Argentine wine and vegetarian cuisine, a perfect match

Vegetarian wine pairings

Hi, wine lovers! How are you doing? I thought I’d get back to a subject I wrote about a little while ago: vegan friendly wines and vegetarian wine pairings, an amazing world I’m only just discovering.   

It’s not just consumers who are changing their ways, producers are too. More and more vegan wines are appearing on the market; environmentally friendly products that don’t use animal derivatives of any kind. The entire industry is headed that way and I think it’s great. The change began at the grassroots level and it’s spreading fast. This isn’t a trend, it’s a way of life. 

As you know, I’m giving up eating meat. Not in a radical way, I’m just trying to reduce the amount of animal products I consume. And I’m learning a lot along the way, for example: the best vegetarian wine pairings. 

A lot of people think that vegetarian cooking is just a load of different salads and, like Homer says: “You don’t make friends with salad.” But that’s not true at all (besides, I love salads!): veggie cuisine has an enormous array of delicious dishes to offer.  

I’ve found a lot of new recipes on the internet, and guess what? I’ve also learned to accompany them with the best Argentine wines. Let me tell you a little more. 

Maridajes vegetarianos

Vegetarian wine pairings: Malbec is your best friend 

To learn more about how wines go with vegetarian delicacies, I did some internet research. And I also consulted Alex the guru, of course. Between the two, I was able to get some good ideas but one character kept on turning up: Malbec. And obviously, when it comes to Malbec, Argentina is the place to be. 

If you’re giving up meat for the first time, it’s best to begin with simple everyday vegetables. 

Squash, zucchini, onions and bell peppers are all delicious on the grill and easy to make. Especially if you have a varied spice rack and a lovely, fresh aromatic glass to go with them. Alex recommended young, light Malbecs. For instance, a fresh Malbec made using carbonic maceration, Beaujolais Nouveau style, is delicious in and of itself and helps to maximize the flavor of the vegetables.    

Another option is risotto: rich comfort food perfect for days with a chill in the air. It’s easy to make but is very refined.  Try one with risotto rice such as arborio or carneroli, vegetables, vegetable stock, mushrooms, salt, pepper, olive oil and a little red wine. Yeah, the same bottle of Malbec you’ll be drinking as an accompaniment. You’ll taste the difference.  

In general, Malbec is a wine that goes well with granulated textures, so rice is an excellent companion.  

Maridajes vegetarianos

Just another ingredient 

As I wrote before here, a lot of winemakers have stopped using egg albumin, replacing it with a type of clay called bentonite. So now you can pair different dishes and organic wines for a 100% vegan meal. It’s great! 

Alex gave me a tip: think of the wine not as an accompaniment but an ingredient. Vegetarian cuisine tends to be more subtle so you need to use your imagination to replace the expressiveness of the meat. A good glass of wine is always a good thing to have up your sleeve when preparing vegetarian wine pairings.   

Or how about a stir fry? The lovely Asian ingredients let you play around with all kinds of different colors and flavors: noodles, a range of onions, carrots, eggplants, bell peppers, zucchini, chili peppers, asparagus… whatever you like! With a good soy sauce of course. 

It’s a dish that goes well with another full bodied, fruity red: Syrah. Try a young version from San Juan, an Argentine region where the grape is prevalent, if possible from the Pedernal Valley. You’ll see what I mean. And if you don’t feel like cooking, Chinese restaurants now have a lot of vegetarian options, just tap your order into the app and concentrate on choosing the wine.  

Maridajes vegetarianos

How about white wines? 

But what about the whites? Don’t white wines go well with vegetables? Of course, they do! Everyone’s welcome when it comes to vegetarian wine pairings. Here, it’s time to bring up one of the stars of Argentina: Torrontés, a very versatile wine with floral aromas and a touch of acidity that really makes it stand out. It’s fantastic.  

Torrontés goes perfectly with pasta like squash or pumpkin ravioli with a mild cream sauce or cheese. And pairing it with pizza is a classic combo.  

If you’re looking for a lighter meal, then green salads are wonderful playmates with white wines. Another option is spicy cuisine, be it Asian, Indian or Mexican. Tacos with lettuce, tomato, carrot and onion go extremely well with a refreshing glass of wine, and don’t forget the guacamole, ¡Viva Mexico!

To really ride that wave, I recommend a Torrontés from the Calchaquí Valleys, a region in the northwest of Argentina where vineyards are typically set about 5600 feet above sea level. 

Well, that’s it for today. It was a pleasure sharing my research with you: the worlds of veggie cuisine and Argentine wine are both fantastic, just give the combination a try! There’s plenty of different options to choose from but when you do, I’ll be expecting an invitation, albeit a remote one. So tell me, what’s your favorite pairing? Let me know! 

Like to read more about Nicky’s adventures on the Argentine wine scene? Click here: Terroir, lesson 1: every glass of wine is an expression of the land

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