food.and.wine.pairing

(pairing wine with vegetables)

Vegetables are generally light in flavor, and a good cook will serve vegetables that go with the main meal. So if your vegetables are a side dish, just worry about the main entree.

If the vegetables are the main dish, there are a few things you'll want to look out for.

• Mushrooms, potatoes and eggplant - These are denser, heavier and earthier vegetables, and they are often used in heartier dishes. The earthy quality of Pinot Noir really goes well with these. A hearty mushroom like the Portobello can take Bordeaux and other Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines as well.

• Green vegetables - You can either accent or contrast the green flavors in these veggies. If you want to accent, go with something like a Sauvignon Blanc (often has flavors of asparagus and lemongrass) or even a Cabernet Franc (quite commonly has notes of green bell pepper). You can steer in a different direction and do alright by choosing something with a fuller body and some cream to it like a Chardonnay or a Viognier.

• Artichokes - These little buggers get their own listing because they are notoriously difficult to pair with wine. This is due to a chemical in the artichoke called "cynarin" that gives a very sweet flavor to the vegetable. This is tough to pair with wine because the sweetness is not brought on by actual sugar, and it makes most wines (even those with sugar) taste bitter and out of balance. Serving the artichoke with spicy aioli or cheese dip can help mask it, but really your best bet is to go with an Austrian white wine called Gruner Veltiner. For some reason it works. And Gruner is delicious anyway!