Vegetables are wily things. Their flavor profiles differ wildly when served raw, roasted or cooked by open flame. To better navigate their shape-shifting and sometimes-challenging flavors, we asked Patrick Cournot and Alexis Percival, beverage directors at New York City’s Ruffian Wine Bar & Chef’s Table, about how to make veggie pairings work.
Asparagus & Artichoke
Consider This… Cournot and Percival explain that they group these two because both have cynarin, a chemical that makes wine taste sweeter.
Try It With…Dry white wines with stone-fruit undertones from Alsace and Austria.
But Stay Away From…Red wines, full-bodied oaked whites or dry, tannic orange wines.
Consider This…Since sweet potatoes are naturally, well, sweet, and often prepared with baking spices, the somms look for wine with ample spice to match, plus enough acidity to refresh the palate.
Try It With…Round, juicy Chardonnay from the Jura or white wine from Rioja. If the sweet potatoes are spicy, go for a dry, funky sparkling wine like a pétillant naturel (pét-nat, for short).
But Stay Away From…Very dry or light wines, which would likely taste thin and bland.
Consider This…This peppery green makes a more complex salad than gentler lettuces, prompting pairings with enough zing to stand up to the greens, but not overpower them.
Try It With…Light, sharp wines from Sancerre, Vouvray or Muscadet when combined with Pecorino and lemon. If the cheese is aged, go with an extra brut or zero dosage Champagne.
But Stay Away From…Anything red, which will make arugula taste bitter, though a rosé with fruity intensity and structure can work. Try Abbatucci from Corsica or Stilianou from Greece.
Consider This…Eggplant acts as a sponge for its seasoning. Cournot and Percival say to take spices into consideration and pair boldly.
Try It With…Mediterranean white wines, like Ribola from Greece, with bold, nutty fig or plum notes, Sicilian whites and, if you can find it, Pošip from Croatia. Southern Italian reds also always work.
But Stay Away From…The duo says that there aren’t any no-nos with eggplant itself, as long as you are mindful of the dish as a whole.
Consider This…The pair advise refreshing, acidic wines with raw carrots in salads or slaws. When roasted or braised, they can take on meaty characteristics and should be paired accordingly.
Try It With…Full-bodied bottlings of Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier are obvious choices with roasted carrots for their orange-like acidity. Sancerre, Vouvray and Austrian Grüner Veltliner provide a savory edge to raw carrots.
But Stay Away From…Very dry wines; the sweetness in carrots might cause the wines to taste flat and dull.