My Wife’s Notes: 2008 Sandhill Syrah – Tomato Basil Bisque

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  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • handful fresh basil
  • 4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 heaping tsp pesto
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 loaf sourdough
  • 1 cup parmesan reggiano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix butter an olive oil in a pot on medium-low heat until butter has melted. Saute onions and garlic together until soft, ensuring that you do not burn the mixture. Add 3 cups of chick broth, tomatoes, tomato paste and most of the basil, and simmer for 20 minutes.

In a small saucepan, pour the pine nuts into heat on medium-high stirring constantly. Once the pine nuts begin to brown, pour them into a small cup and set aside. In that same saucepan, make a roux with the last cup of chicken broth and flour. Slowly add this to the simmering soup, allowing it to thicken. Take the thickened soup and blend in a blender on high until smooth. Pour back into the pot, add pesto and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.

For the crostini, slice the bread and rub one side of each piece with garlic. Top each piece with a little bit of shredded cheese and toast on a cookie sheet under the broiler until crispy.

Ladle soup into bowls topping with toasted pine nuts, shredded cheese and a whole leaf basil, and serve with several crostini.

My wife Alana is crazy about Christmas. Absolutely loves it. And when it comes to decorating the house for Christmas, she makes it a major event.

I dug the boxes out of the storage room, and got to work putting up the tree while Alana surveyed the house, deciding where the garland and lights should go, what color palette should be used, and what additional decorations need to be picked up this year. She & Him crooned reworked Christmas classics at us as the tree was festooned in red and white and green and silver.

We needed a comfort dinner, warm and easy to make, so I went with one of our favourites: Tomato Basil Bisque. I like to add a spoonful of pesto to the soup when cooking, top it with toasted pine nuts, whole leaf basil and shredded Parmesan Reggiano, and serve with toasted garlic sourdough crostini.

Tomato Basil Bisque

There’s a lot of flavour and richness in this meal, and needed a wine that could stand up to it all. I suspected a 2008 Sandhill Syrah was up to the task.

My Notes:

This wine has all kinds of fruit on the nose, rich and full…almost like a sweet blackberry jam. The first sip is very smooth and dry, the fruit and jam continuing to flourish, with black currant coming in at the back, with a moderate peppery finish. When paired with the rich garlicky soup, the wine brightens up a LOT. The pepper is still there on the back end, but the fruit and jam has almost completely disappeared. As the remnants of the soup gradually leave the palette, the complexity of the wine returns. 89 points.

My Wife’s Notes:

“Mmm, it’s peppery. And I frickin’ love pine nuts, do we have any more?”

2008 Sandhill Syrah – $21.99 at BC Liquor Stores.

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