dining restaurants routinely piece together bisques and fresh purees, after all--and their sommeliers can generally cope.

But in this column we don't bother to make fresh, upscale, herb infused soups. That would require buying tomatoes, basil...far too much trouble, to start with, and quite expensive, considering how quickly real ingredients begin to rot.

A few decades ago Andy Warhol made his name celebrating on canvas the fact that most Americans succumb to convenience. This column, however, has always contended that wine goes with just about everything--from fast foods like McDonald's to the stuff you find on grocery shelves.

Of course, Campbell's poses at least one key problem when it comes to pairing.

Real, homemade tomato soup is sort of an art form, layering the natural acidity of fruit over herbs and other ingredients. The end result lends itself to several wine options. But with Campbell's, warns the wine guy at Goody Goody in Addison, "you need something to overpower the additives--and still have an answer for the acidity of tomato."

Interesting problem.

The canned soup presents a syrupy, molassas quality--without the bitter backlash and without the bright, tart tomato flavor. There's also a little mineral zing, presumably from aluminum.

So the Goody Goody guy recommends a Pinot Noir from Argentina or Chile. "They don't have the funk that some California Pinots have," he explains.

And thus I ended up with a $10 Santa Helena Pinot Noir from Chile's Central Valley, a wine promising fresh cherries and light pepper with a trace of cured red meat on the nose. When sipped, you find that the juice dominates, leaving a spicy afterburn. Yet it's a smooth wine.

It is also just balanced enough to contend with Campbell's soup, to soothe all that syrupy sweetness. The pairing warms--matures--the juicy, fruit-forward wine, bringing out a meatiness in the soup and layering in some pepper. While it's not remarkable to start (meaning a low priced wine and mass produced soup), the combination works nicely.

It's good enough that I wouldn't search any further.


Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.