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Wine Pairing for Vegans

Going vegan is not only healthy for you, it is also good for the planet. There is no reason to think that wine will not go well with vegan dishes. We can go back to the fundamental components of wine to help us with pairings, even when it comes to wholesome plant-based vegan food.

There are five characteristics to analysing wine, from sweetness to acidity, tannin, alcohol level and body. When it comes to pairing, the idea is to seek out wine that contrasts the taste of the food to achieve balance. Alternatively you can choose wine that shares the same flavour profile of the food to highlight a particular taste. For example, you should pair acidic food with highly acidic wine, and sweet food should be paired with sweet wine.

Food rich and high in fat will go well with red wine that is high in tannin or acidic white wine. These wines can cut through the richness of the food and balance out the grease and heavy flavour.

Salty food taste better with fruity wine and spicy food can be paired with sweet wine or low alcohol wine to tame the burning sensation that comes from chilli and spices.

For bitter or tart food, like kale, radishes or Brussels sprouts, sweet wine would pair very well too. Avoid wine high in tannin because that will bring out more bitterness in the food.

Generally speaking, the wine you choose for a particular dish ought to be sweeter or more acidic than the food to bring out the taste. Rosé is easy to drink and versatile when it comes to pairing with different types of dishes, so if you are starting out in your vegan lifestyle and are unsure of the wine pairing, you will not go wrong with rosé.

A dish filled with green vegetables or fresh herbs is light, so pair that with light white wine or sparkling wine. For the more complicated vegetables like asparagus or artichokes, go with an herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc or crisp Grüner Veltliner.

Meaty mushroom dishes, legumes, nightshades and root vegetables are not as light as greens, so you can pair them with full-bodied white such as Viognier or Chardonnay, or even a medium to full-bodied red wine, like Grenache, Pinot Noir or Sangiovese.

Nuts are high in fat, so you can pair dishes like cashew nut butter pasta or pistachio almond crusted tofu with acidic and aromatic white wines, or even sparkling wines like Champagne. For spicy and peppery dishes, the classic pairing with a sweet Riesling or Gewürztraminer is guaranteed to be delicious.