It’s a Vegan Dinner Party
My wife and i had a dinner party last week that featured something i don’t do that often, which is a 100% vegan menu for our good friends. Now i’m not one of those people who has an opinion one way or another on veganism, i’m not any type of vegetarian (i tend more towards extreme omnivorism, that involves eating everything from radishes to offal) but i am not one of those people that gets upset that people have sworn off animals. But i will tell you one thing:
Meat substitutes suck.
I’ll put that out there and you are free to argue with me if you want. I’ve tried to enjoy them, but to no avail. Once you figure this fact out cooking an entire vegan meal is easy. Instead of looking for vegan recipes, look for nearly vegan recipes and substitute ingredients and you don’t end up with weird textured tofu that has no business pretending to be turkey. One thing this makes easier is wine pairing; i don’t know what goes with fake meat, and i don’t care to find out. i will however say this, in my experience pairing wine with vegetables is not nearly as difficult as some writers would have you believe. I have read too many articles about how there are so few things to pair with meatless dishes, as if meat has some essential quality that makes wine work, and the non-meat eaters have to be left with little more than Gruner and new Zealand sauvignon blanc. Bullshit. Drink what you think will work and more often than not it will work out just fine.
Butternut squash risotto
Mixed mushroom soup
Balsamic carmelized brussel sprouts
Vegan chocolate pie
’07 Berger Gruner Veltliner
’06 Manincor Moscato Giallo Lago di Caldaro
’06 Monastero Suore Cistercensi Coenobium Lazio IGT
’92 Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards Pinot Noir Estate Bottled Matteson Vineyard
’99 Trout Gulch Vineyards Pinot Noir
’05 Weingut Robert Konig Assmannshäuser Höllenberg Spätburgunder Spätlese trocken
As i have discussed the berger in an earlier post i will begin with the two whites, which were paired with the sprouts and the risotto.
If you aren’t aware already Coenobium might be the perfect dinner party wine, because it comes pre-packaged with a conversation starter. Hand crafted by Cistercian nuns in the Lazio region of Italy (they are just north of Rome) and Giampiero Bea, the son of Paolo Bea, this wine is one of the most interesting whites around, both in origin and taste. Made from primarily Verdicchio, Trebbiano and Grechetto, grown organically and unfined this smells like an orange-clove ball that crafty moms are always making at Christmas time. Paired perfectly with the squash.
The Manincor Moscato Giallo, while not quite as interesting, is still a worthy complement. Coming from a biodynamic producer in the Alto-Adige this wine is 100% Moscato. A bit more aromatic spiciness and strong citrus flavors (think grapefruit) and more minerality.
Now onto the reds, which were drank with the brussel sprouts and the soup. we opened up two older, local (Santa Cruz mountains) pinots. The first, Trout Creek, was already past its prime, flabby and flavorless, so it was tossed in favor of the fresher ’05 Weingut Robert Konig Assmannshäuser Höllenberg Spätburgunder Spätlese Trocken (i can’t resist writing that all out). This is a nice sharp, mineral pinot that eschews fruit for acid.
The other bottle, the ’92 Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards picked up from their tasting room, was in its prime. Nice smoky dried cherries, raspberry tartness and mushrooms all in balance. Perfect for the blend of the high acid sprouts and the rich soup.
What to listen to: Cut Copy does FabricLive