Like wine, a great cup of tea is wonderfully complex in aromas, textures, and flavors. Here are some tips on how to enjoy wine with teas and scones for the ultimate grownup high tea from Erika’s Tea Room in Clermont, Florida, which is nationally acclaimed for their delicious teas and scones.
White Wines & Tea Infusions
Savor a great quality Sencha Green Tea or a First Flush Darjeeling Tea with a white wine, like a Riesling. Green, fresh Clare Wine Co Riesling is a great choice. These teas pair perfectly with wine because the two have similar flavor characteristics. If you like fresh white wines like a Vinho Verde—we love Alianca Vinho Verde—you can try a citrus fruit-flavored tea to enhance the citrus undertones of the wines. Darjeeling Tea comes from the Darjeeling region of India and when properly brewed, it yields a thin-bodied and lightly colored infusion with a floral aroma that will make a perfect complement to white wine. Sencha leans towards a more earthy, grassy flavor while First Flush Darjeeling is more floral and complex with a mouth-watering effect. Earthiness is a common trait in green teas as well as some oolongs.
Early harvested Spring Teas like Sencha and First Flush Darjeeling Teas have a wonderfully brisk spirit that blends well with the bright acidity of fresh white wines. If you like rich white wines like Chardonnay and Viognier, think Extraction Chardonnay and Valley of the Moon Pinot Gris Viognier, try pairing them with a creamy soft buttery apple-like Bai Mudan or a Chamomile Tea. Try White wine lovers will appreciate the floral aromatics of Ali Shan. Chamomile shares the qualities of both.
Red Wines & Tea Infusions
Oolong Tea is great with a soft red wine. If you like smooth, elegant Pinot Noir, like Les Vignerons de Mancey Les Classiques Bourgogne Pinon Noir, try sipping a glass alongside Jasmine Pearls, Oolong or Earl Grey Tea. Pinot Noir has a bit of a complex flavor profile and it relates well to many different teas. Jasmine Pearls is very smooth, just like the fine Pinot Noir wines, while Oolong Tea has a nutty, toasty and fruity profile that Pinot Noir fans often enjoy. Black Tea like Earl Grey is always great with full-bodied red wines, especially those with caramel flavors. Chai Spiced Tea goes wonderfully with full body red wines to help pull out its spicy and rich flavors.
Creative Wine & Tea Options
If you like rich, spicy Syrah, Malbec (try Bodega Benegas, Benegas-Lynch Malbec) or Zinfandel wines, try them with zesty flavored Masala Chai, Assam or Breakfast Tea Blends. Assam and Breakfast Tea Blends are medium to full-bodied with flavors of dark berries, like Malbec and Zinfandel. Masala Chai Tea is the perfect match for these types of wines since it is spicy and rich, with an indulgent edge. Pu’erh Tea blends well with Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir as they are both high-tannin drinks. Honeybush or Rooibos Herbal Teas pair well with Zinfandel and Merlot wines. If you like bold, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot , like Château La Rose D’Esteuil, Haut-Médoc, try serving them with rich Yunnan, Pu’erh or Rooibos Teas. Breakfast teas are known for their earthy, chocolatey and woody depth of flavor.
The only thing better than a great cup of wine with a perfectly brewed steaming tea is the addition of flaky, buttery scones. Try a variety of wine-infused scones to turn your tasting into a substantial snack (you can even call it a meal!). Our new Cabernet Sauvignon with Currants Scone complements the sweet tartness of the currants in red wines. If you like a bold Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, they go very well with Rooibos Tea and scones. They are all high in tannins, so they are good for you and your heart. We used delicious full and soft currants in this scone recipe, and they are cousins to wine-making grapes.
Our special Strawberry Champagne Scones are extraordinary with any Champagne, tea and strawberry combination. We love Champagne Christian Busin, Champagne Brut Millésimé Grand Cru (2008). This scone or our White Champagne Apple Scone are also great with white wines, Chardonnay and White Teas, since many are all buttery and apple-like. Merlot goes beautifully with Dark Chocolate Scones.
Mix your wines, teas and scones by tasting and playing with flavor combinations. There’s more than one way to enjoy. Bring out your cheeses, nuts, meats and sweets for a festive celebration and an elegant high tea. Feeling stuck? Call for a complimentary consultation from our Tea Concierge. We will be happy to create a special customized Tea & Wine Scone Party Box that we can ship directly to you.
Erika Shanoff is a nationally respected tea expert and the owner of Erika’s Tea Room in Clermont, Florida.