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Senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec has been with Wine Spectator since 1997. She tastes New Zealand wines and California Petite Sirah, Sauvignon Blanc and "other" whites.
MaryAnn Worobiec

A Late Summer Soup with a Reader’s Suggestion

Bethel Heights Pinot Blanc Eola-Amity Hills 2009

MaryAnn Worobiec
Posted: October 14, 2010

As my summer garden in California begins to fade and things start moving in the direction of autumn, there’s one more tomato dish I look forward to every year: roasted tomato soup. It’s from a recipe I saw chef Michael Chiarello prepare on TV years ago. Chopped tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and a healthy drizzle of balsamic vinegar are roasted until they are well caramelized, then pureed with water, sautéed onions and handfuls of basil leaves. Naturally, I serve it with a grilled cheese sandwich.

Tomatoes can be rather acidic, and the addition of balsamic vinegar could make this dish a challenge to pair with some wines. But I took a tip from a reader who commented on an earlier pairing of an Erath Pinot Blanc with a tomato sandwich. He suggested a different Oregon Pinot Blanc, the Bethel Heights Eola-Amity Hills 2009 ($16). I took his advice. Thanks, Tim!

Wow, what a pairing. Pinot Blancs are a natural match with tomatoes; their soft acidity stays in the background. And this wine’s soft nectarine and apple flavors really complemented the soup, in particular bringing out the basil flavor. The balsamic note sang without any interference. Since the main ingredients are roasted, they have a nice nutty edge, which were heightened by the wine. I rated it 90 points, non-blind. Keep those suggestions coming!

WineSpectator.com members: Get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Pinot Blancs from Oregon, along with our quick list of Top Values among Oregon whites.

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