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Matching wine with vegetarian food

How to match wine without meat or fish? 

If you are a vegetarian and you like wine you probably will have noticed how a lot of wine pairing descriptions rely on a 'major component' that is usually meat or fish. This isn't really surprising given that most of the population structure their meals around such a 'major component', but how do you match wines with vegetarian food? I should say, I'm not a vegetarian. I do however, regularly eat meals without meat or fish. It's true to say for these meals I sometimes have to work a little harder to find the perfect match, but like all pairings there are a few easy ground rules to get you started.

vegetarian food and wine macon fuisseGo with the primary

The primary taste in the dish is the easiest part to match with.  Got delicate, light, milky, mozzarella? Go with a light, crisp white like the Pinot Grigio Trefili, Cantina San Marziano, Veneto, 2011. Got smokey griddled vegetables? Go with an oaked chardonnay like the Domaine Sophie Cinier Macon Fuisse 2011. Primary flavour, primary match. Its hard to go wrong here.

Balance your flavours

Vegetarian food and wine family cecchin Sweet potato or butternut squash risotto or pasta dishes are excellent matches with a heavier red wine like our Cabernet Sauvignon, Bodega Cecchin, Mendoza, Argentina, 2007where the sweet flavours in the food balance out the tannin in the wine and allow the fruit elements to come to the fore. If you rice or pasta is served with spinach then you want to go for something lighter, easier to drink and altogether more effervescent to cut through the iron the vegetable and the creaminess of the sauce. Our Benedicte Jonchere, Grand Reserve with its lovely apple flavour is perfect here.

Not all cheese is the same

vegetarian food and wine savennieres les vieux

Cheese, now there is a whole series of food matching blogs (to come in the future no doubt). Very simply though, soft-cheese and goats cheese is usually a crisp white, hard full flavour cheese is a medium bodied red like a merlot and blue cheese is best with dessert wine. However, each cheese has its own best match and some defy the categorisation above. Despite being a soft cheese, a really good brie should be very mushroomy, so will match well with a richer white wine like a chenin blanc. The Savennieres Les Vieux Clos 2010, would be great here. If you are feeling really adventurous, you can match primary with primary here and go for the farmyard characteristics of a good quality Burgundian pinot noir like the Domaine Parigot Pommard 'Clos de le Chaniere' 1er Cru 2009. Hopefully those have given you some ideas for matching wine with vegetarian food, if you have any further matches or recipe ideas then leave them below in the comments. Rebecca, The Perfect Cellar Team

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