If there is one ingredient that would be the most difficult to pair wine with, it’s definitely a tomato! BUT depending on the way you prepare it, there are some different possibilities.
The biggest problem of the tomato is it’s acidity. Nevertheless if you take for example a cherry tomato or a “Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio DOP” you might have different opportunities.
The cold dishes
Lets start with a typical Caprese salad. Something very fresh and ideal for a hot summer day.
The Wrong thing to do: Bad news for the vinegar lovers. It gets very hard to pair acidity of the tomatoes with the acidity of vinegar and above it the acidity of a wine. Acid + Acid + Acid = Acid ³ = not a good idea. Unless you like your dental fillings to explode. One exception is adding a premium Balsamico, but the real one! Minimum 4 years old!
Try to add some premium extra virgin olive oil and a small pitch of salt. Acidity and salt go well together and can higher the sugary taste impression of your wine.
Perfect pairing with a Caprese: a very light elegant rosé! I’m sorry for the Spanish wine lovers, but they won’t do the thrick. Better to take a light Provence or Chiaretto rosé. Even a Blanc de Noir Spätburgunder or a Rosé from Zweigelt should do the thrick.
But if you really want it to pair with a red wine you should try something light and fresh like a Beaujolais or a Dolcetto.
What if you really want to eat your salad with a Spanish Navarra Rosé?
Try to add some pieces of watermelon to make everything fresher and smoother. It will fit much better with the fruitiness of those rosé types. Add some chopped red onions to spice things up. I like to add some very small amount of mint with these type of dishes.
The warm dishes
Now here you can do more funky things with the pairing as the acidity of tomato lowers down and you can also make it spicy.
Lets start with something simpel: “stuffed tomatoes” one of my favorites! You can stuff it with vegetables, rice, cheese, but I prefer with ground beef / pork. Try to buy it mixed so you’ll have the texture of the beef and a bit more fat from the pork which gives more flavors to the whole dish. Don’t let yourself influence by the winelaw meat = red wine. Try some oaked white wines. A good Californian Chardonnay, a German Grauburgunder, a Chenin Blanc from the Loire or an Portugese Antoa Vaz… I’m getting hungry over here. It’s allowed to use some garlic with these type of dishes as long as you stick to the white wines!
Who doesn’t like a good Osso Buco? You can make this dish in a normal or spicy style. Depending on how you make it, you’ll have to adapt your wine. Want to make a spicy one? Only one grape comes to mind when I smell this dish. A Tuscan Sangiovese and if possible a real blockbuster. Thinking of a Montecucco Sangiovese Riserva or a Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Preferably a mono-varietal wine. Don’t try a Brunello di Montalcino as they have a bit more tannins that don’t always fit well with this type of food. If you don’t like spicy Osso Buco try a a lighter form of wine like a Chianti or even a Barbera d’Alba.
Want to eat some pasta with tomatoes? Don’t buy the canned tomatoes but use passata instead. Now here is the catch! There is no decent Arrabiata pasta without garlic. In fact there is no decent pasta at all without garlic. Try to avoid red wines with spicy garlic pasta’s. I do not recommend to use a sweet or semi dry wine with this type of spicy dishes. Instead try some aromatic dry wines. For exemple a Traminer from Alto Adige, A dry Muscat wine or Viognier from the South of France or a Gelber Muskateller from Austria. Be sure to be informed that the wine is dry! And why not try it with some dry sherry!
I think you have enough ideas to make your own tomato party at home now. Enjoy!