Sure there are a few tricky foods in the wine-o-sphere: asparagus, artichokes and eggs, come to mind immediately.
But trial and error proves time and again that for eggs there is always sparkling wine (and the higher the acid, and finer the bubbles the better, me thinks). For asparagus you can try Albarino, the Spanish white varietal that is low in alcohol, high in acid and lanolin-like in texture and is as food-loving as they come. In fact, this is my usual go-to for trickier pairings like super spicy fare or a redmeat-centric dish that would really do better with a red wine or even a rose, but where a white is required.
In my mind, artichokes are actually the biggest wine challenge – and in truth, this is probably a pre-conceived notion that I have because as much as I absolutely love them, they are such a pain to work with that I rarely prepare them myself. Leave it to my good friend, a wonderful cook, to invite me over for dinner and make them! Fortunately she gave me the heads up so I could ponder the pairing for a little bit. She also told me that the main protein would be monkfish – so my playing field was happily narrowed: a white wine would be the best route to take.
As alluded above, bubbly is certainly a safe bet when it comes to tricky pairings. But I wasn’t in the mood for full-throttle bubbles or too much toasty richness; and Prosecco doesn’t strike me as a sparkling with enough pungency or pizazz to fight back in the Table-side Food Challenge Throwdown that was presented. Something with tang seemed more like it. Something that had enough ‘muscle’ to stand up to the ‘choke was needed.
Tocai came to mind, but didn’t win me over. So did New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Torrontes – but I wondered if their pungency would actually be too much. And I really do think a little bubble and low alcohol goes a long way, so I perused my esoteric bubbly wine options instead. A lightly Sparkling Gruner called PUNKT was tempting, but I wasn’t sure the fruit and tang would come through enough to stand its ground. Then my eye caught sight of this bizarre and awesome wine called La Tosa.
La Tosa has historically been the ultimate zesty, fresh white wine with just a hint of sparkle. But last vintage the twin brothers who make it decided to go full-on in the bubble department – and the new version of its former self is killer. Still a blend of Malvasia, Trebbiano, and Ortrugo grapes, lemon-lime flavors absolutely pop on the palate and an awesome fresh herbal note adds intrigue. Lively acidity brings it all on home. I thought, what the heck?, and grabbed a bottle to chill.
Once around the table with my pasta bowl in front of me, I dove right in to the supposed wine-killer: the artichokes. Then I saddled up to my wine glass, breathed in the fresh bouquet and took a big sip. It was delicious! Each element stood its ground in ideal harmony – the artichokes danced while the wine sang. VICTORY.
What wasn’t so hot was the La Tosa with dessert: Gummi Bears. It was down right foul. I took a mental note to save that challenge for another day!
What would you pair with Gummi Bears?