Wine and food pairing is one of life’s great pleasures. Maybe life’s greatest pleasure. But too often wine-pairing guides and the conventional wisdom simply give you the best meat, fish, or cheese to pair with your bottle. Vegetarian or vegan treats get left out in the cold.
There’s no reason that wine can’t pair beautifully with vegetables, salads, tofu, or anything else that you might enjoy if you choose not to eat animal products. Here are a few tips for getting it right.
Its still science
While certain wine pairing guides might go into scientific detail on matching the perfect wine with the perfect meat or cheese, you don’t always see the same level of thought into pairing them with your veggies. Just remember, the same rules apply. You should still be thinking in terms of body, acidity, fat, and sweetness, and you should still be trying to either find wines that possess the same characteristics as your dish, or that provide a pleasant contrast (e.g. balancing fat with acidity).
You don’t have to choose something light
Usually big, bold red wines will come with a suggestion for pairing with beef, lamb, or some other rich red meat – but that’s not all they’re good for. Just break down the flavors a little. The tannins in bold red wines make them bitter, which you can balance with umami and protein like mushrooms, beans, soy sauce, and tofu or tempe. On the other hand, you can complement the sour notes of some red wines by making your dish more sour, using the right amount of ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar in your seasonings.
Look at your seasonings
It can sometimes be hard to pair specific vegetables or vegan ingredients that with particular wines, but there is an easy way around this – pair the wine with your herbs and spices, or your dressing and seasoning. Red wines will get better with tomato-based sauces as well as salsas and barbecues. Softer white wines, meanwhile, will pair better with sauces that based on citrus, butter or cream as well as peanut or light curry sauces.
Sweeter wines for spicier dishes
If you’re whipping up something with a little heat, there a few go-to wines to reach for whether your dish includes meat or not. These tender to be sweeter white wines, whose sugar helps to cut through the spiciness. German Riesling is the most often suggested, a versatile white wine that can go great with some of India and China’s spicier greatest hits. The right Pinot Grigio can
Match weight with weight
Another essential wine pairing tip that applies just as well to vegetarian and vegan dishes is this – match the weight of your wine to the weight of your dish. A heavy wine, whether red or white, will match better with a richer dish. Likewise, light wines of either color will prove a better match for lighter, milder dishes. The key is not to overpower either side of the equation.
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