Mushrooms, pumpkin & wine


Delicious alliances: Mushrooms and wine

Wild mushrooms can be quite demanding in their choice of culinary partners and prefer wines with subtle and mild flavours. While a delicate potpourri of mixed mushrooms requires a full-bodied wine, flavours should not be too overwhelming. Take porcini, for instance: These most exquisite of all edible mushrooms form a perfect symbiotic relationship with a Pinot Blanc that is full-bodied yet delicately fruity. Even rather mature wines are great companions, since the subtle flavours of the mushrooms make them appear youthful and fresh. A mild acidity retains the harmony of this delicate, melt-in-the-mouth dish. More expressive dishes, such as porcini or other mushrooms that have been fried to crispy perfection in butter, harmonize well with heartier wines with a fresh, fruity acidity, such as Riesling – a delectable alliance.

Wild mushrooms play a pleasant supporting role alongside a roast. In this case, the roast takes precedence in selecting the wine companion. However, wines such as a smooth Pinot Noir from the Ahr region or a subtle Meunier (Schwarzriesling) from Württemberg take care that the delicate mushroom flavours don’t get lost in this expressive mélange.

Mushrooms as a main dish, with a rich creamy sauce and dumplings, require a subtly fruity fresh Riesling that counters the exquisite opulence of the dish with its vivacity.

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White wines with pumpkin dishes

The subtle flavours of pumpkins, often reminiscent of nuts or young beets, are mild and suited to a wide variety of dishes: Delicate soups; heartily seasoned, exquisite vegetable side dishes – and even extraordinary roasted salads with lemon peel and balsamic vinegar. Delicately fruity Pinot Blanc and slightly mature Silvaner are the best companions for pumpkin as a main dish. The flavours of these culinary partners complement each other well. As a side dish alongside meat, a heartily seasoned pumpkin, such as the expressive Hokkaido, is an ideal companion for light red wines like Portugieser or fresh Trollinger. They are suitable playmates for the pumpkin’s subtle fruity flavours but also form a delicious alliance with heartier dishes.

When roasted, pumpkins develop pronounced flavours that are slightly reminiscent of edible chestnuts. In this guise, they go very well with expressive red wines such as Dornfelder or Lemberger.

In desserts, pumpkins show off their sweet side. However, there are suitable wine companions for this manifestation as well. Pumpkin pie with caramelized nuts pairs delightfully with a noble-sweet Riesling Beerenauslese. And for another true culinary epiphany this autumn: Try slightly fruity pumpkin pastry with a mild Riesling Auslese.


Autumnal alliances – guaranteed wine harmony

Whether you require a companion for delicately flavoured wild mushrooms or pumpkins: In the cellars of the German winemakers, a parade of fantastic wines is ready to give a brilliant performance on your table. And Wines of Germany has a few simple guidelines for you to follow – to avoid even the slightest hints of disharmony creeping into these alliances.

Wild mushrooms such as porcini, bay boletes and chanterelles

Braised, wild mushrooms tend to display extremely delicate flavours and acquire a melt-in-the-mouth touch. Most often, they are lightly sautéed in a frying pan with onions, only seasoned slightly and rounded off with a dash of lemon, in order to preserve their subtle nutty taste. Suitable wine companions should also help to retain the delicate mushroom flavours. A gentle Pinot Blanc or a Silvaner from Rheinhessen does a great job.

Crisp-fried in butter, porcini develop very distinct nuances. Their typical flavours form a delicious alliance with the delicate roast aromas. A smooth Riesling with a moderate fruity acidity is a welcome companion. It showcases the spicy nuances of the mushrooms. As far as red wines are concerned, a more distinctly fruity Pinot Noir or Portugieser fits the bill.

In a creamy sauce, mushroom dishes are not exactly light fare. A full-bodied Riesling or classic Pinot Gris makes for a happy combination. The wine’s balanced acidity, subtle richness and maybe even a hint of residual sugar are excellent counterparts for the potpourri of flavours created by braised mushrooms, cream and fresh herbs.

Mushrooms play an expressive supporting role alongside a roast. In this kind of menu, the roast takes precedence in selecting the wine companion. However, it’s a good idea to also pay attention to a harmonious relationship between wine and mushrooms. Smooth red wines with balanced tannins such as Pinot Noir from Baden or the Ahr region are commendable. Hearty red wines rich in tannins would take center stage here – and drown out the delicate mushroom aromas.

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Pumpkin varieties

Pumpkin side dishes, prepared with the orange-coloured classic varieties, love to seduce gently. The pumpkin flavours are quite delicate, restrained and easily dominated by the more expressive wine varieties. Consequently, delicate flavours are in high demand. Silvaner, Rivaner and Chasselas from Baden are perfect companions for lightly seasoned pumpkin side dishes. The flavours of the light-yellow butternut also enjoy being drenched in a delicate Pinot Gris with its harmonious nutty-buttery aromas. Pinot Gris also makes for a delightful alliance with white pumpkins and their flavours reminiscent of young beets. Those are also well rounded off by classic Rieslings.

Sweet and sour pumpkin preserves are a popular variation and a real challenge for a wine companion. A semi-dry Riesling or Gewürztraminer is the perfect partner for this potpourri dominated by acidity and sweetness. And even venturing a combination with a mild Riesling Spätlese can be a delectable choice.

Pumpkin desserts offer a wide variety of flavours and are exceptionally flexible. Try slightly fruity pumpkin pastry on an afternoon, with a mild and fruity wine such as Riesling Auslese as the companion of choice. Or tickle your taste buds with the opulence of pumpkin cake prepared with almonds and caramelized nuts, which prefers a wine companion that is its equal in seductive sweetness with spicy aromas. Pair it with a delicate Riesling Beerenauslese and indulge yourself with a true culinary highlight.


Fotocredits: iStock_Olha_Afanasieva, iStock_Maya23K, iStock_Berezko, iStock_Silberkorn