Pairing Off: Salami

No matter how many variables I threw him, the guy from Crush kept pointing to the same three wines, although not in the same order.

It has a lot of fat. Yes, this would be best, but these would be good. I think it's cured with Chianti. Maybe, so this will work nicely, also this and this. Of course, one of those bottles had a $39 sign posted under it, so...option number two.

The salami in question was one picked up at Central Market. Instead of the harsh nitrate taste found in grocery varieties, it has a silky texture (thanks to sizable globs of fat) and even salinity backed by a mineral character with herbs and a peppery finish. In other words, one damn complex tube of cured meat.

No doubt La Mozza's 2006 I Perazzi Morellino di Scansano is a good wine--Robert Parker rated it at 90 points, I believe. Matching to the meat is one thing, however. Dealing with all that fat? Now that's a bigger challenge.

You see, by itself the Tuscan wine presents dried fruit and bitter chocolate, with some acrid, smoky wood and ripe fruit thrown in for good measure, and a long, long finish that evaporates into a fluid, watermelon-like flavor spiked with pepper. To the nose, there are additional moments of mango and leather amongst the rest.

An amazing wine for just under $20. And it turns out I shouldn't have worried about it's ability to fence with lumps of fat, either.

When paired to the salami of choice, that dried fruit essence comes back to life, turning into something juicy, with a touch of rougher, denser sweetness. While the bold fruit dispatches with the salty taste, that peppery note picks up on seasoning within the meat. The combination becomes very sympathetic. Yet there's enough acidity to wash through the heavier aspects.

Damn it's good. In fact, it may be the best pairing of this series. I'm glad the Crush Wine Shop guy stuck to his original inclination. May be the only time 'staying the course' really worked.

The La Mozza didn't do too badly against last week's leftover Cheez Its, either.

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