|Photo by Tod Dimmick|
Vegetable dishes also have their own unique textures (think salad versus roast carrots) and a huge range of richness (cucumbers versus eggplant Parmagiana). A delicate, light salad brings to mind a delicate, light wine, whereas a rich baked vegetable dish might easily match with a flavorful red. And when sauces or dressings become the dominant ingredient, those flavors become the ones to match. The basic notion is, "match like with like".
A few tips:
Acidic or tart vegetables (like artichokes and bitter greens): A light, similarly acidic wine will taste friendly, fuller, and even sweeter alongside. Try a Sauvignon Blanc, a Pinot Grigio, or a Vinho Verde.
Sulfuric vegetables (onions and garlic): Raw they are tough on wines, but cooked they mellow and sweeten, and in many dishes pair beautifully with dry whites and rosé.
Fresh tomatoes: These are both sweet and tart – try a wine with balancing sweetness, like a Riesling or Gewurztraminer.
Tomato sauces: Now we’re talking rich flavors with umame. A mellow, dry red, like a good Merlot, Sangiovese (Chianti) or aged Bordeaux could be a great partner.
Grilled vegetables: I have found that these flavors go really well with wines that have spent time in oak, which has its own toasty, smoky flavor. Everything from Chardonnay to Cabernet could work – now there’s a wide range!
Hot peppers and spicy dishes: Sweetness, and cool temperature, can be the perfect foil for spicy dishes. This is another place for a good Riesling or Gewurztraminer.
Salty veggies: Him, like my favorite steak fries made from local potatoes. A dry, clean white like a Sauvignon Blanc, or a light fruity red like a Beaujolais. Avoid reds with over 14% alcohol, because salty foods make hot wines unpleasant.
Cheater’s Tip: Serve a bubbly with your veggies! Italian Prosecco, Spanish Cava, and of course French Champagne can be found everywhere, and at every price. They are refreshing and pair well with everything from a light salad to a rich veggie casserole. It’s a bonus that those bubbles make the whole meal feel like a celebration. Bubbly goes with everything. Well, almost everything.
Find more on food and wine pairing here.