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slhl DELISH DISH + CHEERS

Toso Vineyard

By Lorraine Raguseo Photography courtesy of Quintessential Wines

Photography by Colin Miller/Strauss Peyton

BRINGING INTERNATIONAL FLARE TO SOUTHERN FARE Southern fried dishes are compatible with wines from around the world.

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ine may not spring to mind when the menu features such dishes as fried green tomatoes, fla y Southern biscuits and a mouth-watering version of Southern fried chicken, with mashed potatoes, pan gravy and collard greens. Still, the many fl vors in each dish, not to mention the acidic, savory, salty and buttery notes that one tastes with each bite, are actually quite compatible with a number of wines from around the world. To prep the palate for this gastronomic tour of the South, we’re starting in New Orleans. It is one of the country’s preeminent cities for fabulous food and drink that has a spotlight focused on it every February with the annual Mardi Gras festivities (the now month-long bacchanalia held just before the start of Christian season of Lent — a more somber period of refle tion and self-denial that culminates with Easter). A number of cocktails were invented in NOLA, including the Hurricane, which has become the signature drink of the citiy’s fabled Bourbon Street. A mix of rum, fruit juice and a sweet syrup like grenadine, its color is often described as passion fruit.

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This wine-based version keeps the rum and adds both an Italian and Brazilian accent with the inclusion of a fruit-infused Moscato (tropical passion fruit moscato with fresh passion fruit pulp from Brazil and a slight effervescence to give this drink a little spritz, is a brand worth seeking out). Moscato is the Italian version of the Muscat grape, considered by some vinologists to be the oldest domesticated grape variety served as table grapes and used over the centuries to make raisins and a number of wines. Its colors vary from white to nearly black and it almost always has a flora , sweet aroma and taste…and works perfectly for this tropical version of the Hurricane. The high acid content of tomatoes can make this fruit a difficul pairing with wine. You really need a variety that will cut through the acid – defini ely a white grape, like Sauvignon Blanc. Almost every major wine-producing country lists Sauvignon Blanc among its varietals. Native to France, Sauvignon Blanc almost universally delivers citrus flavors that are necessary to stand up to, but not overwhelm, acidic foods. When you add some citrus to a tomato-based recipe such as the

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