Simple - I love sharing great food with other people - especially wine. My love story with fermented grape juice began in 2015, back before I switched to my current predominantly plant-based, pescatarian diet. At that time, I was deep into the pressures of law school and had turned to cooking as a meditative release from the daily grind - a mental space where I could be creative and free. I used to love exploring all the different pairing options of big, chewy red wines with the various meat dishes I would cook. In 2017, however, I made the choice to become a pescatarian, and I began to relegate my wine pairing choices to the age-old recommendation of white wine with fish and veggies.
It was not long, however, before I began to miss the Syrahs of Côte-Rôtie or the Cabernet Sauvignons of Napa. I had become a pescatarian to help combat climate change, feel healthier, and to avoid contributing to the often cruel practices of animal "processing" plants. I was not about to return to my previous carnivore diet just to satisfy my craving for big red wines. So, I began to research options for pairing a more diverse range of wines with fish and veggie based recipes.
To my surprise, there was very little information available specifically geared towards wine pairings for pescatarians, vegetarians, and vegans! Most of the recommendations and guidance available out there was from wine gurus and wine magazines that, understandably, cater to the full spectrum of consumers and not just one dietary group. I did learn, however, that there are general rules of thumb to follow when pairing wine with food. For example, I learned that acid works well with fatty food, or that wine paired with desserts should typically be sweeter than the dessert itself. These are general rules though, and they do not always lead to amazing results.
So, I began to experiment. In the two years that followed, I would go on to try a LOT OF WINE. I mean A LOT. Over 520+ wines to be exact, which works out to something like 1.5 wines every 2 days. Now, before you start to worry for my liver, I should note that many of these wines were parts of tasting flights at wineries or tasting dinners, and that I rely heavily on my Coravin wine system (a law school graduation present from my family that has proven to be one of the best gifts I have ever received) to enable me to try numerous wines without wasting the rest of the bottle.
As I explored new varietals, my palate expanded, and I began to notice notes and flavors in certain wines that were familiar and reminiscent of flavors found in some of my favorite fish and veg dishes. I started to notice the earthy, mushroom notes of Pinot Noir, or even the grilled apricots found in Savoie Roussanne. Through trial and error (ongoing, in all honesty), I have been able to find some great combinations and pairings that my family and friends have raved about, often with comments like "I had no idea you could drink a Cab with this!"
All in all, it has been a delicious and fun adventure pairing wine with non-traditional recipes while learning more about one of humanity's favorite drinks. Full disclosure, I am not an expert. I am simply a mostly plant-based wine nerd trying to find amazing pairings that will allow, and encourage, others to enjoy a wider range of good wine with environmentally-conscious and tasty meals. If this interests you, I invite you to join me on my journey further into the world of pairing wine and veg.