For your entire life, you’ve been told to eat your vegetables. You dodged them like green-tinted bullets as a child by pretending to politely cough bites into your napkin but, as an adult, green isn’t as mean as you remembered. You’ve even expanded your epicurean repertoire to include root vegetables and other things that innately taste like dirt. Butter ‘em up, dredge them in cheese, flash-fry coated in tempura or take in all their nutritional goodness raw, vegetables are part of a balanced diet and actually do taste good, especially when the right wine is paired with them. Here’s 5 wine And vegetable pairings done right.
Carrots with Albariño
This Spanish white wine variety is no stranger to working with vegetables (think tomato-and-veggie-pureed gazpacho). The warming and nutty profile is also lush with tropical fruit flavors and juicy acid. Zanahorias aliñadas (marinated carrots) is a popular vegetable side dish in Spanish cuisine, cold-poached in olive oil to fatten up the root vegetable with a little herbal unctuousness. The amiable matchup goes together like wine and carrots: give it a go with the jasmine-accented single varietal from Adegas Valmiñor in Spain’s Rias Biaxas or Idilico’s almond-and stone fruit-flavored version from Washington State’s Yakima Valley.
Asparagus with Grüner Veltliner
This herbaceous, perennial plant produces an unfortunate amount of organic compounds that contain sulfur and high doses of chlorophyll-based green flavors, both off-putting presences when next to or in wine. Do not fear, dear wine drinker, the vegetal vegetable’s citrus-herbal quality can appeal to a higher acid, zippy white wine like Grüner Veltliner. Try a classic Austrian rendition like E&M Berger’s zesty pop-top bottle or let the New World take a stab with a dry and crisp bottle of Dr. Konstantin Frank in New York’s Finger Lakes.
Spinach with Gamay Noir
Whaaaaaat, a leafy green with a red wine? Take it easy: the earthy, mild flavors of spinach make a cordial companion for Gamay Noir, a lighter bodied, slightly earth and fruit-forward red more often found in France’s Beaujolais and Loire Valley. Now is the time of year to strike, as this style of wine is readily available at retailers and typically discounted from last month’s Beaujolais Nouveau Day (Nov. 16). Chomp down on these greens next to a glass of the rhubarb-fruited Pentâge Winery Gamay from British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley or go classic with the approachable and earthy Louis Jadot’s Beaujolais-Villages from the namesake region.
Green Beans with Sauvignon Blanc
Two words: lemon and butter. The light and bright string bean lends itself nicely to complementing zesty, tangy citrus and the fat of butter. With likeminded flavors to the citrus and crispness of the vegetable, Sauvignon Blanc can contrast the richness of buttered beans while mirroring the acid of the green itself and lemon. Pick a lush, juicy Sauvignon Blanc from California, North America’s leading producer of the green-skinned grape, like Cliff Lede’s from Napa Valley or one from the Loire Valley, like Henri Bourgeois’ mineral-heavy Sancerre.
Beets with Pinot Noir
Although the red root vegetable that exudes tastes of earth and sweet, tangy red fruits can play for both teams (it also pairs well with aromatic Riesling), Pinot Noir is its kith and kin. The typical minerality and red berry fruit flavors, not to mention dazzling acid and low tannins, of the varietal match similar tendencies of the vegetable that some say tastes like dirt. Lucky for beets, the profile of Pinot Noir is all about the soil it comes from too. Stay ‘Murican with a soil-driven Oregon Pinot from Sokol Blosser or go kiwi with the vibrant and tea-leaved Wild South Pinot from Marlborough, New Zealand.