Which wines work well with veggie dishes?

While most wine pairing articles stick to the tried and true ‘red with meat, white with fish and chicken’ advice, what about veggie meals? With more people turning towards vegetarian dishes for elaborate mains, how to pair the best wine with your veggies is just as important as matching a red with your barbecue.

Should you choose red or white?

Again, unlike when pairing wines with meat dishes, there is no ‘wrong’ answer. While some people swear you should only have white with tofu and red with pasta, there really is no reason to restrict yourself.

Go with the robustness, acidity and sweetness in the wine, rather than worrying about archaic pairing rules. Maybe try a sparkling white with your tofu, or a full-bodied, heady white with your favourite pasta dish. Wine pairings can be as innovative as you like.

Don’t avoid rosè

You may instinctively shelve the rosè when looking for the perfect wine, but dry roses made from traditional red grapes like Syrah and Pinot Noir go brilliantly with all kinds of vegetarian dishes, and don’t overpower the freshness of the flavour.

Good vegetarian dishes are all about the ingredients and allow the natural flavours to come through. A good wine will help and complement the flavours and elevate the dish into something really special.

Think local

This is good advice even if you’re buying globally. Think about the kinds of foods you’re eating and remember that across Europe all wines and food grow together regionally. So, search for wines from similar regions as the food you’re cooking.

For example, a rich ragout laced with Mediterranean herbs will naturally pair beautifully with a hearty bottle from southern France, Italy or Spain. A cheese-based dish would be best served with a delicate wine from a colder growing region, including Bordeaux and Burgundy.

Having said that, don’t completely ignore Australian, South African, Argentinian or Californian wine just because you’re eating Italian or French food. Wines from similar climates as your ingredients can also work well.

Match like with like

If you’re having a three-course fancy dinner party, then go all out with the wine. But if it’s a humble evening pasta dish, then you don’t need to fork out for a vintage wine. For celebration meals, go for a finer vintage, as they stand up much better to complex flavours in food.

Also match delicate to delicate, and robust to robust. If you serve a subtly flavoured wine with a complex spicy dish, then it’s going to taste like nothing. Bold food needs a bold wine, which is why Zinfandels work so well with Mexican dishes, for examples.

There is no heritage for wines that go with Thai and Indian food, but it does go very well if you choose wisely. The ripeness and residual sugars in a sweet white wine will temper any heat and draw out other flavours in spicier dishes. For example, a German Riesling brings out the sweetness from vegetables used in Asian and Indian dishes.

Trust yourself

Don’t overthink your choice and remember that wine is very versatile. Your own built-in palate preference is just as important as expert advice, because taste is subjective with wine as it is with everything else.

Can You Pair Wine with Sushi?

When you think of sushi, you may not always think of wine as the natural pairing. Yet, it can work amazingly well – if you know what you’re doing. It is a tricky match to get right, as sushi, like all Asian food, is more challenging to pair with wine – essentially a European invention – because Japanese cuisine has evolved alongside grain-based drinks like beer and sake, not wine. But this doesn’t mean that sushi and wine can’t exist well together. Ideal Wine Company loves this combination and we have everything you need to know to make this pairing perfect. Let’s have a look at how we match wine and sushi…

Ideal Wine Company sushi and wine
Let’s have a look at how we match wine and sushi…

What qualities should you look out for?

Sushi works well with certain varieties of wine – so you need to be looking out for these. Essentially, the standard rule is that the wine can’t be too dry, as it will clash with the fish. Similarly, the wine can’t be too sweet – think of the wine that is usually paired with Chinese or Thai food – as this swamps the fine delicacy of the fish.

When pairing wine and sushi, you should be striving for a good balance between sweet and dry. A fine balance, integrity, good fruit and crisp acidities are all desirable qualities to look for in your wine. As a general rule, Rieslings of Germany and Alsace, and their New World counterparts make splendid companions for sushi.

Our favourite pairings

  • Salmon roll – dry rosé

A salmon roll usually consists of cucumber, avocado and salmon rolled in rice and coated in seaweed. With these flavour combinations, you can expect fresh and light flavours. This means that it works well with a dry rosé.  The salmon makes the tart cherry and citrus in the wine pop and its minerality turn to sweet brininess.

  • Spicy tuna roll – Riesling

A spicy tuna roll can pack a punch! Filled with spice, this tuna and rice roll offers plenty of flavour and heat, meaning your wine needs to be able to handle this. Our top pick for this is a very barely off-dry Riesling. As you need a big-bodied white for the meaty fish, this wine can handle everything. Riesling is mouth-filling, with sweet stone fruit to stand up to the spice and a mineral edge that loves the brininess of nori.

  • Prawn nigiri – Pinot Gris

A prawn nigiri is a simple offering. It is essentially a prawn placed over pressed vinegared rice. When thinking of a pairing for this dish, you’ll need to make the prawn your focus. We suggest choosing a Pinot Gris. The apple and aromatic stone fruit in the wine are perfect links to sweet prawns, with a hit of citrus serving as a spritz of lemon. It’s a perfect match!

While it may not be the obvious option, pairing your sushi with wine can prove to be very delicious! While it may be a slightly harder match, the results can pay off big time. Why not try wine with your next sushi meal?

Livening Up Brunch with The Perfect Bottle of Wine

Brunch has something for everyone. This mid-morning meal is now growing in popularity as an indulgent treat – and we’re here for it! From sweet to savoury dishes, it’s a perfect meal. While many of us opt for a classic buck’s fizz, there are so many more wine options available to you. When you’re planning your next brunch, make sure that you’ve got the perfect bottle of wine as an accompaniment. Let’s look at some of Ideal Wine Company’s favourite pairings for brunch…

Ideal Wine Company Brunch
Brunch has something for everyone, here are our favourite wine pairings for brunch…

Avocado on toast – Sauvignon Blanc

This simple brunch dish has taken off in recent years. Now one of the most popular offerings on any menu, avocado on toast is a must-have for any brunch. No matter what your bread, from simple wheat bread to sourdough, the topping of smashed avocado makes the perfect savoury treat. To match this, look for a Sauvignon Blanc as a great starting point. It is the perfect wine for the avocado ensemble as it plays up the green theme and adds well-needed acidity – like a squeeze of lemon.

Blueberry pancakes – Moscato d’Asti

If you’re in the mood for a sweat treat this brunch, look no further than blueberry pancakes. These fluffy offerings are light and full of sweet blueberry flavours. Although delicious, they can mean that you’re facing a lot of dough. To combat this, your wine should be light and sweet to match the dish. A Moscato d’Asti is a vibrant wine, with flavours of nectarine, honey and peach acting as the perfect complement to this berry-heavy dish.

Eggs Benedict – Prosecco

Eggs Benedict is a brunch classic. It’s a perfectly toasted English muffin halves topped with crispy bacon, a perfectly poached egg, and a generous pour of creamy hollandaise sauce – a delicious addition to any brunch. With the creamy flavours and variety of flavours on offer, you may think it’s a hard dish to pair, but it all comes down to knowing what you’re looking for. Importantly, you should be adding sweetness to your dish – but not too much. The perfect choice would be an Extra Dry Prosecco. Bringing just a hint of sweetness, the fruit flavours in this crisp wine bring an ideal balance to the dish. With its acidity, you’ll even find your palate cleansed between bites.

Yogurt and Fruit – Gewürztraminer

It’s a breakfast and brunch dish that has been enjoyed for decades – but has recently started gaining traction as a popular food trend. With a base of yogurt and a wide range on toppings on offer, from bananas to honey, this healthy option is a great alternative if you’re looking for something lighter.

For this pairing, you should focus on a wine with strong aromatics. This is because yogurt offers very little in the way of aromas, and thus, aromatic wines can really add more perceived flavour to the dish. Gewürztraminer with its intense aromas of lychee, rose, grapefruit and allspice will really take your everyday yogurt bowl to the next level.

What Wine Should You Serve at Easter Lunch?

With Easter coming up soon – this year it falls on Sunday 1 April – it’s time to get ready for your Easter lunch. This is the perfect time to gather your friends and family to celebrate Easter and Spring. Whether you opt for a classic lamb dish or a fresh green salad, we’re here to give you the perfect pour. Here are some of Ideal Wine Company’s favourite wines to serve at Easter lunch.

Ideal Wine Company Easter
With Easter coming up soon it’s time to get your favourite wine ready for your Easter lunch.

Lamb – Cabernet Sauvignon

For spring and Easter, the quintessential dish has to be lamb. Coming into season at this time, it’s a popular dish that you can expect to see on many tables. As lamb is a strong meat in flavour, you’ll need to look for a wine that can match it. For this, a Cabernet Sauvignon is your best bet. With this wine, you can expect a tannic, full-bodied red that can stand up to the strength of lamb. The richness and texture of the meat will be complemented by the ripe plum and earthy flavours with hints of chocolate. A great choice to break out this Easter!

Glazed Ham – Pinot Noir

A glazed ham is synonymous with sweet and sour flavours. The saltiness of the ham is usually in perfect balance with the sweetness of the glaze. When it comes to pairing your wine with this, you’ll want to make sure you’re not interrupting this relationship. Try opting for a Pinot Noir, which should help to provide the perfect stability you’re looking for. This wine’s low tannins and high acidity is the perfect complement to the ham. With cherry fruit flavours and a little spice on the palate, a Pinot Noir continues the harmony between sweet and sour.

Fresh green salad – Assyrtiko

With spring finally upon us, it’s time to bring together all the amazing fresh produce we can get our hands on. This means greens – and what better way to showcase them than with a fresh green salad. Combining the freshest green vegetables on offer with a light lemon vinaigrette, this is an ideal dish for Easter lunch. To bring out the freshness of the salad, the best accompaniment is Assyrtiko, a white wine from Greece. This light and crisp wine offers bright flavours, bracing acidity and an elegant mineral character. A truly refreshing choice.

Lemon tart – Muscat

No celebratory lunch is complete without pudding! For Easter, a lemon tart is the perfect option. Combining sweetness, slight tartness and a light finish, this dessert brings out the flavours of the season. When pairing wine with this tart, look for a Muscat. With fruit flavours including citrus, lime, kumquats, confit of orange zest and green pineapple, it is a refreshing burst of flavour. The richness on the palate, with its vibrant acidity, will lift and support the lemon creaminess. It’s the perfect way to end your meal.

Easter is all about light spring dishes. Make sure to keep all your flavours balanced with each other and remember that refreshing options are usually your best choices. With your perfect pour in hand – it’s time to celebrate Easter!

Perfect Pairings: Irish Food and Wine

Guinness, Irish Cream and Whiskey are all synonymous with St Patrick’s Day celebrations, but what if you still want to celebrate, but prefer to drink something else? This week, Ideal Wine Company is bringing you our favourite wines to enjoy with classic Irish food. With St Patrick’s Day right around the corner, on Saturday 17 March, let’s get started…

Ideal Wine Company Irish St Patrick's Day
If you still want to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, but prefer to drink something else – here’s what we recommend.

Irish beef stew and Aglianico

There’s no food more quintessentially Irish than an Irish beef stew! Although there are many variations on this classic dish, the most popular contains succulent cubes of beef and hearty roots vegetables. This warming dish is full of flavour – so needs a wine that equally packs a punch. As it’s made with beef, a red wine will work perfectly. We recommend trying an Italian Aglianico, a full-bodied red with rich tannins. This wine is a perfect match for the hearty and rich stew. The savoury, earthy and gamey flavours of the wine are the perfect complement to both the root vegetables and meat. This comforting paring is sure to warm you up!

Irish pancakes and Chardonnay

Boxty – or Irish pancakes – are a traditional potato pancake made with mashed and/or grated potatoes. These are often served early in the day and are the perfect platform for loading with a variety of toppings. Although you can top your pancake with anything, a great wine to make the potato base is a classic Chardonnay. The undertones of apple, lemon and pineapple in the wine will add depth to the mild flavours of the potato, without overwhelming the pancake. The sharp crispness of the wine will ensure that your dish remains light. It’s the ideal palate cleanser!

Shepherd’s pie and Sangiovese

As one of the heartiest dishes Ireland has to offer, a classic Shepherd’s Pie needs to be carefully paired. Consisting of seasoned minced lamb and vegetables and topped with mashed potatoes, this spiced and fragrant dish is full of flavour. To match this, opt for a classic food-pairing wine: Sangiovese. As the main grape of Chianti, it is a lively and acidic wine. With moderate tannins and savoury notes, Sangiovese will balance the richness of the spiced lamb.

Potato and leek soup and Grüner Veltliner

On a cold day, look no further than potato and leek soup. The richness of soft potatoes with heavy cream balanced out by the savoury bit of sautéed leeks is the perfect comfort food. If you’re looking to serve this dish on St Patrick’s Day with wine, always look for a crisp white. Our recommendation is a delicious Grüner Veltliner. The elevated acidity of this wine will help to cut through the creamy weightiness of the soup, refreshing your palate between spoonfuls. As well, its classic peppery, green notes will complement the botanical flavour profiles of the leeks and any other herbs added. Look for high acidity and herbaceous notes and you can’t go wrong!

If you’re looking for more than Guinness and whiskey to pair with your food this St Patrick’s Day, wine is an excellent choice. This is a day for celebrating – there’s no better excuse than to open a bottle!