Autumn is in the air – and on the table. Here are our no stress tips on how to pair wine with root vegetables.
At the best of times, wine and food pairings can stress out most of us. And, when cozy fall rolls around with all its root vegetables in tow, wine pairings are a nightmare.
The notoriously difficult flavours of the pungent cruciferous family, the earthy and slightly sweet of the squash and tuberous clans, not to mention whatever cheeses, creams, and spices you add to them, can make for a head scratcher of a wine pairing.
But fear not fall food-loving winos. We’ve picked up some insights along the way during our 10 years in the wine business. The first rule is not to stress about it. The second is to pair you wine to the strongest flavours of your dish (conveniently, we have a fun food and wine lab that teaches you how to do this). And lastly, if the above two recommendations don’t work for your particular dinner, here are some easy, grab and go wine pairings to make your root vegetables sing.
Butternut squash, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, beets of any colour all fall into this category.
Riesling, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc
Pinot Noir, Spanish Rioja, Chianti, Gamay
Here we have the much-maligned Brussels Sprouts, cabbage, turnip and broccoli family. These can have distinct flavours that offer challenges to wine pairing, but rest assured there are a few vinous gems that make great table mates for these love ‘em or leave ‘em polarizing veggies.
Sauvignon Blanc, Chablis, dry Riesling, Grüner Veltliner
Cabernet Franc, Côtes du Rhône
When in doubt wines with medium body, no oak, and crisp acidity can be a get-out-of-pairing-jail free card. They certainly won’t be a terrible pairing and will at least hold their own.
Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc, Soave, Sauvignon Blanc
Barbera, Chianti, Gamay, Rioja crianza, Pinot Noir
opt for dry pink wine from places like Provence, Ontario, or even some delicate Italian rosés.
When I was in university, the Dairy Farmers of Canada put out a calendar of recipes and a root vegetable stew was one of them. On my own for the first time, I was a budding cook who didn’t know the different between a garlic bulb and a garlic clove (I quickly learned), and found the recipe to be comforting, easy, and for my basic culinary level, shockingly tasty.
I have no idea where that calendar is anymore, but this is a dish I still make when the weather turns a bit chilly. It’s evolved over the years into sort of a stew, sort of a chowder – a stewder? A chew?
Falling steadfastly in line with my cooking ethos, this is less of a recipe than a put on some music, pour a glass of wine and throw what you’ve got in pot.
I use whatever I find at the market: red onion, rutabaga, turnip, fennel, parsnip, potato, celeriac… any combination works, though I lean more to the savoury over the sweet root vegetables. If you aren’t in the mood for vegan, use whole milk, chicken stock and butter with the oil to sauté the veg.
Paired with big hunks of crusty bread, or even a lighter salad, this is a satisfying lunch or dinner. Or breakfast. You’re an adult, do what you want.
Makes: 2 liters
Total Time: About 90 minutes all in
In the photos you can see I chose an Ontario Chardonnay for the pairing, but you could just as easily pair a dry Riesling for an uplifting contrast or an Austrian Grüner Veltliner to compliment that earthy/vegetal note.