Wine and Tomatoes

The tomato. It's a fickle fruit and in the winter when the offerings are firm, pale and tasteless, I find that roasting brings out some flavour; I have been doing this a lot over the past months and, quite frankly, it's one of the things I'm going to miss about winter. There is nothing like the aroma of roasted tomatoes wafting through the house as they slowly shrivel in the oven. So I have been roasting and shoring them up in jars filled with olive oil for those hot summer days when I'm craving that particular sweet and tart snack: good as an accompaniment to grilled meat, adds a little perk to pasta sauce or guacamole, best (I think) just straight-up on a slice of bread. They'll hold me over until the ripe, juicy and fresh versions are ready to be plucked from my garden.

Tomatoes are actually quite difficult to pair with wine. They are acidic when raw and sweet when cooked. They have a very particular earthy flavour and can come in a variety of textures.  It's recommended to pair raw tomatoes with a crisp white wine - a match in acidity - and cooked tomatoes are often paired with a red wine that can stand up to the acid (because even when cooked, the tomato retains a mouth-watering quality).

I've been snacking on those roasted tomatoes and since it's hot in Ontario this week, yes, HOT! I wanted a cold, white wine to imbibe. This bottle from Flat Rock Cellars is a blend of Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Chardonnay. It's definitely got a crisp bite on the palate with plenty of citrus fruit and even a slightly bitter finish. All that tartness is balanced out with a hint of honey, mango and a little minerality: great for a warm evening's sipping. The roasted tomatoes paired nicely, balancing out the acidity and enhancing the fruity quality of the wine. If you can't find a similar wine in your neighbourhood, try an unoaked Chardonnay, or an off-dry Riesling.

This is a lot of talk about tomatoes, so if you are still reading at this point, go and roast yourself some tomatoes (slice them, lay them on a tray with a bit of olive oil, and leave them in a 150 degree oven). When they are nice and wrinkled, cover them in garlic and olive oil, and slather that on a fresh slice of baguette with a sprinkling of coarse salt and some fresh basil. Then, pop the cork on a bottle of crisp white wine and see how you like it.


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