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Wine for Herbivores
Vegetarian Food and Wine Pairing
When pairing wine with vegetarian dishes, the same basic concepts apply as when pairing it with meat. The weight of both the wine and the food are of paramount importance.
Wine for Herbivores A healthy green salad with toast and goat cheese, paired with wine.
A light summer salad needs a light, refreshing wine. A savory root-vegetable stew requires a wine with enough body to stand up to the richness of the gravy. Not only do the main ingredients contribute to the overall weight of a dish, but sauces must be considered as well. Steamed broccoli by itself wouldn’t be considered a heavy dish, but add a rich cheese sauce and it’s transformed.

Think about what function the wine will serve. Is an acidic or tannic wine needed, to cut through fatty richness, or is a sumptuous wine necessary to amplify the opulence of the meal? Should the wine’s flavor compare or contrast with the food?

An earthy Pinot Noir is the perfect complement to a mushroom risotto, while a slightly sweet Riesling makes for a refreshing pause from a spicy curry.

The herbal, grassy essence of a Sauvignon Blanc just naturally goes with leafy greens, raw tomatoes, Brussels sprouts and pesto. A buttery, oaky Chardonnay matches wonderfully with corn, butternut squash and polenta. Red beans, lentils, eggplant and black truffles cry out for red wines such as Zinfandel or Syrah. Perhaps the most classic pairing of all is a tomato-based sauce with Italian reds like Chianti, Barbera and Sangiovese.