Expert Explains How Best To Pair Wine With Vegan Dishes

When many of us think of wine pairings, our minds go straight to the notion of drinking the perfect wine with a cut of meat, type of seafood, or variety of cheese. That doesn't mean, though, that vegans don't have the ability to drink the ideal wine with their meals. Pairing wine with what you eat is an easy way to make your food taste even better and it's simpler than you think for vegans to do it, too. 

So, is pairing wines with vegan foods different than pairing wines with meat and dairy-centric dishes? We asked an expert, and according to him, there is a slight difference. We talked to Ramon Manglano, Wine Director of the NYC Michelin-starred restaurant, The Musket Room. He told us a bit about the art of wine pairing. While he says that pairing wine with vegan dishes differs from pairing wine with meat dishes "to some extent," ultimately he says, "my approach to pairing food is always the same." Believe it or not, it's all about the cooking technique that was used to prepare your meal. 

Base your choice of wine on how you cook your veggies

When Ramon Manglano gets ready to pick a wine for a specific meal, he looks for the heavy parts of the dish. "First, I identify if there is any dairy or meat in the dish, which brings a lot of heavier, fattier properties," he explains. When it comes to vegan foods, on the other hand, he says that they "are often not that rich in texture or style so I approach those dishes in that style."

When cooking vegan food, "the wine pairing must be focused on the cooking technique because that ultimately influences how one pairs it," Manglano explains, adding, "mushrooms, for example, can be paired with white and red variety, but with steam style vs. a roasted or crispy style would veer towards a lighter white, whereas a red white for crispy." He's also got a word of advice for those of us who eat a lot of asparagus. "Another tip is that if a vegan dish contains asparagus, it can be extremely not wine-friendly based on asparagus' literal composition," Manglano explains. So, there may be more to finding the perfect wine for your delicious plant-based meals than meets the eye. But, that doesn't mean that there isn't an ideal meal and wine pairing out there that's free from animal byproducts and full of flavor.