Monday, September 17, 2007

Tomatoes and wine

My friend Bradley mailed me a Chicago Tribune article by Bill Daley, about matching fresh tomatoes with wine. (You can read the article here.) He personally dislikes fresh tomatoes, but being the good friend that he is, he indulged my weirdness and passed along the article.

I was intrigued. I'm not much of a wine connoisseur. I have my favorites, but mostly I'm happy to buy decent local wines in the very cheap range (under $10, better if under $7). It sounded fun to try my own taste test, so I scoured my grocery store for possibilities. Granted, the grocery store doesn't have the best wine selection, but it is readily available on a Sunday afternoon. I had hoped to find a Barbera, but no dice. The article also recommends a Pouilly Fume (way out of my price range at $20), but I did find a couple of bottles of Fume Blanc. In the end, I went for the inexpensive Hogue, screwtop and all, at $5.60. (I've bought Hogue reds before, and thought they were okay.)

I went home and prepared my taste test. I had tomatoes that I'd bought at the farmers' market on Saturday, which were very, very ripe. I cut one in half, salted it, and bit into its achingly red flesh. It didn't have a lot of acid to it -- quite sweet, actually. Then I sipped the Fume Blanc. It was too acidic for the tomato.

So, I decided to pick one of my slowly-ripening tomatoes in the front yard. It wasn't totally ripe, but it was fairly close. I prepared it in the same manner as the farmers' market tomato, and found it much more acidic. Now, the wine actually tasted great with the tomato! I really didn't think a white wine could be so appropriate, but it was.

Thanks for the adventure, Bradley. I may get a Barbera yet, since I have a few tomatoes that may ripen before the frost.

1 comment:

Bradley said...

My pleasure. You're not the first person I've driven to drink.

Bill Daley periodically has such wine/food pairing puzzle articles(who are those people whose job it is to be on his tasting panel anyway?).

Apart from a handful of classic successes or horrors, pairing guidelines currently run the gamut from byzantine through laissez-faire ("eh, drink what you like, and if you ever stumble into a terrible combination, just don't do that again"). Generally they make my head hurt (which, strictly speaking, isn't supposed to happen until afterward).