Italian food and wine pairings | 8 of Laura’s favourites

We’re having a bit of an Italian theme this week, what with the wonderful selection of fine Barolos featured in our private collection auction, so we thought we’d ask a real expert about the traditional dishes that get her taste buds tingling. What makes Laura such a connoisseur in the matter, then? Well, originally from Sardinia, she spent her whole childhood on the island before moving to France for her studies. Who better to question about the delicacies she grew up savouring…along with the best wines to complement her favourite dishes!

DOC Colli Orientali, Buri cuvée from domain Miani with spinach and ricotta cannelloni

A real favourite for Laura, and a wine that she has already had the chance to enjoy! Colli Orientali is an appellation that all wine lovers should get to discover! These are silky and elegant wines with a nose of floral notes and white fruit. “Ribolla gallia is one of the varietals blended into this cuvée, and I love it! It is also used in orange wine.” A perfect pairing? Cannelloni ricotta e spinaci, a pasta dish with spinach, parmesan, and ricotta. For something a bit later, you can’t go wrong with a dish involving vegetables and any kind of pasta.

DOC Colli Orientali Merlot cuvée from domain Miani with homemade ravioli

This is the domain’s red cuvée, made entirely from Merlot. This is a complex wine that you should leave to breathe for a little while before tasting. Its aromatic bouquet reveals notes of little black and red fruits, as well as vegetal and gently spicy aromas. It has a pleasant balance, and this calls for a pairing that Laura holds close to her heart “on Sundays, my mum would often make ravioli…the traditional ravioli pasta stuffed with goat’s cheese and spinach, with a mushroom and tomato sauce. In Italy, Sunday is sacred, as is the food!”

Barbera d’Alba from domain Giuseppe Rinaldi with a characterful, hard cheese

This fine wine is made entirely from Barbera, an emblematic varietal of the Piedmont region. It has beautiful aromas of black fruit blended with oaky and slightly spiced notes. It has a fleshy attack on the palate with a pleasant roundness. It’s tannic, so it’s good to leave it for a few years in the cellar before enjoying it. Laura recommends serving this with a characterful cheese, especially a hard one.

Barbaresco Crichet Pajé from the famous Roagna family with truffle-stuffed quail

When Laura hears Barbaresco, her thoughts go straight to truffle pairings! This 100% Nebbiolo is a real rarity, matured for 10 years in oak casks before just 1,000 bottles per vintage come out of the winery. So we can’t just pair this with any, old dish! This is a sumptuous wine that should be served with something of the same calibre; quail stuffed with truffle is the right kind of thing…

DOC Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Francesco from domain Valentini with pappardelle and beef ragu

Domain Valentini, whilst quite modest in size, has established itself as an emblematic figure of the Abruzzo region, proving its status here with a fantastic Montepulciano that has a legendary reputation and is only made in very small quantities. Its profile includes red fruits, violets, and cherry on the nose, with a round palate of supple tannins and good concentration. “This is the moment to cook a dish of pappardelle with beef and mushroom ragu. With a dash of olive oil…Magnifique!” It’s best to wait a few years before enjoying it.

Barolo from Bartolo Mascarello with braised red meat

100% Nebbiolo, this Barolo is a magnificent wine with great finesse. Laura recommends pairing it with braised red meat (beef, for example) or perhaps a stew. A Barolo cuvée will reveal lovely notes of red fruit and spices, and these will be brought out beautifully in a pairing such as this. An experience to enjoy at the earliest occasion!

Barolo Ravera from Vietti with Sardinian pâtisserie

Leather, tobacco, peppery spices, black fruits, and floral waves. All of this is contained in the rich nose of this beautifully flavoured wine. On the palate you’ll find a classic Barolo, powerful and concentrated, with high-intensity tannins. This kind of wine has the capacity to pair nicely with desserts, and there are plenty of traditional, Sardinian cakes that come to mind for Laura…Amaretti, pistochheddus, tiriccas, caschettas…A bit of research will reveal what these sweet treats look like, and they are bound to make your mouth water!

Barolo from Giuseppe Rinaldi with tagliatelle and porcini mushrooms

This is a top-quality Barolo…unfortunately in very small quantities. This is a wine with a garnet, almost tile-red hue, that gives off notes of juicy fruit like plum, cherry, and raspberry. Hints of gentle spice blend with aromas of dried herbs and flowers, introducing a flavourful palate. It is supple but structured by a fine acidity and by firm tannins. Laura proposes a dish of tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms, a delicious dish to complement a complex wine.

Thank you to Laura for these wonderful suggestions – buon appetito!

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