There is a common misconception that certain wines can completely overpower your vegetarian meal. Needless to say these are the same sort of thought processes that originate from the same doctrine of thinking that says a meal can’t be a meal if there isn’t any meat involved. Thankfully that mentality is shifting as even the biggest meat-lovers are learning that they can still have a very fulfilling meal that lacks a meat variety.
Cabernet to Your Advantage
Pairing of wines with vegetarian dishes is actually just the same as with any other dish. If you are looking for a wine that is going to clear the palate then you want to go with something that has a high acidity to help cut out any richness that may be lingering from heavily savoury dishes.
Plates that are heavy in tomato reductions utilising balsamic vinegar or other vinegars are naturally going to be on the high end in terms of the acidity level. For these dishes that have a strong sauce component you could utilise the acidity level of a Cabernet Sauvignon to your advantage.
If you are eating vegetarian meals because you are trying to avoid eating foods which contain animal proteins you want to be sure to do a little extra research on the vegetarian wines that are available. This is why knowing a little about wines in general can really help you to match a wine to you chosen foods.
Reds Can Pair With Fresh Salads
There is an overwhelming consensus that white wines pair well with any sort of dish or salad that is heavily comprised of fresh produce. While you could go with a red wine, some suggest the flavour may be too overbearing and squander the subtle flavours of fresh vegetables. For that reason a Sauvignon Blanc is an easy to drink wine that has a pleasing character. The fruity crisp flavours won’t overpower your dish.
You want to be aware of the acid content that is in your dish and pair accordingly. If it is an overwhelmingly acidic dish you may want to pull out the Grand Bateau Rouge. Although it is a red wine, the rich, deep flavour of spices and oak can match a powerful salad dressing. This sort of wine, with its ripened tannins would pair well with any dish that has been built around savoury flavours such as rosemary, thyme or tarragon.
When the vegetarian dish that you are preparing is more of a cooked entree such as grilled portabella mushrooms or even a hearty bean soup, then you should be wise to serve it with a fine glass of red wine. If you have a favourite wine, like Sauvé de Citerne, than by all means go ahead and break out this Syrah and Grenache blend. The full-bodied flavour compliments a hearty meal.
If you are concerned about a wine being too overpowering for a vegetarian dish than it is time to re-examine the cuisine. Vegetarian fare has come a long way from the bland palate it once was. Now there are fully-rounded exquisite flavours that are being brought to the table without the use of any meat-based ingredients.
Wines which are composed of a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon have a complex and yet straightforward composition that can provide a versatile pairing when you are uncertain about finding the perfect wine for a vegetarian dish. A wine like Chateau Subilaux contains mostly Merlot, but then is finished off with a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon as well as Cabernet Franc. A wine like this is going to have a wonderful fruity overtone that really lets you know that you are having a glass of wine with your meal.
By allowing the wine a place among your table you are naturally bringing an entirely new aspect to your dining experience. There is no reason whatsoever why wine should be avoided simply because there is no meat on the table. As a general guide if you are eating something crisp, such as fresh greens that are seasoned with something such as dill, go with a nice crisp white wine. If the dish is hearty and heavier, go with something more rich robust red wine.
Carlo Pandian is an Italian expat living in London interested in wine and gardening. He loves to share his wine tips with the community of LLm and is looking to hear more about your favourite ways to pair up food with wine!