November 10, 2022 by Arden Montgomery
Best Wine for Root Veggies
Modern agriculture means that we can enjoy different aspects of nature’s bounty year-round without paying too much concern to seasonality, especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables. We don’t know about you, however, but there does seem to be something in our brains and bodies that kicks into gear when the weather shifts, sending up flares that it’s time to dig into season-specific fare. When it’s warm out, we love fresh greens, fruit smoothies, and succulent white fish. In the cold of winter, we’re all about hot soups, rich meats, and anything dug out of the ground.
Winter is nearing its end here in the northern hemisphere, and before the temperature begins to rise once more, we want to make the most of what’s left of our inexplicable-craving-for-root-veggies period. To do that, we want to make sure we’re pairing the right wines with some of our favorite cold-weather roasts. Let’s go!
How to pair wine with root veggies
We’re going to cheat the definition of root veg a little bit and expand that to include anything starchy, fleshy, and flavorful that can easily be found in the frost – think hard-skinned squashes or eggplants in addition to the underground mirepoix of tatties, carrots and alliums.
And this broad-ish category of veggie is a little wild to try to pin down. Roasted, seared, or blended into soups, some of these heartier plants can stand up to harsher pairings the way meat can, but they’re not tough enough to be really drowned in tannins.
They’re also delicate enough that they won’t overwhelm a richer white, although you should probably steer away from anything too acidic – unless one of your key ingredients happens to be butter or cream.
The rules additionally change a little bit depending on whether the dish you’re serving is hot or cold: lighter-bodied reds and rosés do well with cold roots as in a vichyssoise, medium-bodied reds and rich whites for something warm like a sweet potato with rosemary and black pepper.
Did that clear things up? No? Read on for more specific recommendations.
Best wine for root veggies
- 2018 E. Pira Chiara Boschis ‘Mosconi’ Barolo – $135
Dark like black velvet, like the dead of winter, like the bottom of a cauldron that’s been simmering rich broth and spices over the embers of an oakwood fire. Rich like fresh cream and jam that’s just set. This is the wine to pair with a classic potato/carrot roast smothered in beef and mushroom gravy.
- 2020 Bachelet-Monnot Chassagne-Montrachet – $96
You take a sip and you imagine yourself sitting in a dusty apron on a white-tile counter, licking the spoon after scraping a rich lemon custard into its awaiting shortbread crust. What are you going to have while you’re waiting for it to bake? How about a citrusy sweet potato casserole?
- 2020 Cargaux Pinot Noir – $45
A cultural joining like a quilt of vibrant red fruits. Have it with spiced pumpkin soup topped with pepitas and a cotija crumble – that’s all we’ll say.
- NV Paul Laurent Champagne ‘Cuvée du Fondateur’ Brut – $39
Traditional, classic, delectable – how’d the dragonfruit get in there? Ah well. We’re making potions in our marble mortar-and-pestles for warmth and effervescence this winter, invoking some notes of summertime into our wintry glasses. Try with a salad of roast butternut squash, dino kale, pomegranate seeds and feta with a blood orange vinaigrette.
- 2021 Weingut Griesbauerhof Alto Adige Pinot Grigio – $28
It’s a mountain Pinot Grigio! Bringing with it the sharp stones and evergreen life the alps have to offer. Next time you hike to an altitude, consider bringing this along as your refresher. For now, we think it would go well with some garlicky mashed potatoes.
- 2012 Roberto Voerzio Barolo Sarmassa di Barolo MAGNUM – $550
Call your lawyer and find out – the Barolo label means it’s been aging in bottle for at least three years, so don’t be surprised when you pop the cork now (or in a year, or 5, or 10) and what comes out is pure red silk. Try with this root vegetable tagine.
- 2021 Domaine Guillaume Pin Savoie Apremont – $26
It’s injecting a little sunshine into the last months of wintertime blues. Absolutely perfect for pan-seared teriyaki eggplant over seasoned white rice.
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