Tzatziki sauce is a fresh and tangy yogurt-based sauce containing dill, cucumber, mint and garlic. You’ll see it used as a condiment on several Greek dishes, like Gyros or a Lamb pita, as well as many vegan dishes like Fried Zucchini, Crudités, as a Salad Dressing, or as a dipping sauce for torn up Pita bread.
For vegan options, Rosé or dry white wines like Txakolina Rosado, Trebbiano, Sauvignon Blanc, Assyrtiko, Carignan Rosé or Retsina work best as they counter the sharp bite of garlic found in Tzatziki sauce. For meatier dishes using Tzatziki sauce, red wines like Pinot Noir, Grenache, GSM, and Cabernet Franc work surprisingly well.
Txakolina Rosado & Tzatziki Sauce Pairing
Not only is Txakolina fun to say with Tzatziki, it makes for a delicious pairing.
Txakolina Rosado is a Spanish Rosé made from the Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza grapes. Tangy, and a little bit frizzy, Txakolina Rosado complements the Yogurt tang in Tzatziki. Meanwhile, the dryness of Txakolina Rosado counters the garlic’s pungency. Finally, the chilled frizziness keeps your mouth alert and sharp in between bites and sips of food and wine.
Retsina & Tzatziki Sauce Pairing
Retsina is a Greek white wine featuring aromas of lime peel and flavours of apple, peach and roses. On the finish, you get a bit of pine, lime and saline. Similar to Txakolina Rosado, the dryness of Retsina softens the garlic bite, while the pine and lime notes sharpen the flavours of whatever the Tzatziki sauce is accompanying.
With Retsina, the pine like resin notes might hit your taste buds a little hard at first. However, the addition of all the cucumber, dill and mint flavours of Tzatziki, mutes this flavour, and it makes for an interesting experience.
Retsina isn’t readily available everywhere, so it might be an experience that will have to wait for a visit to Greece, and enjoyed with authentic Greek cuisine.
Assyrtiko & Tzatziki Sauce Pairing
Here we go with the Greek wines again, but since Tzatziki is featured so prominently in Greek cuisine, we thought we’d mention this iconic Greek grape. Assyrtiko, when made into a dry white wine, has a sinking yellow-gold sunset hue with mineral, pear, apple and citrus blossom flavors.
High in acidity, Assyrtiko is guaranteed to go with any veggie or shellfish dishes you pair up with it. What Assyrtiko loves is a tomato/feta salad, thus, adding a bit of Tzatziki to the mix, will get the party started. Again, with Assyrtiko, the reason why it goes so well with Tzatziki is that it softens the garlic flavours with the wine’s acidic dryness.
Trebbiano & Tzatziki Sauce Pairing
Trebbiano is a fruity and crisp white wine that brings out the cucumber and dill flavours found in the Tzatziki sauce. Normally, the Trebbiano grape, is used to make Balsamic vinegar, or brandy, but in Italy it is beloved as a dry white wine featuring peach, apple, basil and lemon flavours.
Sauvignon Blanc & Tzatziki Sauce Pairing
All of the above wines might be a little tricky to get, or the selection available to you might not be top-notch. However, with Sauvignon Blanc, you should have plenty of options available.
I’m a lover of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc myself, but the herbaceous notes of a Sauv Blanc from any region will be fantastic with the dill and cucumber flavours found in Tzatziki. The dryness of the Sauvignon Blanc also hinders those sharp garlic flavours.
Sauvignon Blanc is incredibly food-friendly, so if you are dipping veggies into Tzatziki, or serving it up on some deep-fried eggplant, you will find this pairing incredibly fun.
Cabernet Franc & Tzatziki Sauce Pairing
A red wine might seem odd pairing for for Tzatziki sauce, but Cabernet Franc has a lovely violet undertone that offsets the sharp garlic flavours. While I wouldn’t recommend Cabernet Franc with lighter vegan dishes, it’s perfectly fine with heartier or grilled vegan options (particularly ones that have green bell pepper) that contain Tzatziki sauce.
Pinot Noir & Lamb with Tzatziki Sauce
Lamb served with Tzatziki Sauce is commonly served in Greece and Spain (such as a lamb-kebab), and Pinot Noir is a wonderful dance partner for this dish. The wild strawberry and cranberry notes of Pinot Noir lift up the Lamb flavours while muting out the gaminess. Meanwhile, the earthier notes of Pinot Noir fit right in with the garlic, dill and cucumber flavours of the Tzatziki. Perfect for a late afternoon pairing with lamb souvlaki while enjoying the gentle afternoon sun.