Blackberry Farm

Friends of the Farm

Wine and Tomatoes

During this time of year, there’s one ingredient that none of us can ever seem to get enough of and that’s fresh tomatoes from our gardens. We make sandwiches with them, we eat them with just salt and pepper and generally simply enjoy this wonderful ingredient while it’s at its peak of flavor versus the mealy, tasteless tomatoes that are available in grocery stores the rest of the year.
 
These ripe tomatoes are juicy, fruity, sweet, acidic and even vegetal and savory. For wine pairing, all of that can be a problem. When talking about food and wine pairing, we (Joseph and I) almost always discuss the idea of “leaving room” for the wine in a pairing. That might mean leaving a certain dish in need of one more flavor to make it whole – the idea of leaving that squeeze of lemon off of a fish dish so that an acidic wine will do the job that the lemon would otherwise have done.
 
But a ripe tomato is nearly perfect, and can complete a dish as any chef could create and it doesn’t leave much room for wine. So what do you do? Well, we tried a number of different wines with some fresh local tomatoes and we found that you can enjoy wine and tomatoes but the pairing is more in the spirit of the season of freshness and the need to be refreshed than it in necessarily finding a perfect fit.
 
High acid white wines are a match. Gruner Veltliners from Austria and Pinot Grigios from northern Italy are a perfect quenching accompaniment to the tomatoes presence on your palate.
 
Additionally, dry rosé wines which seem to abound this time of year (coincidence, I think not!) are another refreshing and slightly savory pairing for a tomato – just imagine a juicy tomato sandwich with a cold glass of coral-pink dry rosé from southern France – it makes my mouth water.
 
As for reds, I tended to strike out more than I wanted to. The tomatoes made most of the reds that I tried seem overly thin, tannic and earthy.
 
So there you have it. Tomatoes are a wonderful, seasonal treat that hit our tables for only a short time. During this time, it’s okay to simply enjoy some thirst quenching, refreshing, lively wines. Summer’s all about relaxing anyways.
 
Andy Chabot
Director of Food & Beverage