Beet salad: impossible food-wine pairing?!?

Beets are contentious. Not because one variety can be made into sugar cubes or ethanol. But because some people don’t like them!

I was at lunch with a friend who has fine taste when a beet salad appeared. And a zinfandel. He didn’t touch the beets. I asked him if it was the unflattering pairing with the wine. He said no, he just not a fan.

But some people are. And summer is a great time for a beet salad as a part of a buffet or a picnic (don’t spill them on the blanket, however). They are good for you, packed with folate, featuring in the number one slot on a list of “The 11 Best Foods You Aren’t Eating.” So if “eat your beets” is the new “eat your peas,” then we should at least know which wine to pair with them! Complicating factors in the beet salad for the wine pairing are the sugars in the beets as well as a vinegar dressing. After many trashyimpossiblepairings, here’s a healthy one to help us all look awesome in our swimsuits.

Which wine would you pair with a beet salad–or is it impossible?!?

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29 Responses to “Beet salad: impossible food-wine pairing?!?”

  1. Valpolicella 🙂

  2. Given the texture and the natural sweetness of beets (it also depends which ones, the yellow ones are less common but very delicate) I’d avoid a too dry or tannic wine. For some reason, perhaps I know this from Alsace, I’d go for an aged Riesling that still has enough acidity, perhaps a pinot noir. It also depends on what dressing you use, whether it’s more citric or on the balsamic side. Roasted beets with spices may call for something else, though.

  3. Schiava. It’s light and tangy enough for a vinaigrette, earthy like the beets, and you can drink it slightly chilled.

  4. Burgundy! White or Red. The beets draw out all of the earthy/mineral qualities of the wine. It is truly incomparable how well even a modest white or red burgundy shows alongside a beet salad.

  5. Vin Gris, or a Provençal rosé, is a natural.

  6. My wife loves beats. Light and acidic styles of Beaujolais and Jura reds (Plousard specifically) go well.

  7. I think Adam’s Schiava suggestion is brilliant! It almost makes me want to eat some beets. (Almost.)

  8. Definitely not impossible. I make beet salads quite often in the summer months and usually pair with a sparkling rosé. Delicious summertime meal!

  9. I love beets but I’ve never had them with wine. I might try a merlot.
    My most challenging wine pairing was with a steak and pineapple salad. Sauvignon blanc was more successful than cabernet sauvignon, but the steak was not then complimented.

  10. My vote with Meg and Provençal rosĂ©, then again, I’ll eat almost anything with Provençal rosĂ©. Great post Tyler!

  11. If anyone can give me a recipe that will allow me to eat beets without gagging I will gladly buy you a bottle of our 2010 Viognier, which actually might pair quite well with your beets.

    of course maybe I just need to drink a whole bottle of the Viognier then the beets will taste great!?

  12. I am just having a beet salad with a 2009 Chenas, crus of Beaujolais! Along with some BBQ and reblochon. It izzz delicious :)!

  13. I adore beets, yum yum.

    In addition to the dry rosĂ© option mentioned above, I’d go with a vigonier or a rousanne-marsanne-vigonier Rhone blend — something with a roundness and a non-sharp acidity, to complement the sweetness of the beet and not to compete with what’s likely to be some acidity in whatever sauces or dresses the beets.

    And if you don’t like beets, I’d suggest looking for a chocolate beet cake recipe (yes, I’m serious!), to go with a lovely port.

  14. Good thoughts! As ever, some more came in via Twitter and without a plugin to capture them automagically, I paste a few more in here.

    @RN74: Bandol Rosé.

    @ridesmith: arneis, fruity style

    @PinotBlogger: French Colombard . Seriously. Goes great with the earthiness.

    @emmaswain: Champagne & #sauvblanc perfect pair

    @texicaliali: the one food I’ve always hated. How about some nice french bubbles to wash it down?

  15. Sauvignon Blanc will work quite well. I actually had a blog post written on the same subject:

    Wine was 2009 Selene Sauvignon Blanc from Carneros

  16. […] Beet salad: impossible food-wine pairing?!? […]

  17. A fine gruner veltliner would be a perfect mate for beets. My favorites, BrĂĽndlmayer in Kamptal and Schmelz in Wachau.

  18. Meg and Mary are both on the money. I like roasted beet salad with a super simple grapefruit vinaigrette (not a lot of actual vinegar though!) with some chèvre paired with a nice Rueda.

  19. A fine Riesling from the Monchhof with its special mineral taste would be perfect. For example the Monchhof Riesling Urziger Wurzgarten

  20. Light, young Spatlesen on the sweet side, or chilly Lambrusco (Reunite on ice, so nice! Well, actually, there are better artisanal Lambruschi around these days.) If all else fails, vinho verde. It carries so little taste of its own that it goes with everything (and that is not a knock, by the way). Vinho verde with a garlicky steak, fried potatoes, black beans and rice and hearts of palm salad is sublime! And pull some of the hearts of palm out of the salad to eat with the steak…

  21. Beaujolais, pinot noir or still wine pinot meunier

  22. Best beets I have ever had were at two different places in Napa.

    Ubuntu had a dish that was beets with hazelnut ‘soil’ and avocado. There were both roasted and pureed beets in little dollops all over the plate. Yumtown

    Farmstead had this dish that was beets that were roasted then smashed and grilled on the BBQ. they were served on top of arugula with chimichurri sauce. yummmmm

  23. Oysters and Beets are paired together because of the Iodine orsomething…so why not a Muscadet or Chablis?

  24. Ok Dr Vino you inspired me:

  25. […] The great Dr Vino inspired me the other day with a post titled: “Beet salad: impossible food-wine pairing?!?”. […]

  26. Lets not forget it is not only the prime ingredients that make a pairing succesfull or a fail. For example are the beets, raw or cooked. Dressing with animal stuff (cream etc.)or plain, acidic or sweet, do they have crispy bacon on top or roasted sunflowers? Or have they some funky japanese dressing, or plain with oil and salt,? Mustard seeds, rucola? It is certainly not impossible but it all depends on the total dish.

  27. I have been in the ‘beet hater’ camp ever since my mom tried to serve me sliced beets in vinegar when I was a kid. I avoided them like the plague until ordering them as part of the vegetarian menu at French Laundry a couple years ago. They were quite tasty. Last year, I was at a dinner with Jasmine Hirsch at Farmstead in St. Helena and somebody was raving about the roasted beets. I tried them and they were believe it or not, out of this world (I had seconds). And the wine, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, no complaints about the pairing. It is all in the way they are prepared.

  28. Beetroot is a food we should eat more often all people because it is a vegetable with many vitamins are recommended for energetic people with anemia or blood diseases.

    For me I prefer to eat it raw in a salad with lettuce, tomato, carrot and onion. Furthermore, as indicate a glass of wine drinking is also healthy.


  29. I’ve got an answer. This wonderful 50% Sauvignon Blanc and 50% Pinot Gris called Saffron Haze went very well with roasted beet salad with orange citrus and arugula


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