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!