Pot Luck

Odd Pair: Black-Eyed Peas and Castelvero

This was a hard one for us because black-eyed peas are not our idea of a delicious dinner. They pretty much have to be smothered in vinaigrette or cooked with mounds of bacon before they resemble anything worth eating. But, we wanted to know what pairing wine with the authentic, chalky flavor of this supposed good luck charm would taste like without all those flavor-enhancing bells and whistles. Yes, we are gluttons for punishment.

We choked down the black-eyed peas both straight out of the can and heated with some pepper. Little did we know it wouldn't make any difference. We better have some great luck in 2010, because we're pretty sure dirt and a nice red wine would have been better.

The wine expert we asked recommended an Italian Gavi wine, Castelvero: "The Gavi is very dry with good mineral and white flower blossom flavor," we were told. White flower blossom? Last time we checked, we weren't running to the nearest plant nursery to grocery-shop. Then again, we are always willing to try something new.

The Italian white wine was unlike any white we had tried. It did have a mineral quality with strong citrus and floral notes. It took a few sips to decide whether it was a keeper. The verdict is still out, but that didn't stop us from finishing the glass.

The Castelvero did not pair well with the black-eyed peas in either form. The dry, peppery flavor of the black-eyed peas brought out the strong mineral flavor in the wine and made us cringe. Stuffing our cheeks full of lemon sours wouldn't have made our faces pucker more. We dreaded our next bite, but we had to make sure. Yep, still bad after bites four and five.

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Jane Catherine Collins