Tag Archives: wine pairings

Wine with Your Veggies?

Wine Pairings for Vegetable Focused Menus

The restaurant trend reports are tumbling in with predictions for what will be “in” on menus in 2016. Topping the charts are vegetable focused meals. The National Restaurant Association puts “locally sourced produce” in their top ten. And food industry trend specialist Andrew Freeman says, “People want less animal protein and are requesting that veggies are ramped up to their fullest creative potential.”


That taste trend has already emerged on Atlanta menus as vegetable side dishes multiply and vegetarian entrees get more chef love. Along side the meat centric South African inspired cuisine at newly opened Cape Dutch, chef Philippe Haddad offers a vegetable curry with South African spices and butternut squash ravioli with a peri-peri sauce.



Even if you begin your meal at Cape Dutch with a bite of Biltong, traditional South African beef jerky, registered dietitian Sharon Palmer author of Plant-Powered for Life says you can practice ‘flexitarian’ eating by ordering the vegetarian entrée.

“It is hopeful to see the trends going on where meat is now at the side of the plate and veggies are front and center,” says Palmer. “Chefs are in love with farmers’ markets and post the farms where their produce hails from all the time. This has made an impact on consumers. Look at what’s going on with Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. They’re cool!”


Wine Pairing with Produce

A sea change from menus focused on meats and fish first to vegetables on center stage means morphing wine list suggestions too. At the Century House Tavern in Woodstock, known for locally sourced produce, general manager Jon Hayano suggests pairing the Butternut Squash Soup and Spaghetti Squash salad first course selections with brut Champagne.


“We often think of animal products such as cheese, red meat, and fish when it comes to wine pairing, but with plant foods you can also make beautiful pairings,” says Palmer. “Try pairing the seasonings and sauces with wine. A citrus sauce or Asian flavoring goes nicely with white wines; tomato and chili sauces pair well with red wines.”

Wine director and co-owner of Flyte World Dining & Wine Bar in Nashville Scott Sears, who is a vegetarian, says, “In general, when pairing wine with vegetable-based meals, you want a low-alcohol, low-tannin, not-overly-oaked, balanced wine.”

More Sip Tips from Sears:

-“Make note of the spice level. To balance the spice, select wines with a touch of sweetness to them, such as Riesling or Rose.”

-“Avoid highly tannic reds made from grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon to avoid the dry, course mouth feel tannin causes when it can’t bond with fat. Tannins can overly-emphasize any earthy favors present in the vegetable dish.”

-“The wine should add dimension to the dish without adding any elements that clash with the texture. Sparkling wine is a great option for just about any vegetable dish, as are bright, light, crisp whites.”








Share this on: facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Wines for Spring’s Lighter Fare

It’s a spring fling
Let’s toast to toastier weather hopefully arriving soon.
Spring has sprung and with it the annual transition to lighten up our fashions and our foods. 
Coats give way to capris and hot soups are replaced with refreshing salads. 
As chefs welcome warmer weather with new crops of fresh ingredients their menus begin to morph with brighter notes and lighter fare. Wines change with the seasonal menu shift too. 

“More white wines and roses are emerge in the spring while chunky reds are not as much in full force,” says Michael Bryan, of Vino Venue and the Atlanta Wine School. Offering over two hundred classes a year on food and wine, Bryan’s team of wine and culinary experts present guidelines for pairing, “The goal is to find the right balance like able dance partners.”  
Michael Bryan of Vino Venue and Atlanta Wine School
Spring’s fresher flavors call for wines with fresh flavors. For instance, Bryan says a halibut dish presented with a mango, lime, jalapeno chutney would partner well with a New Zealand sauvignon blanc because the wine has melon and fresh tropical notes.
Pairing wines with vegetables

Springtime in Shafer Vineyards in Napa
Most of the time wines are chosen based on the protein portion of a dish. But, Annette Shafer of Shafer Vineyards in Napa Valley offers advice for vegetable focused menus. Shafer, who is the wife of winemaker Doug Shafer, is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a wellness coach in Napa.

Visit Shafer Vineyards when you’re in Napa 
Annette Shafer says, Certain vegetables and herbs virtually always complement wines such as shallots, leeks, corn, peas, fava beans, and mushrooms. Among herbs and seasonings, good choices are thyme, sesame oil, and a hint of lightly cooked garlic.”

Shafer notes that how vegetables are cooked can change things a bit too.  “Roasting vegetables in a hint
of olive oil adds a rich quality that makes wine a good partner.” One of her favorites is butternut squash
roasted until just tender. “Finish it all off with a bit of shaved Asiago or manchego and you can enjoy
any wine in the gamut from a lively Chardonnay to a rich, bold Cabernet,” she suggests.

Grilled vegetables crave bolder bottles
Grilling vegetables creates a savory quality with toasty caramelized flavors that can match deliciously with wines such as Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel and even a less tannic Cabernet.  Bryan says the char created when grilling foods asks you to bring up the intensity of a wine, “You need a bigger dance partner.”

Shafer is known for their big reds but they make beautiful wines for lighter fare too.
Annette Shafer is ready for spring!

Annette Shafer’s wine and vegetable matches
   The earthiness of mushrooms with an earthy Pinot Noir or a fruit-forward Merlot

   The high acidity of tomatoes with the crisp acidity of a Pinot Gris or Sangiovese — even a fruit-forward Syrah

   The sweetness of corn or sugar snap peas with the off-dry fruit of a Chenin Blanc, 
            or a well-balanced Chardonnay

Cheers to Spring!

Share this on: facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest