7.14.2013

Pairing cucumber basil gazpacho ...

july 14, 2013: bastille day! not that i did anything necessarily in honor of the french revolution. i ran about four miles, freely, in newburgh, ind. i guess that counts. maybe not.

anyway, greg came home with a 1.5 pound cucumber, and if i was going to have time to use it in a recipe, it had to be today. so i made a cucumber basil gazpacho, which was quite tasty. here's the recipe: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-07-10/features/sc-food-0705-dinner-cool-cukes-20130710_1_cucumbers-farmers-markets-celery

as for the wine, that was a bit of conundrum. typical gazpachos have tomatoes, so they're acidic. therefore, sauvignon blancs would usually be a good pairing. but this gazpacho had no acidity at all. i used one seedless jalapeno (which added more flavor than heat), and the end result was really light, fluffy, and fresh-tasting. the recipe also called for one-half cup of greek yogurt, which made this gazpacho creamy. so i was thinking a soft, somewhat buttery chardonnay would work best.

the thing is, we are a mostly red household. our basement had only three whites: a sauvignon blanc, an italian white (i think it was a torrentes), and one chardonnay. so we decided to use the chardonnay: a 2010 venge dijon clone we bought at a madeleine's wine dinner last year.

the wine was fine: 14.5 percent, buttery, intense, definitely your californian version of an imitation white burgundy. we like this wine. we've had it before.

but with the cucumber basil gazpacho? i'll be honest. i wasn't sure what the best pairing was here. google cucumber and wine pairings, and you'll get sauvignon blanc. which would be fine, if there were some acidity to the soup. but there was no acidity. the most prevalent flavor/texture was its fluffiness, its creaminess. that's what had me focused on a chard.

the pairing ended up decent. the soup was great. perfect for this hot, humid summer day. definitely a light offering for dinner. but oddly, it left this hotness in the back of the throat, kind of like a reaction. it's weird. i don't know if it's the wine, or if it's the jalapeno. the wine and soup were great together at first: there was a smoothness there, a willingness-to-work-together. but at the end, there was a bit of a burning sensation. odd.

so i don't know. do you pair a creamy cold cucumber soup with chardonnay, or do you pair it with sauvignon blanc? maybe the terms of the equation are too general. maybe we'll need another experiment.

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