Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Scallops, Grits, Carrots And Carrot-top Pesto With 2013 San Salvatore Falanghina

Crap. Now all I can think about is "hilarious" Carrot Top jokes.

Here are two elements, taken from an April Bloomfield recipe in Saveur, that taste like fancy-pants food: roasted carrots and carrot-top pesto. And they're versatile as heck. Put it with beef, roasted chicken, whatever. Because the protein is simply going to become a garnish to the superlative flavor in the carrots and pesto. Like the scallops did here.

Food: scallops, white corn grits, roasted carrots And carrot-top pesto

White corn grits on the plate, seared scallops nestled into the pile, big pile of carrot-top pesto glopped on the side, piles of carrots surrounding the grits. Basil on top, lemon spritz. Mix and match how you want. Perfect carrot roast and texture. Nutty, garden-y pesto (here, subbing pistachios for walnuts). Tasted like spring with a nod to winter. Or winter with a nod to spring. Comforting, fresh, balanced, chockablock with flavors flying everywhere. We loved this. Eat it.

Wine: 2013 San Salvatore Falanghina del Beneventano Campania IGT ($19 - Vin Chicago)

I've drunk the vast majority of bargain falanghina available in Chicago through my job. Most offer simple citrus, bit of minerals, a nod to something floral, but, in the end, they're southern Italian pinot grigio. Many of the components of an interesting white are there, but most are in too much of a rush to tell you their story. They're loud, they're brash, and frankly, they're boring because they're so loud, brash, and so quick to tell you how interesting they are. Here's one that's not. The San Salvatore (story here) is more calm, slower to reveal its tasty nuggets. Medium-bodied with a clean frame, offering white peach, citrus and green apple, sharp-edged minerals and a 'smacking of the lips' acidity. And it takes its time getting to the finish. Worth $19? Yes. Just. It doesn't inspire comparisons to great Sicilian white wine, or its Campanian companions of fiano, coda di volpe or even greco di Tufo at times, that can reach higher heights. It just takes falanghina, which is basically a patio sipper most of the time, and gives you a couple of extra notes to make you forget it's basically a patio sipper. Sunshine in a bottle.

Pairing: Very nice stuff

Not perfect, but very happy with this one. This wine was quite alive and jumpy, but it took a cue from the food and settled down, resting into a more graceful pairing buddy with the food. Clunky at times, but a good clunky, because flavors were jumping on the plate and in the glass. Not a well-produced play, more like a great Improv show where, as you're walking out, you say, "That was really fun."

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