Eat Your Vegetables… and Drink Your Wine

    Pairing wine with vegetables, in general, can be a somewhat challenging task. But if we had to choose just one veggie to single out as the No. 1 Enemy of the wine world, it would be asparagus.

     That’s sad, because so many people love it for so many good reasons – it’s low in calories, very low in sodium and contains no cholesterol. It’s also packed with a bunch of health-beneficial vitamins.

     Whether it’s topped with hollandaise sauce or Parmesan cheese, or served plain alongside a nice cut of steak, asparagus adds a lot of flavor to a meal.

     But it’s that assertive flavor that can make selecting a complementary wine a real challenge. In a vast majority of cases, asparagus will make the wine taste vegetal. And if you want “vegetal” in your glass, you could have had a V8.

     That said, there is a way that you can make asparagus and wine more compatible. We’ll share that with you in a moment, so keep reading…

     Another challenging veggie is the artichoke, which has a flavor that can make wine taste sweet. You can serve it with a sauce and then match the wine to the sauce, but if you serve it plain, only a bone-dry wine will work. Perhaps the best pairing partner is Brut Champagne.

     Then there’s the tomato (which, we know, technically is a fruit). The challenge it presents is its ultra-high acidity, and that calls for a similarly acidic wine, regardless of color. Try a Rose crafted from one or more of the grape varieties of Chateauneuf-du-Pape – particularly Grenache and Syrah.

     Which brings us back to the problem child known as asparagus. To make it more wine-friendly, try grilling it, which sweetens the flavor a bit. Then serve it with a wine that is high in acid and also has bright fruit flavors. A good bet: Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Another pairing partner that works better than most: Pinot Noir.

     Hey, you’ve got to eat your veggies, but it need not be at the expense of a good glass of wine.

Posted in Food and Wine Pairings/Recipes
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