Monday, August 21, 2006

It's The Wine, It's The Wine...

Tonight my husband and I shared a bottle of wine from the vineyard we stayed at on our honeymoon in Montemerano, the southern part of Tuscany. It was exactly five years and one month ago, give or take a few days, when we stayed at the serene Villa Acquaviva, a much-needed respite during our near month-long pilgrimage across our beloved country, Italia.

For some reason, tonight just seemed like the night to break into the 1996 "Bracaleta" Riserva Morellino di Scansano. We deserved the rare treat. Deep, dark, almost black red, with thick legs, and a fragrant depth, it has held up well in our non-cellar and was, in wine parlance, "drinking very well tonight" thank-you-very-much.

I roasted some cherry tomatoes tossed in olive oil, good sea salt and cracked black pepper until they popped and burst out of their skins, and slid them and their glorious pan juices over perfectly cooked penne, adding an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, ribbons of freshly pinched basil, and long shards of Grana Padano hard cheese. Served with tart salad greens, the mile long chewy-cottony baguette we picked up from today's farmer's market, this wine stole the show. It soothed our weary souls worn out from the physically and mentally taxing post-construction, post-yard sale cleanup.

Although it seemed a bit of a simple meal to serve with this lovely wine, thinking in retrospect I ought to have paired it with something more showy like a thick ribeye steak, wild mushrooms over polenta, or grilled rosemary lamb chops, I didn't. That seemed too heavy. We've had enough heavy already. We're done with heavy.

I also didn't want a boxing match of tastes going on in my mouth, punch for punch, resulting in an uneasy and weighted stomach. We've already had too much to stomach lately too. Don't need any more complications.

There's something to be said for finding the beauty in simplicity, or finding the one note of glorious decadence to exalt, highlit even more by surrounding it with an uncomplicated cast of perfectly pitched characters.

In the end it felt right to me to pair this gorgeous wine with a clean palate of freshly picked ingredients in the height of season, prepared in such a way as to bring out the very peak of flavor, their highest destiny revealed. This is the true spirit of Italian cooking. Tonight I felt I was honoring their cuisine. Simple. Elegant. Bursting with innate beingness. From soil to table. Not overly-adorned. Not drowning in sauce. Bathed in the most eloquent of wines. It soothed my weary soul.

Ahhh…bliss. Words fail even me.


Carrie Wilson Link said...

Love the metaphors! Now I'm passing your posting on to all my foodie friends, who will savor it!

Suzy said...

This post is exactly how you savor the fullest!
Great post, great writing, DON'T STOP! (please)