So often we choose wines according to what meat we’re serving, but this time of year, the real stars of the plate are your market-fresh vegetables at their peak-season best. As you bring home this year’s crop, consider these bottles to go along with the fresh, flavor-charged recipes you’ll be cooking up.
Alexander Valley Vineyards Sin Zin 2009 (Sonoma; $20): The meaty and robust side of eggplant calls for a hearty red, but not an all-out heavy red. This medium-bodied pick brings lush fruit and vibrant spice—along with a bright shimmer, making it a graceful partner with your eggplant.
Santa Cristina Chianti Superiore 2009 (Tuscany; $16): A wee bit of char on your grilled veggies will help them stand up well to the tannins in a red, but don’t go overboard. Aerate this Chianti (that is, simply pour it into a carafe or decanter) before serving, and it will reveal sweet and easygoing tannins, along with ripe red fruits and a nimble, food-friendly acidity that will make your veggies really come alive.
Chateau Ste. Michelle Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (Columbia Valley; $13): The acidity in fresh tomatoes can make some white wines fall flat, and can turn many reds into a pucker-fest. Sauvignon Blanc is the ticket, and this bottle’s fresh, racy appeal will hold up well to that tart side of your tomatoes.
Martin Codax Albariño 2010 (Rias Baixas, Spain; $15): You know the drill: Harvest that basil and freeze batches of pesto for a taste of summer all year long. While you’re at it, lay in a supply of Spanish Albariño to pour alongside. This elegant, aromatic bottle offers a subtle herbal backdrop that will mesh beautifully with the freshness of pesto.
Casa Lapostolle Chardonnay 2010 (Casablanca Valley, Chile; $13): Rich, sweet butternut squash will never taste better than in the coming months. When you feature it on your table, reach for a creamy and round Chardonnay to pour alongside. With its lush pear flavors balanced by clean citrus notes, this bottle fits the bill.
—By Wini Moranville, Relish wine columnist