• Maureen Little

View from The Wine Shed - August 2020

I’m writing this post with a heavy heart. This is the last View from The Wine Shed. For various reasons the sun is setting on The Wine Shed and it is closing at the end of August. The good news is that you can still order their superb wines on-line – click here to go to their website.

So I thought I would end my series of ‘wine’ blogs with a special look at pairing wines with vegetables – yes, vegetables! Why? I hear you ask. Well, there’s much received wisdom and information out there about what wine to serve with fish, say, or chicken, but not that much about what goes well with veggies. And as many of my readers grow veggies, and no doubt enjoy a glass of wine now and again, I thought, why not give a few ideas about what to drink with your home-made tomato sauce that tops off the pasta, for example.

The Wine Shed has some wonderful examples of the wines that I am going to recommend, so why not pay them a visit – either at their shop, before it closes at the end of the month, or online. Click here to go to their website.

So let’s start with tomatoes and a tasty tomato salad. Raw tomatoes are apparently difficult to pair up with a wine, but there are a couple of that will happily match the acidity and straight-from-the-vine sweetness. First whites – how about a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with its grassy and herby notes, or perhaps an Italian Verdicchio to match the acidity. You could also try a dry rosé – perhaps one from Provence.

Cooked tomatoes, in a sauce say, can cope with reds. Choose an Italian red – Primitivo from way down south, say, or a Chianti. After all, Italy is home to just about all things tomato-y (think pasta sauce or pizza topping) so see what Italians drink and you can’t go far wrong.

What about legumes, like green beans or mangetout? Fresh from the garden, and lightly cooked or even raw, you need something equally fresh and zippy to go with them. How about a Portuguese Vinho Verde with just a hint of spritz? This would go well with a fresh pea and mint soup that’s been lightly chilled too.

A veg that always seems to be a bit-player, supporting the main ingredients in a lot of dishes is the humble onion. Why not give it centre-stage in an onion tart? Alsace in France is renowned for its onion tart, and what better to drink with it than a Pinot Gris from the same region.

One of my all-time favourite summer herbs is basil and you really can’t beat home-made pesto simply folded into linguine or spaghetti. There’s more going on than just the herb, though, there’s pine nuts, pecorino cheese, and oil, so you need a wine that will balance the flavours without overpowering them. How about a Chenin Blanc or unoaked Chardonnay? Either would work well.

So there we have just a few examples of wine to pair with veggies. Don’t be constrained by what I – or many others – suggest you should drink with what, though. Ultimately, my advice is to drink what you like because we all have different preferences – the important thing is to enjoy both the food you eat and the wine you drink. Bon Appetit and Santé!