Pairing the right wine with an Italian feast creates a symphony of flavors that spotlight and enhance your meal. However, there’s much more to wine and food pairings than serving red wine with beef and white wine with chicken.
Picking the Perfect Pair:
There are several factors to consider when choosing a wine to complement your meal. Perhaps you want to select wine with flavors that contrast with your food? For example, a heavy, fatty meat dish with a light, crisp vintage. Conversely, you can find a wine with similar flavors, such as matching a sweet wine with a dessert of tiramisu. Your objective is to create a balance between the wine and the food. One should never overpower the other.
#1 Barolo with Bolognese
Made with Nebbiolo grapes grown in Italy’s Piedmont region, Barolo is a heavy red wine with strong tannins. Barolo wine features bold, earthy flavors, including rose, herbs, red berries, truffles, and chocolate. It beautifully enhances the textures and flavors of a classic Bolognese. Because of its earthy notes, it works well with dishes flavored with mushrooms or truffles as well.
#2 Brunello di Montalcino with Osso Buco alla Milanese
Made from 100% Sangiovese grapes, Brunello is a full-bodied, red wine that hails from Tuscany. With harsh tannins from prolonged aging, it features flavors of wild berry, licorice, star anise, and leather. The bold, rich flavors of both Osso Buco and Brunello make them perfect companions to serve together. You can also pair Brunello with steak, game, or heavy pasta dishes and stews.
#3 Chianti with Pasta Marinara
Winemakers in the Chianti region produce this dry, red wine of the same name using Sangiovese grapes. It is highly tannic and herbaceous with floral aromas and flavors of ripe cherries and raspberries. Its earthy notes and high acidity bring out the flavors of hearty meals made with red sauces, like pasta marinara. Chianti is a wonderful wine to enjoy with pizza too.
#4 Chardonnay with Seafood Risotto
Made from grapes of the same name originally grown in the Burgundy region of France, Chardonnay can boast a wide range of flavors, from pineapple, papaya, and mango to green apple and lemon. It’s a go-to wine when serving meals with oil and cream-based sauces. Light seafood dishes, such as a seafood risotto, are greatly enhanced by a chilled glass of Chardonnay.
#5 Pinot Grigio with Carbonara
Crisp and refreshing, Pinot Grigio contains delicate flavors of citrus, pears, and apples. It is a light-bodied wine with notes of smoke and minerals that deliciously set off the bacon flavors in a carbonara sauce. You can also enjoy it with other pasta dishes, as well as salads, risottos, and fish like trout or halibut.
Of course, these aren’t the only wines to pair with your Italian fare. You can serve a Zinfandel with red sauce dishes, a Pinot Gris with creamy seafood recipes, or a Sauvignon Blanc with soft, briny cheeses. What’s most important is to find the combinations that you most enjoy.