We have been growing basil in our garden for many years and this year we have an especially big crop. We use it to make pesto and we expect to be eating a lot of it this summer, served simply over pasta or sometimes smeared on a lightly toasted baguette. We have tried a bunch of different recipes, but we really like this one and have been using it for a while. “Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe “ The key to success I believe is to pack the basil tightly when measuring it out. I recommend doing something like a one-arm handstand into the basil in the measuring cup to make sure it is well packed!
I enjoy drinking a glass of wine with most casual evening meals; I usually either drink what is already opened or may open an unpretentious bottle that I think might go with the meal. I am going to use this year’s basil bounty to more attentively check out some wine pairings with pesto. I have some ideas and have also received some suggestions from a separate thread that I recently posted. I’ll first taste the wine alone for initial impressions and then have some with my basil pesto meal. This thread will be an ongoing depository for my notes on the wine itself and whether it was hit or miss with the basil pesto. This approach might remind a few people (n>0?) of my semi-retired “Florida Fish of the Week” thread, so fair warning.
As we move on from summer into autumn, let’s wrap this up. We have enjoyed a lot of basil pesto over the past few months and we tried a bunch of wines with it. The pairing wines were picked based on suggestions here and elsewhere about what might work, in addition to my own “inspiration”. This was fun and at the same time also a learning experience for me.
In general, white wines with an acid, citrus, and herbal taste profile seemed to work best for me with the basil pesto. However, I found that wines that had this taste profile in a more “sophisticated” and subtle way, and were really nice wines by themselves, sometimes lost their finer qualities a bit with our fairly robust pesto. So, the more modest bottlings from good producers seemed to be a better choice for our basil pesto; they seemed to have more exuberance and less subtlety, which might also describe our basil pesto. For a more subtle basil pesto version that is less heavy on the basil and garlic than ours, I think that the finer versions of the wines might work very well. Below is a summary of my “verdicts” on the individual wine pairings. The judgement is not about the wine itself, but about the pairing of the wine with our basil pesto recipe and with our palates. Obviously, different recipes and different palates would likely produce different judgements. In other words, YMMV.
My recommended solid pairings would be good, but modest bottlings of Albarino, Vermentino, Assyrtiko, and Loire Sauvignon Blanc. To my palate, the standout pairing and my top recommendation is Fiano di Avellino (we had the basic Terredora which was also a very modest bottling). There are some extra dimensions to this wine such that almost everything about it clicked with the basil pesto for me.
Thanks for reading and following my summer self-indulgent postings. Cheers.
2014 Gruner Veltliner, Atzberg Steilterrassen
2018 Patricia Green Dry Muscat Ottonel
2018 Inama Soave Classico
2013 Castello La Lecchia Chianti Classico (RED)
Good to Excellent Pairing
2018 Granbazan Etiqueta Verde Albarino Rias Baixas
2018 Cantine Lunae Bosoni Colli di Luni Vermentino Etichetta Nera
2017 Francois Villiard Viognier Les Contours de Deponcins
2018 Terredora di Paolo Greco di Tufo
2018 Cantine Lunae Bosoni Colli di Luni Vermentino Etichetta Grigia
2016 Clos Canarelli Figari Blanc (mentioned in a separate TN post)
2018 Granbazan Etiqueta Ambar Albarino Rias Baixas.
2015 Thomas-Labaille Sancerre Chavignol Les Monts Damnes
2018 Estate Argyros Assyrtiko Santorini
2018 Terredora di Paolo Fiano di Avellino