What's the first thing most people learn about wine pairing? "Red with meat, white with chicken or fish." But what about when the main dish is roasted veggies or a spicy vegetarian stir-fry? We've asked wine pourers and importers, grape growers, and restaurateurs for their wine-pairing recommendations for various types of vegetarian cuisine. Their easy-to-follow advice makes choosing a bottle or two a snap, whether you're serving an Eastern Mediterranean falafel or a spicy Thai curry.
White or Red?
There's no wrong answer. "So many people think you can only drink white wine with tofu or roasted vegetables and red wine with pasta, which is really crazy," says Gary Vaynerchuk, host of Wine Library TV. Sweetness, acidity, and robustness are better indicators than old-school wine-pairing rules when choosing a wine to go with food. Sparkling wine with tofu and bean dishes, a dry or full-bodied white wine with pasta—these are just two pairings Vaynerchuk suggests to show how innovative wine pairing can be. "Don't fear the rosè," adds Jody Brownell, a longtime vegetarian and co-owner of the Wandering Dog Wine Bar in Solvang, Calif. "Great vegetarian food lets the flavor of vegetables come through." Dry rosès made from traditional red wine grapes, such as Pinot Noir and Syrah, are an easy choice because they go well with a variety of vegetarian dishes and don't overpower the fresh flavors.