If you are vegan, then one of your ‘guilty pleasures’ may be wine. From a full-bodied Rioja to a fruity Penedés, wine can not only satisfy a discerning palate, but also make an excellent accompaniment to gourmet vegan cuisine. For fervent foodies across the globe, one of the most fulfilling experiences is that of the paired meals, in which every dish is graced with a specific wine. If you thought all wines were vegan, however, know that this is far from true. As reported by Forbes, winemaking sometimes involves the use of animal products. To really get it right, opt for bottles that obey the BevVeg vegan standard. The latter espouses that no animal products have been used. For instance, if sugar is an ingredient in a specific wine, then the manufacturer must use zero bone char. Read on to discover a few tips for pairing vegan wines and food. 

Choosing Between Congruent and Complementary Wine Pairing

There are two pairing styles you can choose to highlight your vegan meal: congruent and complementary pairings. Congruent pairing means selecting wines that share the same dominant element/s as the dishes you are enjoying. For instance, you might pair a dessert with a sweet Hungarian Tokaji Aszú, or a citrusy salad with a fruity Rueda. The aim is to provide a more rounded, full, deep flavor when food and wine are combined. The other pairing style is complementary; wines should have a contrasting dominant profile to food. For instance, you might pair a raw apple pie with a fruity Penedés, to wrest from this dessert's sweetness with a slightly acidic flavor.

Choosing Highly Rated Wines

Regardless of the pairing experience you opt for, investing time to check out opinions is a fantastic means through which to discover top wines from across the globe and consider new combinations to those you may be accustomed to. If you usually obtain your wines via subscription, check out opinions on different wine subscription services, so that the four or five bottle you choose for your pairings are unique and suitable to your dishes. If your gourmet evenings usually comprise international dishes, opt for a subscription with a reputation for discovering both iconic and small-batch international wines, so your body of knowledge can increase exponentially.

Examples of Interesting Pairings

For cheesy and creamy vegan dishes (think a vegan lasagna, cannelloni, or vegetable mac ‘n cheese), an acidic white or a red with a high level of tannins will help ‘cut’ the richness of fat and cleanse the palate. For spicy and chili-rich foods (think a Thai vegetable salad or a high-spice Indian tofu curry), a sweet or low-alcohol wine will help reduce the effects of the spice. For bitter foods like okra scrambled eggs, avoid high-tannin wines (which will enhance the bitterness). Give a sweet or semi-sweet wine a go instead. If you are consuming a citrus dish, choose a high-acid wine to go with it, since wines with a low acidity may reduce the wonderful bite that acidic fruits can give your meal.

Selecting the perfect vegan wine for your meal is a matter of research and experimentation. Make it fun by concentrating on wines and foods from a specific country, or foods of a specific color. Know that you can go for complementary and contrasting flavors, while also making it a point to avoid wines that can enhance bitter flavors.