In case it’s not obvious by now, ratatouille is one of my favorite French dishes. Scratch that; one of my favorite dishes period. But like most French dishes, it’s even better with the perfect wine pairing. What wine goes with stewed vegetables? Lots, as I discovered! Here are some of my favorite pairings.
I love a refreshing rosé and will take just about any excuse to drink one. Luckily, it happens to be a wonderful pairing for ratatouille. Ratatouille is a summer dish and rosé is the king of summer wines. Look for rosés from Provence (the birthplace of ratatouille–they’re made for each other!) or other regions known for producing quality rosé wines. The light and refreshing nature of rosé complements the vibrant flavors of ratatouille without overpowering them.
Red Côtes du Rhône
Ratatouille’s rich flavors can be nicely balanced by a medium-bodied red wine from the Côtes du Rhône region in eastern France. Look for wines made from Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre grapes. These wines often exhibit a good balance of fruitiness, earthiness, and spice, which can complement the rustic nature of ratatouille.
I’ve always been a red wine girl, but white wine tends to go great with vegetables. If you prefer white wine, consider a white Burgundy (also known as Chardonnay) from France’s Burgundy region. Foodie sidenote: Burgundy’s regional capital of Dijon is arguably the world’s most famous mustard city, and certainly worth a visit. Ahem, back to the wine. Look for unoaked or lightly oaked wines, as they tend to have more vibrant acidity and fruit flavors. The wine’s freshness and subtle richness can complement the vegetable flavors of ratatouille.
Côtes de Provence
We’re going back to Provence for this white wine pairing. These wines are typically blends of white grape varieties such as Rolle (Vermentino), Ugni Blanc, and Clairette. They often have citrus and floral notes, along with a crisp and refreshing character that can pair well with ratatouille. By the way, if you’re wondering what “côtes” means, it refers to a hillside vineyard. You can see these all over France’s winemaking regions, and to me they are the most beautiful sight in the country (sorry Mona Lisa, you’re a close second).
When Ratatouille is a Side Dish
For me, ratatouille is always a main course, but as I mentioned in my previous write-up, it is often eaten as a side dish. If *gasp* ratatouille isn’t the star of your meal, follow pairing guidelines for whatever protein you’re eating as an entree. That usually means white wine with poultry or fish, a full-bodied red with steak or lamb, and you-call-it-with pork (it tends to pair well with reds or whites).
As Always, You Do You
While I would like to think I am something of an expert on wine pairings – thanks to my travels to France and years spent in restaurant kitchens – these are merely recommendations that work with my palate. Yours is almost certainly different. That’s why I recommend mastering my ratatouille recipe and playing around with different flavor combinations until you find what works best for you. And be sure to let me know!
If you enjoyed this recipe or have suggestions on how we can improve it, please leave us a comment below. Also, make sure to check out other dishes I’ve created or stories I’ve written about food culture – here.