The best wine pairings for peppers
Peppers or bell peppers, as they’re also known, crop up in so many dishes, that you may well have wondered what wine goes best with them - or even if they’re the element of the dish you need to match.
It depends partly on the colour and partly on whether or how you’ve cooked with them or served them raw. In general I tend to think raw peppers pair best with a white or rosé and cooked peppers with a red wine but that’s not a hard and fast rule
Of course there are also hot peppers which I’ve touched on here but which will be the subject of another post.
Wine with red peppers
Red peppers have the most distinctive flavours of the pepper family, developing a rich sweetness as they cook, especially if they’re grilled or roasted
Raw peppers as crudités or in a salad. A crisp dry white or a rosé
Grilled and roasted peppers
Much richer and sweeter. They could also be accompanied by other big flavours such as garlic and anchovies as in the classic Piedmontese peppers or this roasted red pepper and anchovy salad from chef José Pizarro. I’d be inclined to go for a young rioja or mencia or a juicy young grenache but a robust Spanish rosado would also work. If you’re drinking white wine I’d choose something with a bit of weight like a New Zealand sauvignon blanc or Rueda.
Yes, the pepper element is important but it also depends on the stuffing. If it’s some kind of meat I’d go for a medium-bodied Italian red, a young rioja. zinfandel or a Côtes du Roussillon. Or a merlot. If you stuff them with grains like quinoa or fish as in this stuffed peppers with brandade (salt cod) which worked brilliantly well with a hunter valley sémillon, you might be more inclined to drink a crisp fruity white.
Red pepper soup
More likely to be red pepper and tomato soup like this one - it might even have a bit of a spicy kick. Dry whites normally pair well with soup so I’d probably go for something like a picpoul or an albarino but the other suggestions I’ve made for roast red peppers should work too.
Pasta with red pepper sauce
Similar ingredients and flavours to the above (as in this BBC Good Food recipe) but because it’s pasta you might feel inclined to go for a red - pretty well anything Italian and inexpensive (so not top Chianti or amarone) would work
Yellow and orange peppers
Usually milder than red peppers but I suggest following the suggestions above
Quite a few dishes such as chicken with peppers involve an assortment of peppers or, in the case of ratatouille other summer vegetables like courgettes and aubergines too. Both are quite robust so I’d go for a hearty southern French, Spanish or Italian red (Sicilian would be good) - the sort I recommend with grilled or roasted peppers.
Wine with green peppers
Green peppers are vegetal rather than sweet and I think generally better suited to a fruity white like a verdejo or a sauvignon blanc but there is also a green or bell pepper component in cabernet sauvignon that may make that work as well particularly if the peppers are stuffed with lamb. If you’re interested, here’s the science.
Wine with hot peppers
I’m not so much talking chillies here as spicy or potentially spicy peppers like the Spanish Pimientos de Padron or pickled guindillas, also Spanish. I think chilled dry fino or manzanilla sherry goes well with both but you could also drink a sharp white wine like a txacoli or a vinho verde with them especially as they’re likely to be part of a tapas line-up. Or a strong dry Spanish rosado.
See also 6 of the best Spanish wines to pair with tapas
Image © Bozena Fulawka at shutterstock.com
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