Monday, July 28, 2008

Pesto & ... ?

It's hot out, now. At last! Paris is balmy, perfect for biking off to a park and lying splayed on the grass with a book and a bunch of newspapers.

Coming home, I walk through the entrance to my building and the concierge's apartment is there to the right. The concierge and family being Portuguese, there are often delicious, garlicky scents wafting through the metal grate that covers their door. (Along with the sounds of the bandeleon her husband plays, some evenings.)

Sizzling bell peppers, or the sharp smell of frying sardines make me want to cook up flavors of the south, too.

So the other day, I bought a big bunch of basil.

Pesto is god's gift to... well, the pleasures of the palate and stomach. Pasta with good pesto is just plain hedonism.

But what on earth do you drink with it?

I made a big batch so that we could have it more than once (varying the pasta cut and shape to "update" it with a "riff" - or something like that). The first time, we went for a robust, garrigue-y southern French red.

Nah. It did nothing against the pine nuts and pecorino romano.

So, the second time, I pulled out an odd bird. We'd biked down to the Butte aux Cailles neighborhood in the 13th a couple of weekends ago and stopped in at a wine store, where the engaging young caviste offered us a taste of a white from the small Languedoc appellation Saint-Georges d'Orcques.

Of course, afterward, the poor bottles we bought had to go rattling along in the bike basket as we rode over cobblestones, up hills and through traffic circles. But they made it home more or less intact.

2007 Domaine de la Prose Coteaux du Languedoc Saint-Georges d'Orcques "Cadières" - this is about half Vermentino, with a bit of Roussane and Viognier to round it out. I like what those other grapes do to smooth and flesh out the spiky, lean Vermentino grape. The wine is simple yet exact, refreshing yet hostile on the attack, like someone you're unsure will be your friend or your enemy. Like someone from the south of France who has his own sense of conviviality and also of curtness. I like this wine. It's friendlier than Corsican Vermentino, by a hair. And it goes well with pesto.


Nancy Deprez said...

How about pairing it with German Riesling? :)

David McDuff said...

I do love pesto. And, Vermentino makes perfect sense, as it's the primary white variety grown in Liguria, where pesto is a traditional condiment. I've also had reasonably good luck with pinks from Provence and northern Italy.

Sharon said...

David, good logic...

Nancy, German Riesling is hard to come by around these parts... Though I do have one bottle a Belgian friend brought me, so maybe next time I will give that a try!

cellar rat said...

Sharon, what a thought to try Vermentino! Glad it paired well. We've done pesto and prawns with Bandol rose. Works like a charm.