Monday, February 23, 2009

The Spaghetti Problem Solved!

It's the age-old question: what wine to have with spaghetti and marinara sauce? Duh, you say, Chianti! ...Really? You sure about that? 'Cause these days, Chianti (and pretty much any red wine you care to name) is made in a mellower, lower-acid style, making it ineffective when put up against the acidity and fruitiness of a marinara sauce. I can't tell you how many different red wines I've tried in this situation with ruinous results. The wines just can't hack it, and end up tasting like dark, twisted versions of their normally harmonious and delightful selves.

So the other day I was revisiting this problem and I thought well, maybe I should just give up on the red wine and go with a nice, crisp...white wine. Silence. A dog barked in the distance. A stranger standing in the shadows eyed me from a distance while he struck a match against the wall, lit a cigarette, and pretended that he wasn't watching me. At the same time his menacing eyes warned me that he couldn't be blamed for what might happen to me if I followed through with this barbarism.

Tonight, the chance to test my theory arose. With the marinara simmering on the stove, I dashed to the cellar and pulled the crispest, fruitiest wine I've got: the 2007 Eleven Sauvignon Blanc. To stand up to the sauce would take a gutsy white, and this wine's got loads of flavor. Served it at cellar temperature (about 55), not chilled, in order to avoid temperature shock in the mouth between the warm sauce and the cool wine (ok, so the real reason was because I wasn't planning ahead - but it worked out!). By now you can probably guess the result: this was a dynamite pairing, the kind that makes you glad to be alive and to have a mouth. I strongly recommend that you order several bottles immediately, just so that you have them on hand next time you're having spaghetti, pizza, lasagna, or any other marinara-based dish.