Some things in life just go together, and here at Pasta Poetry we believe there is no better pairing than pasta and wine. Nothing beats sitting down at the table with family and friends, clinking glasses and passing around bowl after bowl of handmade pasta. With so many different shapes and sauces out there, picking the right bottle of vino to go alongside can be tricky. As always, we are here to help! We’ve outlined some simple suggestions to make your next Pasta Poetry get-together an even more memorable one. Buon appetito!
Rule #1 – Always drink what you love!
While some combinations make more sense than others, the only real rule of food and wine pairing is that there are no hard and fast rules. Sure, logic might tell you that our Nicola potato gnocchi with bolognese might get along better with the rustic cherry and tomato character found in a Tuscan sangiovese, but if you prefer a crisp pinot grigio to red wine, then go for it!
Rule #2 – Try to put similar flavours together
Think carefully about what you’re eating. Are the flavours bold and hefty? Fresh and light? It’s all too easy for a wine to overpower whatever’s on the plate, and vice-versa. Take spinach and ricotta tortellini with burnt sage butter sauce as an example. You’ll want a wine with texture and fullness of flavour that stands up to the richness of the butter and the perfume of the sage. A lively, fruit-forward friulano from the far northeast of Italy would do the trick. Or maybe a medium-bodied trebbiano from Abruzzo further south, with notes of white peach, green apple, basil and lemon.
Rule #3 – Sometimes it’s fun to contrast
Picture eggplants and mushrooms, cooked down slowly in a hearty tomato sauce with lentils and an umami kick from the addition of tamari. That’s how we make our vegetable and lentil ragu with vegan fusilli. A big, burly red wine might be the first thing that pops into your head when you’re weighing up these earthy ingredients, but there’s every chance it might prove to be too much. Why not lighten the load with an easy-drinking, summery red wine with refreshing acidity that cuts right through the depth and intensity? One of Italy’s most renowned grape-growing regions, Valpolicella, in the foothills outside of Verona, specialises in bright, snappy and youthful reds that will give this plant-based powerhouse of a pasta some lift.
Rule #4 – What grows together, goes together
Italy a big place, stretching from lakes and snow-capped mountains in the far north all the way to rugged, sun-kissed coastlines down south. Each of its 20 regions has countless culinary traditions and signature dishes and drinks that spotlight the people and produce that lend them their own distinctive sense of place. While getting to understand each and every one of them is a lifelong journey, knowing a little bit about what comes from where may help you select a wine that partners well.
Imagine yourself on a beach in Sardinia, Liguria or somewhere along on the Amalfi Coast, sitting al fresco with pals, lapping up the ocean breeze and salty air. Chances are, you’re eating seafood – maybe even a platter of scallop, crab and fennel agnolotti. What you want is one of the region’s white wines built for long, warm afternoons, like a vermentino that sings of green apple, grapefruit and lime. Or maybe a textural fiano, which hails from Campania, with echoes of pears, green melon and orange peel.
Up in Piedmont in the northwest, the temperature is much colder and the cooking reflects the alpine surroundings. It’s a region known for stews and braises, game meats, and mushrooms – especially the luxurious truffle. Pull up a chair at a local trattoria and a plate of spaghetti with porcini and mascarpone ragu might well appear. Little wonder that its woody, slightly meaty taste and creamy consistency gets a real boost the region’s star grape variety, nebbiolo. Boasting vibrant aromas of red berries, rose petals and liquorice, it’s the right candidate for the job.
Whether you shop online or visit our friendly Fairfield boutique, we here at Pasta Poetry want to take your next home-cooked meal to new heights. Tell us about your favourite Italian food and wine experiences, and don’t forget to tag us when writing your own Pasta Poetry at home.