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27 July 2005

Wine Rx: Acid Injection via Tomato

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...

AceticThe 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

CherrytomatoesGreek Style Cherry Tomatoes
1 lbs fresh, ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup chopped green onions
4-5 oz feta cheese, crumbled
3 T chopped fresh parsley
1 T chopped fresh dill
2-3 T extra-virgin olive oil

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

TavelroseThe 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).


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Jaml Williams

The Tavel Rose discussed in this article is one of the most prestigious roses in the world. It comes from a region where only roses are produced. It is served in most of the finest restaraunts in France. Hint: This IS a food wine made to compliment the foods from the region. So, to rate this wine on the basis of drinking it alone with out food, is just, well, uneducated. If you want a good cocktail rose, try an Italian rose made from Montepultiano D'Abruzzo, just a suggestion.


Take a gander around this blog, you'll find that we're actually not uneducated. Being somewhat critical of a particular Tavel isn't a sign of ignorance, it's the sign of someone evaluating an $18 wine.

Just because a wine happens to be from a prestigous region, doesn't automatically make it great. Numerous other factors come into play - vintage and producer being two of the most obvious. This Tavel didn't shine. However, I've had many that did.

If you're looking for the winesnob sandbox, this aint it.


I read, as you couldn't have stated any more clearly or succinctly Beau, that this Tavel is a bit overrated 18 Georges.( That's what they call dollars on the street Jaml.) Word. And since I read you regularly and know your palate, I believe you but realize I could possibly feel differently, at a different time, with a different meal, or chugging it from a snorkel. Such is wine.

Hey Jaml! buddy. Use it. It's free.

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