Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More Fresh Perspective

I only drink red!

(January 21, 2009) Twain Harte, CA
Amazing to me hearing these words, “I only drink red” considering most people don’t recognize more than a handful of grape varieties in a world of thousands. Sad really, because many people cannot tell the difference between red or white wine through taste alone.
A narrow and limited method of choosing a wine to drink with food by limiting oneself to one color of wine is possibly derogatory to many foods and against the misconceived concept, that one should drink what one likes best, as a match with their food. The notion of drinking my favorite wine with any food is noticeably incorrect in comparison to when an appropriate pairing is experienced.
Wine consumption is not merely for alcohol intake and the resulting intoxication. In my opinion, regardless of color, wine is supposed to make food taste better and food is supposed to make wine taste better. Why limit one’s self? It is a detriment to the enhancement of pleasure of taste to choose just any wine to pair with any food. Granted, once the intoxicative properties start to take effect then even bad wine and mediocre food will taste better. But do they compliment each other to the point of making a memory of cosmic gastronomic experience proportions? Rarely does this occur.
I have sat at many dinner tables discussing this very issue. Often wine and food pairings are severely eschewed. Either, the wine completely covers up the flavor in foods or the wines subtle pleasurable characteristics disappear in the wake of a foods overpowering presence. In today’s market of boutique style wines of overly alcoholic, imbalanced fruit bombs, this is a common occurrence. Or bulk wine producers with their thin and watery grape juice style wines, the disappearing effect of food flavor is so prevalent you might as well just drink water and have a cocktail.
My search for white, pink or red wine to create that match made in heaven at the dinner table is always gratified by my guests’ comments of “I only drink red but this was an exceptional combination of wine and food”. For all the “red” lovers try this for a paradigm shift.

Coppo “Passione” Brachetto D’Acqui $24.00

A bright crimson cast, gushing with ripe strawberry and raspberry scents echoed by the same flavors. An enthusiastic zip, creating a snappy finish with just enough sweetness to let you know you are enjoying a beverage of fruit. But it has enough of a structure to hold up against hearty pasta and is a wine that is equally comfortable with a main course or a final one.

Pasta alla Casalinga

8 ounces pasta such as Spaghetti, linguine or vermicelli
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups San Marzano tomatoes, coarsely ground
4 anchovy filets, rinsed and chopped
2 tablespoons Sicilian sun dried tomato paste
3 tablespoons caper berries
20-pitted Kalamata olives
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon of crushed dried oregano flowers
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh basil leaves
¼ cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
Heat oil in a skillet over low heat; cook garlic in oil until golden. Add sieved tomatoes, and cook 5 minutes. Stir in anchovies, tomato paste, capers, olives, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Toss pasta with sauce, top with Parmigiano Reggiano and serve.


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