Jukes Wine And Food Aubergine

If the aubergines are served grilled, with pesto or olive oil, garlic and basil, as always, you must identify the most dominant flavours in the dish. In both recipes they are the same – garlic and basil – so tackle them with dry Sauvignon Blanc or keen, white Italians like Verdicchio, Pinot Bianco, Inzolia, Fiano or Falanghina. Plain aubergine dishes are fairly thin on the ground as these glossy, sleek, black beauties are often used within vegetarian recipes (for example, ratatouille or caponata). If cheese or meat (moussaka) is involved, these more dominant flavours take over from the aubergines, so light, youthful reds are required. Southern Italian or Sicilian Primitivo, Nero d’Avola or Aglianico, southern French Grenache-based blends, Chilean Carmenère or Spanish Garnacha are all good matches (and great value, too). Just make sure they are not too ponderous or alcohol heavy. If the dish is ‘hotter’ or spicier, or the aubergines are stuffed, you will need a more feisty, characterful red, but don’t be tempted by anything too heady (avoid tannic red grapes like Cabernet, Pinotage, Nebbiolo, Zinfandel and Malbec). Imam bayildi, the classic aubergine, onion, olive oil and tomato dish, is a winner with juicy, slightly chilled Chilean Merlot, youthful, bright purple Valpolicella, spicy Sardinian Cannonau or black-fruit-imbued Italians – Barbera d’Alba, Dolcetto d’Alba, Carmignano, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or Morellino di Scansano.