The Wild Flower’s Seafood Bruschetta, $12
With most dishes, it is the combination of flavors that ultimately determines the best possible pairings. But with some dishes, there is one key component that becomes the central focus. Pesto easily falls among these ingredients. Crushed garlic married with basil, pine nuts and Parmesan - the prominent and strongly flavored sauce in The Wild Flower’s Seafood Bruschetta demands the attention of your wine choices. Wildflower keeps the pesto as the star, tossed with a melange of seafood. Shrimp, scallops and mussels cover the grilled pugliese bread, thus providing a delicate texture to the dish to offset the bold garlic and herb taste.
2010 Toscolo Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy, $9 by the glass
One of the exciting parts of this weekly column is getting to introduce you to new wines and encourage you to continue to discover. When pondering Italian whites, the usual suspects of Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Falanghina immediately come to mind, but perhaps you have glazed over others due to lack of knowledge of what they have to offer. Vernaccia, from the Tuscany region, is an aromatic and full-bodied wine packed with rich pear and citrus notes. Clean acidity not only plays perfectly with the seafood but also provides a smart balance to the powerful pesto.
2010 Stefano Massone Gavi, Piedmont, Italy, $8 by the glass
Another interesting Italian white, Gavi hails from the Piedmont region and is made from the Cortese grape. Clean and crisp with a honeyed softness, the Massone is a lighter choice than our previous white-wine pairing. Lemon, almond and apple meld into a vibrant and approachable glass. The nutty element of the pesto is emulated in the wine and the earthy aspects of both shine through.
2011 Elyse Rosé, Sierra Foothills, Calif., $9 by the glass
This classic Rhone blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault and Counoise is produced using the saignée method, where a run-off portion of the wine is fermented and turned into a beautiful and complex rosé wine. Fresh rhubarb and strawberry flavors are immediately followed by secondary notes of jasmine and subtle pepper. The bright fruitiness and classic, dry-style quality are an ideal fit for both the garlic and fish. The basil in the pesto brings out a slight herbal characteristic in the wine, adding another layer to the pairing.
The Wild Flower, 4590 Laclede Ave., Central West End, 314.367.9888, wildflowerdining.com
Every Wednesday, STLwinegirl Angela Ortmann helps you navigate wine and beer lists at restaurants around town and suggests the best by-the-glass pairings with certain dishes. Through her event and consultation business, she is dedicated to enhancing your food and wine experience. Missed one of her columns? Check them out here!