The right glass of wine can be a finishing touch that takes any meal from average to exquisite. Most food and wine pairings tend to focus on meat, especially when it comes to reds, but veggie food also has depth, flavour and subtle complexities that can be enhanced in the same way as meat dishes by a sip of the perfect wine.


ROSÉ

Rosé is dry and acidic and is a very versatile wine you can pair with many dishes. It’s great with:

• Grilled or steamed vegetables such as cauliflower, green beans, baby potatoes
• Hard boiled eggs
• artichokes
• Herb omelets
• Ratatouille
• Mediterranean flavours
• Asian fusion
• Indian curries
• Thai food
• Sushi
• Middle eastern food


SAUVIGNON BLANC

This herbaceous wine pairs well with:

• Green veggies such as green beans and baby marrows
• Vegetables drizzled with vinegar or lemon
• Dishes seasoned with Italian or Provencal herbs such as oregano, thyme, rosemary, and sage
• Dishes drizzled with extra virgin olive oil
• Green salads
• Raw tomatoes
• Balances out creamy dishes such as pasta and its crisp acidity contrasts well with cheeses such as ricotta, feta and mozzarella and pestos
• Goes wonderfully with avocados
• Veggie burgers


PINOT NOIR

Lighter bodied red wines tend to do better with veggie dishes and pinot noir goes well with:

• Root veggies
• Bean based dishes
• Vegetable based salads
• Mushrooms
• Tomatoes
• Peppers
• Dishes with caramelised onions
• Vegetarian dishes with fragrant herbs such as rosemary, tarragon or thyme


MERLOT

Merlot is a classic basic wine that pairs well with many foods, but careful of foods with overpowering flavours such as blue cheese as merlot is not a very complex wine.

• Vegetarian pasta and pizza
• All Italian cuisine and herbs
• Roasted veggies such as squash, peppers and mushrooms
• Caramalised veggies with a touch of sweetness such as red peppers, squash and beets
• Dishes seasoned with Five spice and hot smoked flavours
• Cherries and dark chocolate

 


SHIRAZ

A full bodied wine that pairs well with:

• Stronger flavours such as blue cheese and parmesan
• Red beans, lentils
• Black truffles
• Beetroot and stewed tomatoes
• Eggplant
• Olives
• Braaied grilled or roasted vegetables with bold sauces
• Cauliflower steaks
• Heavy tomato sauces
• Good for seasoning bean dishes dishes and mushroom risottos
• Can go well with Indian influenced dishes


CHARDONNAY

A light, crisp unwooded chardonnay is easier to pair with veggies and is one of the more versatile wines for food pairing.

• Fresh salads
• Steamed vegetables
• Oak matured chardonnay adds extra smokiness to grilled or braaied vegetables such as mielies smothered in butter
• Chardonnay that has matured a few years becomes more creamy and buttery and is great with buttered roast potatoes or baby potatoes as well as nuts or seeds such as almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, or pinenuts
• Pasta dishes with rich sauce
• Apples, mangoes and pears
• Strong cheese such as gorgonzola and is a classic with goats cheese
• Avocados
• almonds
• Butternut, squash
• Polenta


 CABERNET SAUVIGNON

A full bodied red that may overwhelm less hearty veggie dishes.

• Good for meatier textured veggie dishes such as mushrooms
• Vegetarian casseroles
• Stands up well to strong flavours such as blue cheese
• Chocolate and cabernet are a classic combination
• Roasted veggie tarts
• Chocolate and Cabernet are a classic combination

 


Some tips for pairing wine with food:

• Instead of focusing on proteins as your inspiration, focus on the dominant flavours
• Fatty foods go well with wines with softer tannins
• Earthy foods like earthy wines
• For dessert, wine should be sweeter than the dessert or the wine will taste sour
• Match weight with weight, intensity with intensity, and aromatics with aromatics to fill out the perfect balance of flavour between wine and food
• Spicy ingredients, including curry, kimchee, and peppers prefer low-alcohol, sweeter wines
• Pair acidic foods (such as tomatoes, citrus, and eggplant) with high-acid wines
• Starchy foods such as potatoes, pasta, and bread should be paired with wine based on the sauce or condiment
• Complement or contrast the flavours and textures
• Consider how the dish is cooked: steamed or poached, which creates less intense flavor, or using a method like grilling, braising or charring that ups the intensity of the flavour. Sautéing and frying come somewhere in the middle.


Guidelines for Dessert:

A good rule of thumb is that as the dessert’s colour darkens, so does the wine. Serious Eats talks about three main categories to puddings: custard and vanilla, fruit and spice, then Caramels and chocolates.

Custard and vanilla: light, mild and buttery and pair well with white wines such as Riesling and sparkling wines like semi-dry champagne

Fruit and spice: have flvaours of apples, pears and cinnamon and pair well with white wines and pink champagne

Caramels and chocolate: dark, buttery, caramelized and rich flavours are better with red wines

• Good general choices for desserts in general are port and sparkling wine.


Most importantly – find what works for you, it’s an adventure of tastes, aromas, textures and subtleties that speak a different language to each person’s tastebuds!

(sources: palmspringslife, , chicagotribune, theguardian, vinoforveggies, uncoveringfood, salon, seriouseats, ohmyveggies)