Many vegetables are high in natural sugars, like onions, parsnips and carrots. Others are high in acidity like tomatoes. Foods that fall into these two categories are usually best with white wines because if you fail to match the acidity or sweetness in the food to that of the wine, what you are eating will taste dull and flabby.
Remember that higher acidity is in wines from cooler climates, both from the Old and New World, and that some white varieties have a naturally higher acidity, like Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin.
Some vegetables on the other hand, have a rich, meaty quality, like mushrooms and aubergines. These pair very well with red wines as they match their meatier textures, and they can handle the tannin.
Tomatoes will need something with zippy acidity to cut through their own inherent sharpness, matching the acidity of the fruit to what’s in the glass is the key – New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs and Australian Rieslings are ideal.
Asparagus is also fantastic with the fresh citrusy flavours of Sauvignon Blanc.
For red peppers consider a Riesling, either Australian or a German Kabinett.
Barbecued and roasted vegetables can be paired with a robust red wine like a Syrah/Shiraz.
Mushrooms love Pinot Noir and Rioja. For wild mushrooms, try a Chianti or, if you want to push the boat out, a Barolo.
Cauliflower cheese teams well with a creamy New World Chardonnay.
Good luck with artichokes and spinach, as these appear to be wine enemies, as nothing seems to go with them!
If you do have these on your menu, for artichokes, which contain a chemical called cynarin choose something incisive like a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc – steer clear of anything with oak in it as cynarin reacts with oak and makes the wine taste strangely sweet.
With Spinach try an un-oaked Chardonnay as this vegetable has the tendency to make red wines take on a rusty flavour, emphasising the tannins. So if you do want a red wine, make sure that this too is un-oaked, perhaps something young and fruity from the New World.