Eggs sometimes get a bad rap in the wine-pairing world. Like artichokes and asparagus, so-called “common wisdom” says that eggs are difficult to pair with wine, due to the palate-coating effect of the yolk.
While low-acid wines can be insipid in the presence of rich yolk, there are as many wine options for eggs as there are ways to prepare the versatile ingredient. It’s important to note that when eggs share space with more intense ingredients like ham, bacon, sausage or corned-beef hash, pair the wine with the dominant element, not the egg.
But for these six dishes where the egg stakes its claim as the head of the breakfast table, we’ve got you covered.
Eggs with potatoes and toast
This is egg-and-wine pairing in its purest form. The aim is to balance the egg’s delicate flavor with the creamy yolk that coats the plate like a slow lava flow.
A traditional-method sparkling wine is great here, since it not only cuts through the egg, but pairs beautifully with fried potatoes and toast. Alternately, look for a dry, high-acid white that combines vivid fruit with herbal character (think of an herb omelette with jam-streaked toast).
Sauvignon Blanc is recommended frequently alongside eggs, but for a change of pace, try the Sicilian grape Grillo. It shares qualities with Sauvignon Blanc—citrus, herb and tropical fruit flavors—but is less “green,” and often has a subtle, briny sensation that accentuates the flavors on your plate.
Don’t like runny yolk? Grillo will work, no matter how you take your eggs.
In this brunch classic, poached eggs are blanketed with an egg yolk and butter emulsion that’s balanced with a dash of lemon. It asks for a fuller wine than most egg dishes—white Burgundy is a common pairing with hollandaise—though all that richness and salt warrants something refreshing. Traditional eggs Benedict is served on a bed of Canadian bacon, but today they’re as likely to include smoked salmon, crab or veggies. A youthful rosé with tons of juicy fruit can bridge them all. Rosé from Provence is crisp, pale and elegant, with a savory edge that makes it a natural with food.
Eggs and cream blend with smoky bacon lardons in this elegant breakfast classic. Though quiche Lorraine doesn’t traditionally contain cheese, many iterations now include it.
The wine-pairing refrain, “what grows together, goes together” works well here. This dish originated in northeastern France. Alsace and Lorraine were neighboring administrative regions, now lumped under the moniker “Grand Est.” So an Alsatian Riesling pairs perfectly.
Generally speaking, Alsatian Riesling is fuller than Riesling from Germany, with a bracing acidity that cuts through richness of the quiche. But opulence can be found in the wine as well, one that merges seamlessly with quiche’s creamy, subtly nutty, and sometimes cheesy glory.
The best French toast is both rich and eggy, while remaining light and fluffy. Instead of sticky-sweet bread pudding, it should be a savory dish with just a slick of sweetness from maple syrup or fruit.
As a rule, with sweet dishes, pair a wine that’s sweeter than the dish. A subtly sweet dish can make a dry wine taste unbalanced.
Here you want a wine that balances a little residual sugar with bright acidity. A German Riesling or spritzy Moscato d’Asti would be nice, but another top pick is Chenin Blanc. The versatile grape is made into a myriad of dry styles, but also forms the base of many delicious, food-friendly sweet wines.
Chenin is widely planted in South Africa, where it’s sometimes called Steen, and comes in a variety of styles that would pair well with French Toast. Alternately, demi-sec or moelleux Vouvray is semisweet Chenin in one of its most regal forms. It has a honeyed character that’s also perfect with any sausage or bacon alongside.
Moons Over My Hammy
This Denny’s icon is essentially a grilled cheese with scrambled eggs and ham. Or an egg sandwich with ham and cheese. Or a ham and cheese sandwich with scrambled eggs. Regardless, the combo of eggs, ham, and melted cheese on toast is irresistible, even with a bottomless cup of Denny’s coffee.
Even better? Lambrusco, whose light sparkle and big berry fruit pairs well with each of this sandwich’s individual components. Of the many Lambrusco styles, dry Lambrusco di Sorbara is especially bright and crisp, redolent of red berries and flowers. Pair it with any and all egg sandwiches.
Eggs should be the star of huevos rancheros, but spicy tomato salsa often pushes to the front. That’s not to mention the beans, potatoes, chorizo, sour cream and other ingredients that can land on the plate.
A fresh red can stand up to all these powerful flavors, but stay away from coarse tannins that can accentuate spiciness. One option is to go full Mexican with a juicy Grenache from Valle De Guadalupe, Mexico’s premier wine region.
However, an even better pairing is Gamay, a high-acid, low-tannin red wine ideal for spicy food. An easygoing cru Beaujolais like Brouilly, Chiroubles or Saint Amour will be delicious. But a handful of domestic producers, especially in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, are working wonders with Gamay as well, making bright, berried, guzzleable wine.