The Art of Italian Wine and Food Pairings

A basic guide to Italian wine and food pairings.

Many international food lovers associate Italian dishes for the exotic taste and the variety in the distribution of the food. These dishes are best when taken with suitable wines since they enhance meals and eating experiences. It often is the case that those who are enjoying their spaghetti or pizza or tiramisu or gelato or whatever Italian food they are having become more appreciative of the food in their mouth when they know the basics of wine and food pairing.

Understanding Italian Wine Varietals

Italy has recorded many native grape varietals, and this make Italy’s wines to be of so many different flavors and qualities. From the intensely red wines seen in Tuscany to white wines produced in Sicily, it would be difficult to imagine a dish that could not be matched with an Italian wine.

Red Wines

Chianti (Tuscany): Expected to consist of cherry and plum flavors, Chianti can complement rugged meals such as wild boar meat sauce or the famous T-bone steak Florentine.

Barolo (Piedmont): The Barolo wine, having a medium body, with slight hint of tar, roses, and red fruit, goes well with complex flavors such as truffle risotto or braised beef.

Amarone (Veneto): The dense tasting dark-fruited and raisin-rich wine is even better with strong and mature cheeses such as Parmigiano-Reggiano or food containing game meats.

White Wines

Pinot Grigio (Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia): Pinot Grigio is zesty and packed full of freshness, it pairs well with lemon grass infused seafoods like grilled calamari or spaghetti with clams.

Vermentino (Sardinia, Liguria, Tuscany): Wines made from the Vermentino grape complement dishes with citrus overtones and a hint of the sea perfectly, especially if it is pasta with seafood or grilled vegetables.

Sauvignon Blanc (Friuli): Easy on the palate exhibiting citrus-herb notes and bright acidity, iconic Sauvignon Blanc wine is great to pair with pesto pasta, or even pan seared scallops.

The Art of Pairing

Basically, while choosing the Italian wines to be served along with a particular dish, care should be taken in relation to the taste and within texture of the food item. Here are some general guidelines to ensure a harmonious match:

Match Intensity: How about light wines for light foods and strong wines for hearty foods. For instance, primal seafood risotto will go well with Verdicchio and osso buco will require a proper Brunello di Montalcino.

Consider Regional Pairings: In most Italian dishes, the foods have been prepared side the Italian wines for a long time. For instance, a sparkling wine from Veneto region pairs well with cicchetti, or small snacks, while Nero d’Avola goes well with grilled swordfish originating from Sicily region.

Balance Sweetness and Acidity: A wine should complement the dish by having either the same level of sweetness or a different degree of acidity. A dessert wine, such as Moscato d’Asti will complement spicy dishes and a wine with high acidity, such as Soave will complement creamy sauces well.

Experiment and Enjoy: Finally, it can be said that the pairing of wines is a matter of personal preference. It is advisable to try different combinations of the products and learn what combinations is more satisfying to you, this will be a journey of discovering Italian taste.

Pairing Italian Desserts

Sweet things that also known as dolci, are the dessert must have in each Italian meal. Every Italian person knows that no meal is perfect without a sweet ending, that’s why Italian desserts are out of competition. When selecting wines for dessert:

Sweet Wines: Vin Santo originating in Tuscany or Piedmont wines are perfect for pairing with desserts like panettone or panna cotta.

Coffee-based Desserts: Match tiramisu a coffee-flavored dessert to a glass of a Recioto della Valpolicella, a full-bodied red wine.

Amazing Italian wines and food are extremely compatible, where the one compliments the other in terms of feel and taste. If you happen to be dining on a scoop of spaghetti or simply on olive and cheese, knowing which Italian wine to pair with which kind of food is like taking your palate on a voyage. Search for the regional wines and understand that with any combinations, you will find yourself enjoying the complementarity of tastes and making memories with every meal.