In nearly any food and wine pairing situation, the question is: What foods will pair well with my chosen wine?
I experimented with a little food-wine chemistry last night and turned the tables on this question...
The Wine: Chateau d’Aqueria Tavel, ’04 ($18)
The Problem: This is a pleasant little rosé. Yet, for eighteen bucks I yearn for more pizzazz and complexity.
The Hypothesis: Crisp, mouth-watering wines (high acid:sugar ratio) wake up the taste buds and enable a diner to taste complexities in otherwise subtle food. So why not wake up taste buds with acidic food and enable a wine lover to taste complexities in otherwise subtle/bland wine?
The Experiment: Acid injection via perfectly ripe tomatoes
Mix ingredients in bowl and allow to rest at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.
This little concoction can be served over penne, angel hair, or baguette toasts
The Result: I sipped my chilled rosé while preparing this recipe. And I wasn’t impressed. The wine wasn’t bad, but it didn’t really do a whole lot in my mouth. However, after a few bites of high acid tomatoes and salty feta, the wine woke up. In addition to vague berry scents and flavors, I detected a little sweet spice, along with some pepper. My wine didn’t completely come alive, but it did tickle my tongue rather than doze on top of it.
The Conclusion: Sometimes it pays to think about what food can do to liven up timid vino. Tasting the ’04 Tavel by itself, I would have awarded it two stars. Yet paired with tomatoes & co., I gave it three stars (out of 5).