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Two Great Whites

Brancott Estate Pinot Grigio/Murrieta’s Well “The Whip”

Up until a few years ago, we didn’t drink a lot of white wine.  Then, as we found ourselves relaxing on the deck whenever we could on nice weather days, we discovered the beauty of a good Sauvignon Blanc or a nice, dry Pinot Grigio. But with meals, we would typically stay with the reds, even when the entrée was fish or chicken.  After all, for years now, those old food pairing “rules” have been out of vogue even for very sophisticated palates.  But in late 2017 while on a diet, I became conscious of the fact that white wines were at least slightly less caloric than reds and on the rare occasions when we visited a restaurant during that time, we opted for a white.  I’m really glad we did that because we discovered a few really excellent choices.

It must be wonderful to be the guy or gal who tastes and selects wines for restaurants.  Some do better than others, it seems, and I personally believe that whoever does that at one of our favorite local eateries, Basta Bistro and Grille in East Peoria, is brilliant.  Two of the whites we discovered were at Basta and both make for a perfect pairing with what has become my go-to lunch entrée, Seafood Casino.

Around Christmas each year, my friend Tom Wilcosky and I have lunch together.  This is a tradition we started when we both were living in England and I’m happy to say it’s something we’ve continued for more than 15 years now.  In 2017, we opted for Basta Eastport and shared a bottle of this Brancott Estate Pinot Grigio (it’s called “Flight Song” on the wine list).  It’s a moderately priced selection and as I said, a beautiful match with the incredible flavors of the seafood dish.  I couldn’t imagine finding something better.

Fast forward a couple months and Carol and I found ourselves having another wonderful lunch at Basta and of course I ordered the Seafood Casino again.  Since we collect labels and we already had the Brancott Estate Pinot Grigio, this time we opted for the Murrieta’s Well.  This California blend is among the priciest wines on the Basta carte but it’s worth every penny.  I was undecided as to which of the two whites I liked better, so we ordered a glass of the Pinot Grigio and did a taste test.  Carol and I both agreed that while there was very little difference in quality, the blend was our favorite.  It’s great to have two fantastic choices and who knows how many other great wines are on the Basta wine list.  Guess we’ll just have to keep experimenting!

There have been several incarnations of Basta Mangiare in the Peoria area, going back to the 1990s.  Basta Eastport and Basta in Morton are the last two and I sincerely hope they're around for many years to come.  Eastport is an intimate Italian eatery, great for lunch and a wonderful atmosphere for dinner.  Owners Bill and Kathy Backes are deeply involved in the operation of the restaurant and their daughter Kara is chef and manager.  It’s truly a family operated business and it shows.  If you go for lunch, you’ll likely be taken care of by Heather, our lunchtime server the last several times we were there.  Heather’s been great…attentive but never intrusive.  If you’ve never been to Basta, treat yourself to a great dining experience and check it out.  If you are a regular Basta customer, next time you go, tell them Dan and Carol said hello!

You can check out the menu and other info on the Basta website by clicking HERE.

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