Tomato Pie Night is one of the best nights of the year. Every summer, when the tomatoes are ripe and the basil is fragrant, my dear and wonderful friend makes the world’s best tomato pie. Beautiful layers of fresh heirloom tomatoes, basil, high quality olive oil, spices, provolone, mozzarella, and other fresh cheeses go into the pie pan to make a symphony of culinary wonderment. Usually, Italian sausages accompany the tomato pie along with, of course, a perfectly paired wine. Tomato Pie Night is often followed with another amazingly made dessert pie or cobbler. Sometimes peach, sometimes berry, sometimes chocolate, but always delicious. If I had to choose my all-time favorite meal, Tomato Pie Night is one of the top three. Not that it matters to this post, but since you are probably wondering what my other two favorite meals are, it would be fresh Maine lobster (no roll, no butter, preferably soft shell), and my daily bowl of oatmeal. Sounds boring, but you’ve never tried my oatmeal!
Last night was Tomato Pie Night, and I couldn’t have been more excited. I already picked out a wine that I thought would go perfectly: 2009 Starry Night Old Vine Zinfandel from Nervo Station Vineyard in the Alexander Valley, California. We had a mix of Sweet basil pesto and sun dried tomato chicken sausages, and my friend also prepared a peach pie.
The wine and dinner food pairing was almost a match made in heaven…4/5 grapes. The blackberry and cassis jammy flavors of the Zinfandel complimented the sweetness of the sausages as well as the tomatoes and basil from the pie. I detected a hint of anise in the wine, which also brought out the basil flavor of the pie. The texture of the wine was velvety and smooth with low tannins, which heightened the melted gooeyness of the cheese. I would not, however, drink the wine with the peach pie. While I drank most of my wine by dessert time, I tried a little bit together, and between the sweetness of the pie and the jammy flavors of the Zin, it was too much fruit and sourness.
Why was the wine and dinner almost a match made in heaven and not a complete match in heaven? Ordinarily, the Starry Night Zinfandels are wonderful, no matter what the vintage. However, due to some unfortunate placement of where I stored my wine, the wine was just beginning to turn to vinegar. When already bottled wine goes through frequent temperature changes or exposed to higher heat, it oxidizes quicker, and the wine begins to turn vinegary. Living in the swamp of DC, on the top floor of an older apartment building where the AC can’t decide if it wants to work or not, my apartment often fluctuates between 70 and 85 degrees. Luckily, only one or two bottles have been affected, and they didn’t completely spoil. This wine is still good, but you can just start to taste some vinegar. Oh well. Guess I should drink it quickly! Maybe I should invest in a wine fridge?
*Thank you, (friend who knows who he or she is), for dinner last night! It was absolutely delicious!*
Wine: Red White and Bleu ($18.99)