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All podcast music: “Café connection” by morgantj / CC BY 3.0, ©2009 – Licensed under Creative Commons 
Attribution (3.0) 

May 27, 2019

At the request of UK listener, Peregrine (great idea, thanks!), we discuss vegetarian food pairing, an art that's just as easy or hard as with any dish. The difference is that in the veg world, we pair with sauce and seasoning and the complexities are many --and we dig into many of them! 

Photo: Pexels 


We discuss my three step pairing process and how it applies to vegetarian food (also in the Wine For Normal People Book!):

  1. Pay attention to the weight of the food -- heavy with heavy, light with light.
    • Examples: simple salads with dry whites or rosé, Eggplant or heavy saucy dishes with heavier reds, Cream or cream-based dishes – northern European cuisines – best with cooler climate wines
  2. Figure out what the dominant flavor of the dish is and pair to that. 
    • Examples: Earthy veggies like mushrooms, root veggies – earthy reds like Burgundy, or Barolo, Chianti
    • Mushrooms have umami: Burugndy –white and red are best, but there is nuance
      • Creamy dishes – oaked white burgundy
      • Mushroom risotto: Arneis, Gavi, Soave, Fiano, Etna Bianco
      • Mushrooms with garlic: Pinot noir
      • Portabello mushrooms: same as steak: Zin, Malbec, Bordeaux, Cabernet
      • Asparagus or bell peppers –whites with higher acidity – Grüner, Sauvignon Blanc
      • Tomato-based dishes – reds from Italy
  3. Pay attention to the texture of the food and make sure it goes with the texture of the wine.
    • Structure of the food and the wine matter. Is the food salty? Chewy? Acidic? Pair it with the appropriate wine texture! 

Photo: Unsplash

We discuss MC Ice's favorite rule: What grows together, goes together 


We talk about the best pairings for spice: 

  • Sweeter Riesling or Chenin blanc, or fruity rosés (NEW WORLD) work well
  • Indian curry: A touch of sweetness helps, so does acid
  • Bright Thai curries are better with aromatic whites
    • Fruity rosé, off-dry Riesling or Chenin Blanc, Pinot gris, Viognier
    • Fruity Merlot or Shiraz, Portuguese reds
  • Stir fry with soy: fruity New World Merlot, Pinot, something low in tannin

Photo: Unsplash

We talk TexMex and Mexican: 

  • Black beans/burritos: Albariño, Beaujolais 
  • True Mexican food
    • Crisp whites: Albariño, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, dry Riesling,
    • Riojas, Chianti, Pinot noir can for heavier sauces
    • Soft juicy wines can work with refried and black beans or adobo sauces –Beaujolais or soft Syrah, Garnacha 
    • No tannin, no oak– kills the combo with chiles

Photo: Unsplash

Finally we discuss how salad has become so varied it's hard to make a good match. We leave you with some ideas:

  • Very fruity wines: Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Rosés
  • Grow/goes: Greek salad with Assyrtiko
  • Blue cheese dressing: Fruity, soft red – Zin, Beaujolais
  • Goat cheese salad: Sancerre
  • Caprese: Soave, Fiano, Gavi

Photo: Pexels


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