“What would Freud say if he were alive today?” goes the set-up for a joke by one of my favorite Italian comedians, Alessandro Bergonzoni. The punchline: “I sure have lived a long life.”
In my own jejune stab at comedy, I ask: is it a stretch for me to call a pairing of Clos Cibonne oxidative rosé from Tibouren and fried green tomatoes sublime? What would Longinus say if he were alive today? There’s no doubt in my mind that he’d answer: “I sure have lived a Longinus life.”
In many ways, the thought of pairing this fantastic old world wine — made in large, old casks using film-forming yeasts — with a staple of East Texas cooking seems a stretch. But at the same time, no two notions could be more aligned: the sweet and sour flavors of summer (via our CSA and Grandma Georgia’s cast-iron skillet) plucked our palates in perfect harmony with the marine notes of this quintessentially Provençal wine.
The master of paronomasia (“waiting for Godello”) Randall Grahm first turned me on to this wine over lunch in Los Angeles last year and when I saw it in our market here in Austin, I grabbed as many bottles as I could and ran right home to Tracie P (whom, I knew, would love this wine).
When she breads and fries summer tomatoes in Georgia P’s namesake’s cast-iron skillet, the centers of the rounds become gelatinous and when you bite into them, summer wraps around your tongue. The dry flavors of the Tibouren rosé were the perfect counterpoint.
Thank you, again, Randall, and thank you, Longinus, for giving us the sublime!
It is a law of Nature that in all things there are certain constituent parts, coexistent with their substance. It necessarily follows, therefore, that one cause of sublimity is the choice of the most striking circumstances involved in whatever we are describing, and, further, the power of afterwards combining them into one animate whole. The reader is attracted partly by the selection of the incidents, partly by the skill which has welded them together. For instance, Sappho, in dealing with the passionate manifestations attending on the frenzy of lovers, always chooses her strokes from the signs which she has observed to be actually exhibited in such cases. But her peculiar excellence lies in the felicity with which she chooses and unites together the most striking and powerful features.
—[Pseudo-]Longinus, On the Sublime