The Grapevine

Food and Wine Pairing – Summer’s Tomato Bounty

August 23rd, 2013

With the summer harvest of farm-fresh tomatoes in full swing, here are some great pairing ideas for a variety of wines that work well with tomato dishes. [level-members]

Let’s start off with a starter: caprese salad is tough to beat, whether it includes huge, thick slabs of beefsteak tomato as a side salad or tiny grape tomatoes skewered along with basil and mozzarella. Pair it with a coastal white that has some zip to it. Forget the big, heavy wines you might pair with lesser veggies. And don’t forget German rieslings as an option!

For most, the humble BLT is diner fare, all about the bacon with the tomato a secondary component. That’s fine in February, but in August, it’s the bacon that takes a back seat. (Well, as much as bacon can take a back seat …) I’d go with something bigger and more full-bodied here. New-world style chardonnay would certainly do the trick.

Finally, let’s just get this out in the open: not every summer day is a perfect summer day. And when they’re bad, they can be really bad. So on those surprisingly raw, wet days we sometimes have to deal with, there’s always tomato soup. And since there are so many ways to make a great tomato soup, there are a great many wines to pair with it. My favorites are simple, undemanding Italian reds. They pair fantastically with Laura’s rustic homemade tomato soup. Merlot-based wines can work, as can Zinfandels and many other reds. Ask what you can about how the soup is being made and served to get the best pairing.