Back in my poetry-writing days I wanted to start a literary journal called celoso, the Spanish word for jealousy. The journal would only publish poetry that was so good that it pissed me off, not for what it said, but for the fact that I had not written it myself. While these days I prefer my poetry bottled ("Day-colored wine, night-colored wine, wine with purple feet or wine with topaz blood, wine, starry child of earth") I still love the concept of celoso. Todd Porter and Diane Cu, better known as White on Rice Couple, have that kind of blog. And if the stories, recipes and mouthwatering photos weren't enough to bring out your little green-eyed monster, their garden will.
These days, apparently, their garden is overflowing with tomatoes. Looking at my own sad little tomato plants and thinking of the four (yes FOUR) little tomatoes they've given us all season, I'm not just jealous, I'm in awe. Sun golds, Kentucky Beefsteaks, Brandywines, and more. They're all there. Succulent fruits that are both sweet and savory in a Crayola box of hues.
Tomatoes are a notoriously difficult pairing for wine, with their powerful blend of sweetness, acidity and umami, everything that makes them so delicious, in fact. (See Chiara Shannon's article in the forthcoming October Wine News.) But Todd and Diane's sweet and salty little tomato tarts (get the recipe here) add the savoriness of pesto, the saltiness of Parmigiano-Reggiano and a rich tart crust, which make them an easy match with a crisp white wine. But if you want something a little sexier, try them with the exceptional 2009 Domaine du Gros Noré Bandol Rosé ($25.99). Sure, it's not the least expensive rosé we carry, but this slightly herbal, mineral and meaty Mourvèdre rosé takes on a tomato like Neruda takes on an ode. It offers cherry pit, strawberry and raspberry fruit to balance the tomato's sweetness, savory qualities to match the pesto and bright acidity on a fuller-bodied frame that keeps it in harmony with the whole tart.
If you don't have a garden full of tomatoes like Todd and Diane, and they don't invite you over to dinner, try your local farmers' market for the next best thing.