Pairing wines with food can be challenging but vegetables can be considerably tricky. The dish itself may not suffer, but if you get the wine wrong, it can destroy the flavor or enhance bitterness. Few tricky vegetables include : Artichokes, Asparagus, Brussel Sprouts.
Artichokes are challenging because they contain a chemical acid called ‘cynarin’, which makes everything taste sweeter — especially the wine.
Asparagus contain light sulphur compounds that can make a wine taste metallic or vegetal.
Brussel Sprouts, like Asparagus contain sulphur compounds, however depending on the cooking technique, they can be highly bitter.
There are other vegetables that do not alter severely the flavor of wine, yet when served raw or in salads appear quite delicate. Green beans, leafy greens, carrots, peas, spinach.
These grapes are my go-to for vegetables and difficult pairings.
The fashionable, versatile, high-quality grape from Austria is not just for wine geeks. This grape has been making wines since the eighteenth century, with SAVAGNIN as one of it's parent grapes. The range of styles can vary from light to full bodied and is generally always dry.
Common descriptors include white pepper, daikon radish, green lentils, haricot verts. I think it pairs nicely with summer salads, carrots, root vegetables in general and bacon.
Try these producers: Salomon-Undhof, Leth
Often forgotten on most restaurant menus, beside the French bistros. Known as Weissburgunder in Germany, Pinot Bianco in Italy and commonly confused with CHARDONNAY throughout parts of eastern France, this is a grape that mutated from Pinot Gris. In general a neutral grape that makes soft, crisp white wines with mild orchard fruits and balanced acids. An everyday drinking white that pairs well with potatoes, cauliflower, turnips, yams and can remain in harmony with salads that have heavy dressings like vinaigrette.
Try these producers: Albert Seltz, Ponzi, Venica
Finally found a reason to drink more dry furmint. This is the principle, fiery, high-acid grape from Tokaji in Hungary. Usually distinguished for it's part in sweet Aszú wine, the dry styles can be very pleasant. Hungarians eat a lot of fresh, raw vegetables. Think paprika. The wines are consumed with many dishes that have spices and heat, where it can remain quite neutral with the spices yet keep the flavor in the vegetables. This is a great wine with banana peppers, eggplants, zucchini, squash and fresh herbs.
Try: Oremus, Royal Tokaji
Melon de Bourgogne
Old Burgundian variety well suited in the western, Atlantic climate and soils of the Loire.
Cultivated as far back as the thirteenth century, the Melon grape has found it’s ideal place under the alias Muscadet, which gets its name from the discreet musk aroma of the wine or from the noix de muscade (nutmeg) that Dutch traders added to the wines,
Not just for oysters anymore, Melon’s attributes in high-acidity and minerality make it ideal with food. Sweet onions, shallots, ramps lose their pungency. Pair with spicy greens like arugula, collard greens, mustard greens. A good Muscadet is particularly nice with Greek salad.
Try Domaine des Quatres Routes, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine
This is a vegetable in a glass. When under-ripe, Sauvignon blanc can be very green with aromas of bell peppers, jalapeño and grass, however that makes it a perfect pairing for an avocado ceviche with cilantro and lime.
Sauvignon blanc is grown all over the world and is shared on the dinner table every day. The food and wine pairings are endless, particularly for vegetables. I find it wonderful with vine ripe tomatoes sprinkled with some good sea salt.
Try some of these producers: Presqu'ile, Le Vigne di Zamó, Fouassier