The Italian grape Arneis is called “Little Rascal.” We paired the rascally grape with a hearty vegan meal.
Vegan meals can provide a delightful wine pairing challenge. I discovered this when our daughter Rachel, a vegan baker and chef, visited for a couple months.
Normally I focus on the main entree, which is usually meat or fish. From there, the wine selection process can be narrowed to a few key decisions down the pathway to the perfect wine.
Taking meat and seafood out of the equation means I’ve had to power up my wine pairing skills to find the right picks for Rachel’s plant-based dishes.
Northern Italian Flavor
A recent meal was centered on Quinoa topped with garlic sautéed asparagus and mushrooms with a side of citrus-maple glazed root vegetables. Vegan cooking done right is loaded with flavors. This meal highlighted a unique ensemble of roasted beets, carrots and potatoes coated with a delicious glaze that had sweetness as well as a citrus zing.
I needed something that would accentuate the flavors but not overwhelm them. Scanning over my inventory of wine, I locked on the 2015 Carlin de Paolo Arneis. We’re big fans of Arneis, first tasting this unique white grape a half dozen years ago with a superb Italian meal in San Diego.
The bottle comes from the Terre Alfieri DOC in the Piemont region of Northern Italy where Arneis is the primary white grape. The Carlin de Paolo is 100% Arneis and is straw yellow with green highlights in the glass.
Aromas are those of tropical fruit. On the palate there are soft fruit flavors of citrus and white flowers. The tannins are strong enough to stand up to the robust root veggies. The finish of the wine is crisp and dry.
Our Arneis was a smashing pairing with the vegan dish, but it can also be enjoyed as an aperitif. It also pairs well with fish and white meat – just don’t tell Rachel! For more information Rachel’s cooking, visit Earth N Oven.