How to pair wine with vegetables?

Pairing vegetables with wine

© Shutterstock

Pairing vegetables with wine

Pairing vegetables with wine

© Shutterstock

When pairing wine, the type of vegetable is key: green, leafy, root, marrow or sprouting? How is it cooked, has it still got some bite or is it the base for a soup? In general, leafy green vegetables work well with white wines high in pyrazine flavours while root and marrow vegetables go well with dry, savoury styles of white wines. 

Green, leavy or sprouting vegetables with wine? 

Kale, broccoli, asparagus, or green peas are best paired with white wines high in pyrazine aromas, i.e. a certain grassiness or leafiness, like Sauvignon Blanc. Other whites with slight vegetal characters can do wonders, too. A good example would be youthful Grüner Veltliner which often has a green bean, asparagus and herbal quality to it, but Silvaner, Verdejo are great, too. You definitely want wines with a citrussy backbone and a lively acidity. 

Root vegetables and wine? 

Root vegetables like carrot, parsnip, turnip, celeriac and beetroot often have a sweetish earthiness to them. This calls for rounded, smooth white wines like oaked Chardonnay and other oaked whites. Other textured white wine blends also work well, as do richer styles of Pinot Gris/Grigio. Beetroot is a great pairing with mature Pinot Noir. 

Marrow vegetables and wine? 

Pumpkins are versatile so as a soup, they pair with dry, characterful wines. A good example would be Chenin Blanc from Savennières, Loire, France. The natural sweetness of the pumpkin flesh works well with the delicate bitterness of the wine. If you are a fan of pumpkin lasagne, try it with Cabernet Franc from Chinon, Loire, France. 

Zucchini/courgette is best enjoyed with dry, aromatic white wines like Muscat or Muskateller, or a Greek Moschofilero. Depending on the recipe, baked courgette can work extremely well with a light Italian red wine like a Valpolicella. 

Mushrooms and wine? 

Delicate, subtle dishes of mushrooms like white champignons or chanterelle in a creamy sauce, or fried in butter, are a treat with mature sparkling wines made in the traditional method. Rounded, oaked whites like Chardonnay or Viognier work, too. Darker mushrooms and other wild mushrooms echo the earthiness and forest-floor aromas of evolving Pinot Noir and Syrah. Other red wines with a savoury edge, like Chianti, can work really well, too. 

Our six golden rules for wine and food pairing can also help you on a more general level.