Vegetarian Wine Pairings

Beer and Wine, Cooking How-To, Drinks, How-To, Wine 101
on June 1, 2008
Wine Pairings

Q. As a vegetarian, I get frustrated with the way wine pairings are almost always based on meat, fish or poultry main dishes. What are your suggestions for matching wines to vegetarian cooking?

A. Fortunately, many of the same concepts apply no matter what sort of food we’re pairing wines with. Just like meat-based meals, vegetable dishes run the gamut from sweet to tart, light to hearty, and mild to spicy, in a panoply of combinations. Finding wines that complement each of those characteristics without overpowering sometimes delicate vegetable flavors, is the key. Here are a few favorite veggie pairings:

  • Green salads—Verdejo, dry sparkling wine
  • Fresh tomato salad—Albariño
  • Grain salads—Chenin blanc, Riesling, Spanish rosé from Navarra
  • Fresh green vegetables—New Zealand Sauvignon blanc, Grüner Veltliner
  • Corn dishes—Chardonnay, white Burgundy
  • Mushroom dishes—Oregon Pinot Noir, red Burgundy
  • Hearty beans and grains—Chinon, good Beaujolais (such as Brouilly or Fleurie)
  • Tomato-based pasta dishes—Italian Dolcetto or Barbera
  • Roasted root vegetables—Pinot Gris, Viognier, Valpolicella
  • Grilled or roasted vegetables such as eggplant and zucchini—Rioja, red Zinfandel, Shiraz

By Charles Smothermon, a wine expert in Laurin, Mont.