The new rules on wine pairings for refined vegetarian dishes

A Pinot Noir with some roast pork, a Riesling for the fish: Hobby chefs can’t go wrong with classic rules for matching wine and meat dishes. But formal rules for matching with vegetarian dishes are hard to come by. – dpa

Vegetarian food is becoming ever more refined, which begs the real question: How does one properly pair wine with the right dish?

There’s no blanket answer, as it depends on what ingredients and spices are used, as well as whether the vegetables are cooked, steamed or grilled. This question specifically has been a huge topic at wine conventions recently, with experts helpfully weighing in.

“The heavier wines only rarely go with vegetarian dishes,” explains Ernst Buescher, a spokesman for the German Wine Insitute. “A wine with lots of tannins will often fully overpower the food,” he says.

For the roasted flavours of grilled vegetables, or perhaps a kohlrabi schnitzel or courgette-carrot patty, the wine can be a bit stronger. “In that case, I could see a nice pinot grigio, which also could have been stored in a Barrique barrel,” Buescher tells dpa.

For a red alternative, he recommends a pinot noir. The general rule: The more strongly the food has been roasted, the stronger the wine can be.

For a vegetarian lasagne with red lentils, pureed tomatoes, Italian herbs and garlic, it’s a whole other matter. “Because of the acidity of the tomatoes, you shouldn’t bring additional acidity to the table; they compound upon one another,” he warns. Buescher recommends a Dornfelder, a wine with fruity, velvety notes, as a smart companion.

A rose pinot noir is good with spicy courgette noodles or a curry dish with coconut milk. “The spiciness would, on one hand, be pleasantly softened by the sweetness of the wine,” he says, adding however, that “on the other hand, the sweetness of the food and of the wine should always be about on the same level”. Photo: dpa