The basic rule for pairing wine with tomatoes

Tomatoes — or more accurately, their acidity — might seem like a problem when you’re choosing a wine to pair with them. But as with most other foods, my advice is: Don’t be scared. Remember to match acid with acid. Acidic foods make wines taste less acidic. So tart wines will taste fruitier when paired with tomatoes, while richer wines will skew toward the flabby side.

So for fresh tomatoes, think crisp, summery wines such as rosé. Rosé means summer, so tomatoes drenched in olive oil and sprinkled with basil are a perfect match. The olive oil softens the tomatoes’ acidity, as does the mozzarella in a Caprese salad. And don’t forget that bubbles go with everything. A sparkling wine, especially a rosé, can match the acidity of the tomatoes and emphasize the fruits flavors in the wine.

“Tomatoes are not really hard to pair with wine,” says Nadine Brown, chief sommelier at Charlie Palmer Steak on Capitol Hill. “There is just a short list of things that don’t work, like big tannic reds or oaky chardonnays.” Such full-bodied, oaky and tannic wines will clash with the fresh acidity of tomatoes. After all, you want your wine to make love to your food, not duke it out.


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