These Awesome Veal Wine Pairings Will Level Up Your Dinner Game

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Pairing wine with veal is one of those simple pleasures that can turn an ordinary meal into something really special. But let’s be real, figuring out what wines mesh well with veal’s delicate flavors can seem downright puzzling if you’re new to this game. No need to stress though, I’m breaking it all down into easy-to-follow tips that’ll have you nailing veal wine pairings like a pro in no time.

Reds for Veal Wine Pairing? You Betcha!

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I know what you’re thinking – red wine with delicate veal, isn’t that a flavor mismatch? Not at all, you just need to pick the right lighter-bodied, fruit-forward reds. A versatile bottle like Mark West Pinot Noir ($11) is an awesome option to get started. Its bright red berry and cherry notes play so nicely with veal’s mild taste, almost like they were made for each other. Pinot’s gentle tannins don’t overwhelm, letting those tender veal flavors truly shine.

But we’re just getting warmed up here. For richer veal preparations with more oomph, step it up to something like the $15 Castello Banfi Rosso di Montalcino. This Italian gem brings pleasantly ripe plum and black cherry smoothness to the table that complements heartier, saucier veal dishes beautifully without being a heavy hitter.

If you want to change it up from the usual suspects, an Italian Barbera can offer a fun twist, especially for those tomato-based veal staples we all know and love. Something like the La Spinetta Barbera d’Asti ($18) can be an absolute killer pairing for a classic veal parm. This vibrant red’s zingy acidity and juicy red fruit slices right through all that glorious cheesy-tomatoey richness to let those tender veal flavors get their well-deserved spotlight.

And don’t sleep on Merlot for veal! I’m a big fan of the plush Black Box Merlot ($7 for 3L box) as an incredible value pick. Its velvety texture and dark plum notes provide the perfect rich-but-not-too-rich complement for slower-cooked veal dishes like an herb-rubbed braised veal shank. Talk about elevated comfort food!

When Whites are Right

As much as I’m a red wine lover, I’d be remiss not to highlight some choice white wines that play so well with veal’s delicate and nuanced flavors. An affordable but quality pick like the rich and toasty La Crema Chardonnay ($16) makes a stellar partner for cream-sauced veal or sumptuous roasted veal tenderloin. Those buttery, subtly oaked notes enhance all that luxurious textural goodness.

But if you want to brighten things up and lighten the mood a bit, look no further than a zesty Sauvignon Blanc like the crisp and herbaceous Sunbrook ($9) or citrusy Cape Mentelle ($22) versions. These zippy whites are just made for veal preparations that feature bright herby or lemony flavors, letting those fresh accents sing out loud and proud.

And you can seriously never go wrong with an easy-drinking, food-friendly Pinot Grigio like Santa Margherita ($21) or Cavit ($8) for chilled veal dishes or ones with a seafood twist like veal tonnato. Their light, clean, crisply refreshing character lets veal’s delicate nuances take the main stage without any undue competition.

Don’t forget to explore some fun offdry whites too! A versatile bottle like Pacific Rim’s Haden Fig Riesling ($11) with its bright lemony crispness backed by just a whisper of sweetness can play so well with simply prepared veal cutlets or scaloppine’s lemon-butter pan sauces.

Next-Level Dish-Specific Pairing Recs

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Okay, now that we’ve covered the high-level categories, let’s dive into some truly stellar specific wine pairing recommendations to complement classic, crave-worthy veal preps:

Veal Piccata: With its bright, briny lemon-caper sauce, you’ll want to reach for an equally zippy, citrusy white wine that can mimic and amplify those effervescent flavors. My top picks? The zesty grapefruit and mineral notes in the Sunbrook Sauv Blanc or the classic floral lemon-lime vibes of Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio. With wines like these on your side, veal piccata is going to pop like never before.

Veal Parmesan: You need a bold, structured red wine that won’t back down to all that gloriously rich, cheesy-tomatoey goodness gracing this iconic veal dish. A gutsy, dark-fruited Chianti like the outstanding Ruffino Riserva Ducale ($19) is my go-to with its juicy black cherry and plum notes framed by solid,Food-friendly tannins to easily cut through and complement the hearty flavors. If you prefer something a touch smoother, the Black Box Merlot is another wallet-friendly gem.

Veal Saltimbocca: The combination of salty prosciutto, aromatic sage, and tender veal is an umami-bomb made in culinary heaven – but it needs the right wine to truly sing. I love the textural interplay of a creamy, oaked white like that La Crema Chardonnay, with its subtle buttery notes providing the perfect foil for all those savory flavors. Though a robust, slightly rustic Italian red like the Banfi Rosso with its bright acidity and core of red berry fruit can also make for a sublime food-friendly pairing.

Veal Marsala: It seems only natural to turn to sweet Marsala wine itself when looking for a perfect partner to this classic Italian-American preparation with its rich, slightly sweet Marsala wine sauce. And you can absolutely do that on the cheap – something inexpensive but classic like the Cribari ($6) can provide seamless flavor continuity. But if you want to mix things up with a dry wine, look for a lively, medium-bodied red like the Mark West Pinot with its vibrant cherry and spice notes to offer a delicious counterpoint to the Marsala sauce.

Veal Milanese (Weiner Schnitzel-style): When veal is simply breaded and fried until crispy, you want a fresh, crisp white wine with good acidity to cut through and refresh the palate after each unctuous bite. A bright, minerally Italian Pinot Grigio like the Cavaliere d’Oro ($11) or a sizzlingly tart-and-peachy Hugel Riesling ($15) would both work beautifully in that role while complementing the dish’s simple, craveable flavors.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match these pairings with non-veal dishes either! That zesty Pacific Rim Riesling is out-of-this-world with lemon chicken. The Banfi Rosso’s lusciousness complements a hearty beef ragu. And who would say no to leftover veal parm paired with a rich but fresh Chianti? The possibilities are endless once you start thinking through which wine profiles best highlight your favorite flavors.

The Takeaway

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The number one rule to keep in mind for veal wine pairing? There are no hard and fast rules, despite what stuffier guides may profess! It’s all about thinking through how the weight, acidity, and general flavor intensity of the wine will either contrast or complement the nuances of your veal dish.

Lighter, brighter wines tend to make sense with delicately flavored veal preparations, while more full-throttled veal dishes can support richer, more robust wines. But even then, surprising harmonies can emerge – like veal marsala singing with a crisp Pinot Noir or roasted veal finding its soul mate in a creamy Chardonnay. The options are deliciously limitless!

Once you start experimenting and thinking through the flavor connections, you’ll quickly get a feel for what wine-and-veal combos make your particular tastebuds do a happy dance and what pairings fall flat. Don’t be afraid to pick up an inexpensive bottle here and there to test-drive your brilliant pairing ideas before fully committing.


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