As with most basic dishes, the seasonings essentially dictate the pairing. Here are five approaches.
Basic chicken soup.
You can pair most medium-bodied whites (like Oregon Pinot Blanc or unoaked Chardonnay from California) or light-bodied, low-tannin reds (like Beaujolais or Pinot Noir) with chicken soup. The saltier the broth, the better high-acid wines tend to taste.
Herby chicken soup.
Herbs’ green flavors are best with whites that have some green character themselves, like Sauvignon Blanc from France’s Loire Valley or inexpensive Grüner Veltliner from Austria.
Spicy Asian-style chicken soup.
With chile-laden soups, you can break out wines with some sweetness, like off-dry Riesling from Germany. Even if you think you don’t like this kind of wine, try this pairing; with the spicy heat, you won’t taste the wine’s sweetness.
Tomato-flavored Mexican-style soup.
With lots of lime juice, tomatoes and spicy heat from chiles, this soup is tricky to pair. Try a high-acid rosé, like one from Provence, or (when in doubt) beer.
With a tangy lemon-and-egg Greek-style soup, choose an equal lemony wine, like Spanish Albarino or even Assyrtiko from Greece’s Santorini.
Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, a line of all-natural lip balms made in Brooklyn.