Moscato d’Asti Nivole 2015
“This wine rains kisses in your mouth.” –Insatiable By Gael Greene
The first Wednesday of every month is Wine Wednesday! Spectacular wines under $10.00. Yep. Under $10.00. Sometimes wine is less expensive where I am, but most of the time it’s more expensive. Hopefully that means that I will pick wines that are well below the $10.00 limit for most of you.
I will post wines that I particularly like. I am no specialist by any means, but I do love wine. I know the basics of the different varietals, what regions generally produce, how wines are made, but this space is all about preference. We all like what we like, and you might like what I like too. I will post food pairings and why those pairings are suitable for the specific wine.
Michele Chiarlo Moscato d’Asti Nivole 2015
Awards: 90 points as rated by Wine Enthusiast
Happy Wine Wednesday guys! We are halfway through the week, and I bet we could all use a glass of wine this afternoon. Well I’m here to sweeten things up…with a dessert wine! And then we’re going to go all savory with some tomato jam and goat cheese snacks. Ready? Go.
First, the wine. This is a dessert wine made of purely Moscato grapes, and it’s crafted with the d’Asti method. That means that it’s just slightly effervescent—not exactly as bubbly as a champagne or prosecco, but still lightly sparkling. Very pleasant indeed. It’s sweet, but not sickeningly so. Tasting notes: apricot and peach, lychee fruit, smooth finish with a touch of citrus acidity. A sipping wine for afternoon snacks or following a light dinner.
I always like to pair sweet wines like this with another taste or sensation that is so completely opposite that it chills everything out. I.e. something spicy, bitter, salty, or, in this case, savory! (Umami if you’re feeling all technical)
As we’ve chatted about before, umami is the fifth basic taste, and foods high in certain amino acids trigger your brain to send you a signal that something is really yummy and savory, though we still have a lot of trouble identifying umami as a taste. Anyway, there are foods like mushrooms, seaweed, yeast, and tomatoes that set off your taste buds in this savory-good way. And because we’re holding onto summer produce for as long as possible, we’ll take the last of those farmer’s market tomatoes (perhaps the less “prime” ones) and roast, roast, roast.
We put those tomatoes in the oven for a low and slow roast along with garlic, salt, and some other herbs and spices to create an absolutely to-die-for tomato spread. The roasting process concentrates the tomato flavors and leaves us with something so utterly savory you just curl up your toes and pat yourself on the back with how good you’ve done. That über savory spread is a perfect complement to our dessert wine by cutting through some of that sweetness and bringing out a few more of those acidic notes hiding in the back. Additionally, the herbs add just a touch of sage to the profile of the wine that was just sitting in the corner before—you never even saw it coming. And the sprinkling of cinnamon in the tomato spread (I swear, it’s life-changing, not weird at all) will send you right back to that initial sweet sip. And look! We’ve come full circle.
It gets even better because I must insist that you eat this spread with a smattering of soft goat cheese. The earthiness and creaminess of the goat cheese will make everything silky and contrast nicely to the sweetness and effervescence of the dessert wine.
Wow I’m hungry and thirsty now. Get on this snack and dessert wine right now guys.
6 large tomatoes
7 large cloves garlic, smashed
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Preheat the oven to 325⁰F.
- Line a 10×15 inch glass baking dish with aluminum foil. Scatter the quartered tomatoes and smashed garlic cloves in the baking dish. Drizzle the olive oil over the top. Sprinkle the cinnamon, red pepper flakes, a big pinch of salt, and a few cracks of black pepper over the top as well. Toss with your fingers to coat everything.
- Place the baking dish in the oven and cook for 2 ½-3 hours. Your kitchen will begin to smell like garlic and everything wonderful.
- At 2 ½ hours, check on your tomatoes. They should be really cooked down and soft. If you think they need a bit more time on the low heat, continue to cook for 20-30 minutes more.
- Increase the oven temp to 450⁰F and cook the tomato mixture for 20-30 minutes. After the first 15 minutes stir the tomatoes. You’ll begin to notice some darker spots in the tomatoes. We want that! So mix it all together so that the whole thing becomes just a touch smoky. Put the tomatoes back in the oven and continue to cook for another 5-15 minutes until the tomato mixture has plenty of darker brown spots. But don’t burn them please! There’s a difference.
- Remove the tomatoes from the oven and let cool to room temperature.
- When cooled, scrape all the bits into a sealable container. Enjoy on top of toasts or crackers with a smear of goat cheese. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.