Is there such a thing as vegan road food? And is there a wine to pair with it?
Disclosure: The wine in this post was received as a media sample. All opinions are my own.
I had so much fun with Veganuary that I just had to sneak one more plant based food and wine pairing into the calendar.
This one inspired by a particularly unique Pinot Nero wine I received from Oltrepo Pavese, Italy. Made by the Torti family for the American market, it goes by the name of "Get Your Motor Running - Route 66".
This is the same family in Italy that makes my Hello Kitty Sparkling Wine!!!!
Needless to say, I was absolutely thrilled to discover and receive this bottle of red wine from the Torti family that has been making wine since 1910.
Located in the Lombardy region in Northern Italy, the Oltrepo Pavese province has been cultivating wine for more than 3000 years. Limestone, loam, and clay soils make an ideal terroir for growing grapes and are especially hospitable to the Pinot Noir varietal or as it's known in Italy, Pinot Nero.
Known as the Pinot Noir capital of Italy, Oltrepo Pavese produces the grapes for both sparkling wine and still red wine. It also happens to be located on the same 45th parallel as the other famous Pinot Noir growing regions: Burgundy and Oregon.
This particular Pinot Nero from the Route 66 brand is picked from the Torti family's "Burgundy" Hill. It spent some time in French barriques.
I found it to be just that lovely combination between earthiness, freshness, and bright cranberry fruit. Highly drinkable with enough acid to pair with food but also drink on its own. The winery recommends pairing it with red meat appetizers, rabbit, lamb, roasts, zampone and cotechini, salami, and aged cheeses.
However, in the spirit of Veganuary and inspired by the Route 66 motor vehicle themed name, I decided to pair this wine with vegan road food!
Is there such a thing as vegan road food? Typically, you would expect burgers, fried chicken, and plenty of other comforting meat and dairy munchies to hold on to as you drive along the roadside.
I decided to see what vegan options Five Guys restaurant offered and was pleasantly surprised!
- Veggie Sandwich - with grilled mushrooms, grilled onion, lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup, mustard
- Cajun Fries - with plenty of ketchup
- Salted peanuts in the shell - all you can eat!
The lighter fare paired quite nicely with this lighter red wine, particularly with the fries and ketchup. The sweetness and creaminess of the potato and thick, red sauce just brought out this soft raspberry fruit in the wine. I quite liked the three together.
It turns out that this Route 66 Pinot Nero is also a bestseller at the gourmet Italian food shop, Eataly, in New York City. Could that be due to the marketing? While I'm sure the label and name of the wine is catchy and makes curious wine drinkers pause, I'd like to think they keep coming back to it for the actual taste of the wine.
To learn more about the wines of Oltrepo Pavese, check out this wonderful post from Avinnare: Oltrepo Pavese - a World to Discover.
Thank you to the Consorzio Oltrepo’ Pavese for providing the sample of wine!