Saturday, August 11, 2007

Wine & Vegetables Can Make A Great Combination

I am at the local farmers market. It is early Saturday morning. I have not had breakfast yet. I am starving. So what do I do? I go from vendor to vendor and everything is looking so wonderful that I start filling up my market bag with fresh tomatoes, patty pan squash, corn on the cob, zucchini, eggplant, onions, green beans, herbs such as basil, dill and cilantro. I keep moving on to the fresh eggs, rosemary bread and goat cheese. Now the bag is so full I make a trip to the car and start over again this time heading for fruit. After purchasing a nice parcel from each vendor and having wonderful conversations with the farmers, I decide to head home.

Now my kitchen counters are loaded to the brim with all of the above goodies and I think – now what am I going to do with all of these lovely veggies. So the brain goes into high gear creative mode and dinners start swimming around in my head. Ok, have some great ideas for dinner, but one of the most important facts leap to my thoughts – what WINE am I going to serve with these veggies?

Pairing wine with veggies is not rocket science. Just think about the flavors in the vegetables and herbs and then think about the flavors in the wine.
Let’s start with my all time favorite, tomatoes. Since they have a high acid content, I think the crisp acidity in a Sauvignon Blanc would be a match.
The sweetness of corn or sugar snap peas would pair with the dry fruit of a Chenin Blanc.
The earthiness of a fresh mushroom from the forest floor would be lovely with a Pinot Noir.
How about a dry, snappy white like a Sancerre or bright Sauvignon Blanc with those fresh snappy green beans, asparagus and bell peppers.
Since fall is around the corner, soon those big orange pumpkins and sweet potatoes will be hopping onto the dinner table. Sweet root veggies shine with the fruitiness of a Riesling from Washington State or hey, how about a German Riesling Spatleses with those carrots.

Another thing to think about is how you are preparing those veggies. Since we are still in the sweltering summer months, grilling out is the method most used at my house. Zucchini, eggplant and summer squash are sorta bland on their own, but popping those guys on the gas or charcoal grill lends a savory flavor that can be enhanced by a Merlot, Syrah or even a Zinfandel. How about a sauce that you may prepare with those pronounced herbs such as basil, chives, cilantro or dill. I think a sassy Sauvignon Blanc would pair well. And if you are one of those folks who love to slather butter on all of your grilled or sautéed veggies, you know a stand up wine like a Chardonnay would be the call.
In case you fix your veggies with a theme such as spicy Mexican or the flavorful Asian cuisines, a super fruity wine such as a Riesling or Torrontes from Argentina would be fun.
For dessert, bring out that chilled watermelon! And along with it let’s have a full bodied white wine that has lots of intense floral aromas and flavors to them. Good choices would be Gewurztraminer, Marsanne or a lovely Viognier.
If you must have a red wine for those summer sippers, I would go with a light tannic, fruity wine. Ones that come to mind are Beaujolais, Barbera, or Valpolicella.

Now it is time to fire up the grill and chill those superb summer wines that will go with the beautiful bounty of vegetables from those hard working farmers at the market! Hey, do not forget your local winery’s as well. I am sure if you pay a visit they will be more than happy to help you match your veggies with their selection of wines. Enjoy!



Valli said...

So much to think about when you're pairing wines! I'm glad I have the experts like you and the ladies at my favourite wine store to do the leg work for me!!!

winedeb said...

Thanks Valli! I tell you I even spend time chatting at the wine shops and I value their advice. They have not steered me wrong yet!

Wendy said...

Beautiful pictures, Deb! And a great post. Will be bookmarking this.

Great Big Veg Challenge said...

Thoroughly enjoy reading y0ur blog - do keep posting. Its lovely to hear about people and their food in sunnier climes than london!

winedeb said...

Thanks Wendy! It is a handy little guide especially when a dinner party pops into your life and you need a wine to match!

Hey Charlotte! Thank you for stopping by and I am thrilled to hear you enjoy my blog. I just wish we could bottle up our sunshine and send it wherever to make someones day. But it is nice to be in the blog world where you can get sunshine every day!

Lucy said...

Deb, this is INVALUABLE information for someone like me who pairs her veggie meals (and let's face it, that's kinda all I cook) with either pinot noir or pinot gris. Not a lot of imagination going on here...

Brilliant work! Your bounty looks fabulously fresh.

winedeb said...

Hey Lucy! There are so many wonderful wines on the market now that pair so great with veggies and fruit. In your area of the world you cannot beat the Sauvignon Blancs. In fact, the ones from New Zealand are on the top of my list! So much flavor going on! Cloudy Bay is my all time favorite, but has gotten a bit pricy for everyday consumption. But look out special occasions!

Shayne said...

mmmmmmmmmmmmm looks so yummy

winedeb said...

Hi Shayne - These veggies are awesome! So fresh and crip!

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