Sunday, January 20, 2008

Seeing Red

San Marzano tomatoes, a variety of plum tomatoes, are considered by many chefs to be the best sauce tomatoes in the world. They come from a small town of the same name near Naples, Italy. Grown in the volcanic soil from Mount Vesuvius, believed to act as a filter for water impurities, the flesh is much thicker, with fewer seeds, and the taste is much stronger, less sweet and less acidic.

A grape variety known as Malvasia Nera is also grown in this soil. We recently enjoyed a bottle of 2004 Feudi di San Marzano Puglia IGT Malvasia Nera "Sud", with a simple spaghetti pie topped with pepperoni. The producer is from Apulia and stumbled upon the vineyard at Cantina Sociale di San Marzano, with its deep tradition in wine making, and immediately saw potential. Here his wines express the characteristics of a full- bodied, ruby red wine with notes of cherry and cloves that has a complex yet fresh finish. Serve with roasted red meat,rich sauces and mature cheese.