Whether you’re vegetarian or vegan, you know delicious dishes don’t need meat—or even animal products—to please the palate. Fresh, high-quality ingredients and a touch of creativity are all it takes to create a fine plant-based dish.
What drink to serve with that dish, however, can present a trickier choice. A wine that may perfectly complement eggplant Parmigiana, for example, may be a poor companion for a sweet dessert like coconut cake. Indeed, a poor pairing can detract significantly from even the finest dining experience, leaving an unfortunate aftertaste in your and your guests’ mouths.
In this post, we provide a simple, straightforward overview of tried and true wine pairings for vegetarian and vegan food. We’ll also cover how to identify whether a wine is vegan or vegetarian friendly, and we’ll share some tips for pairing wines and foods not found on our quick reference list.
A Quick Guide to Wine Pairings for Vegetarians and Vegans
Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular red and white wine varietals and the ingredients and dishes that the resulting wines typically pair with best.
Tip: For blended wines, check to see which grape varietal makes up the greatest percentage of the blend, and use that as a guide.
Dishes marked with an asterisk are vegetarian-friendly but not vegan friendly. All other foods are (or can be made) suitable for both.
Example Fine Wine Pairings for Vegetarian and Vegan-Friendly Dishes
Need a little more inspiration to get started? Below are a few specific wine and food pairing examples that vegetarians and vegans alike are sure to enjoy.
|If you’re drinking…||Try pairing it with…|
|2013 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Les Preuses Grand Cru||Crispy Squash Blossoms with herbed cashew cheese|
|2015 Château L’Évangile||Portobello Mushroom Cassoulet|
|1996 Château Léoville-Las Cases||Grilled tofu steak marinated in miso with edamame puree and roasted baby carrots|
|2016 Domaine Faiveley Chambertin-Clos De Bèze Grand Cru||Wild Mushroom Risotto|
|2015 Aubert Chardonnay Lauren Vineyard||Vichyssoise garnished with caramelized leeks and saffron oil with a local crusty baguette|
All of the dishes listed above can be made to suit both vegan and vegetarian diets. (Traditional cheeses, for example, can easily be substituted with vegan cheese alternatives.)
Ensuring a Perfect Food and Wine Pairing, Every Time
Whether you’ve exhausted our list already or simply have a food or wine in mind that is not included in it, the final thing you’ll want to know is how to make a perfect match.
Finding wine pairings for vegetarian and vegan food is both an art and a science. It will take some experimentation to find the foods and wines that appeal most to your unique tastes, and it will take a little creativity to try and predict how well complementary or contrasting flavors will play together.
Instead of guessing in the dark, try keeping a record of your tasting notes, both for individual wines and specific food and wine pairings. This will help you make better predictions, as well as provide a quick reference guide to your own favorite flavor combinations to which you can refer when you need a tried and true option. You can also compare your notes to that of professional connoisseurs to get a feel for whose tastes match your own and then use their notes as a guideline for further expanding your horizons as a wine enthusiast.
One final thing to keep in mind—when in doubt, try pairing local with local. For example, if your wine comes from Italy, tomato bruschetta or pasta with bechamel sauce might offer a good dinner option. Or, if you plan to cook an American dish, a Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay from California may be your best bet.
And as always, to ensure the best possible experience for you and your guests, make sure to preserve the quality of your wine to the best of your abilities. Consider ordering wine directly from producers when possible, and always choose professional storage options if your wine needs a little more time to age before you pop the cork.
Whether you are starting your high-end wine collection or adding to an established portfolio, Vinfolio is your partner in buying, selling, and professional storage. Contact us today to get access to the world’s finest wine.