Beans

Jukes Wine And Food Beans

With baked beans you need simply to find fruity, berry-driven reds because the tomato sauce flavour is so dominant and it takes over the palate. Any youthful reds with refreshing acidity, such as those from the Loire, Spain, South Africa, South America or Italy, will work well. Remember to keep the price down – it’s not worth spending over a tenner for a beans-on-toast wine unless you are a little loopy or feeling flash! Not surprisingly, anything goes with green beans, as they are the least flavoursome of veggies. You’d have to mince along with a light, dry white to let a green bean truly express itself! Tuscan bean salad needs slightly chilled, light-bodied reds or fresh, zingy whites to cut through the earthy flavours. If you throw some beans into a stew (‘more beans Mr Taggart?’), such as cassoulet or any of a wide variety of Spanish dishes, then Grenache/Carignan-blends from the south of France (Fitou, Corbières, Faugères or Minervois), or Garnacha-based wines from Spain (Navarra, Terra Alta, Priorato, Campo de Borja, Calatayud or Tarragona) will easily deal with the beanie ballast. Black bean sauce requires a few moments of meditation and trepidation. The curious, oil slick texture and intensity of dark sweetness must be countered by huge, juicy, mouth-filling, velvety smooth reds – Zinfandel is the only red grape brave enough to cope. Refried beans, either in tacos or other Mexican dishes, have a fair degree of earthy sludginess that needs either rich whites like a bright New World Chardonnay (Chile, South Africa and Australia make the best value) or fresh, fruity reds. I would try Bonarda, Sangiovese or Tempranillo from Argentina as a starting point, then head over to Chile for some Carmenère or Merlot if you have no joy. My favourite bean is the noble cannellini, the base for all great bean-frenzy soups. What should you uncork? Sorry, but you’ll have to wait with spoon and glass at the ready for the ‘Soup’ entry below.