Wine pairing in an increasingly meat-free world
With more people choosing a meat-free diet, the art of wine matching needs some adjustments.
Red wine has nearly always been paired with meat – from beef and lamb to pork and chicken. Steak has always been the bedfellow of Cabernet. However, times are changing.
According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, livestock is responsible for roughly 14.5 percent of all global emissions, and as a result, people are increasingly choosing to go vegan.
So, for cows, it’s good news, but where does this leave red wine?
There may be some genuine tasty matches that don’t diminish your favourite red or make you long for flesh.
We’ll start off with what doesn’t work. Salads and green vegetables are an almost automatic write-off for reds as they pair best with the white wines of the world, but other categories – mushrooms, for instance – look more promising.
Lighter reds like Beaujolais call for the common chestnut mushroom, but for richer reds like Chianti, Barbaresco, and Sangiovese, it’s got to be the porcini. It would be a challenge for anyone to suggest that thick indulgent mushroom risottos and woodfired pizzas bedecked with earthy fungi aren’t a satisfying accompaniment to a good Chianti.
For tomato-based dishes, the options get even more exciting with pastas drenched in intense sun-baked tomato or passata sauces offering the ideal veggie partner for your favourite Barberaor Barolo.
Like the ever-versatile tomato, root vegetables and squashes also offer a cornucopia of rich, hearty dishes that will do just fine with any Mediterranean red.
Sweet potatoes and spicy vegetarian chili stews are perfect companions for Australian Grenache or fruity Merlots from the New World, and anything involving eggplant is going to be just great with Sangiovese.
More tannic wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz offer more of a challenge. But again, it’s worth looking to the “meatier” dishes like vegetarian lasagne, bolognaise or stroganoff.
From consumers to producers, the world is slowly turning its back on red meat and, as roasted miso eggplant proves, all is not lost for red wine and its pairings.
Keep an open mind and try pairing your top-drawer Cabernet with a lovingly home-made veggie lasagne – you never know, you might just like it.
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Source: Wine Searcher