Wine and Tomatoes at Cru

August 20 2009, 11:13 AM
I was intrigued---and a little perplexed---when the wine bar Cru announced a special August menu planned around locally grown tomatoes. I'm all for the summer harvest, but tomatoes are notoriously difficult to pair with wine. Perhaps trying the dishes with a number of pours---Cru offers several wine-flight groupings of three wines each---would lead to the perfect pairing. As expected, the heirloom beefsteak tomato salad was tasty but a wine lover's nightmare, with acidic tomatoes, tart honey balsamic vinaigrette, and sharp onions. In search of the perfect accompaniment, my dining companion and I tasted two flights of white wine. After several misses (namely the 2007  Trivento Torrontes Select, which was too fruity to offset the acid in the tomatoes) we declared the Domaine Schlumberger "Les Princes Abbes" Pinot Blanc '06 the winner. It's well balanced and tastes slightly sweet against the dish. Much easier to pair was the roasted heirloom-tomato pizza with fresh mozzarella and basil pesto. The tomatoes were cooked, which made it easier on the wine, and the cheesy pizza had more substance overall. The wine flight winner? Atteca Old Vine Garnacha '07. The Grenache is fruity enough to clear the palate of garlicky pesto, but still has enough body to stand up to the concentrated tomato flavor. Tip: Acidic, fruit-forward white wines such as Riesling, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc tend to pair best with raw tomatoes; Sangiovese and Malbec are better with cooked. 1442 Larimer St., 303-893-9463