Thursday, 7 August 2014

Top Italian Food and Wine Pairings

By Nikki Jarrett, Personal Wine Advisor

As one of the largest wine producers in the world with 3,000 years of heritage, 1,000 different grape varieties and 300 geographical wine locations, Italy is a wine country to be taken seriously. Italy stretches from 47 - 37 degrees latitude which results in various climates from the northern "continental" to the southern "Mediterranean". The mountains, together with the lakes and sea help temper the climate and the soils vary from volcanic to glacial. This of course, produces a wide variety of grapes and style of wines from the big beefy Amarones and the fruity Barberas in the north to the fragrant Grecos and Fianos of the south.

Food is also important to the Italians with many influences over history from the Greeks to the Arabs. The north and south of Italy have different styles, the north perhaps offering a simpler style to the south with its Mediterranean concoction. There is never a right and wrong with food and wine pairing but there are some that work better than others. Italy, as with many of the European wine producers, takes the style of the wine to complement the cuisine.

Santa Lucia Garganega Pinot Grigio 2013, Veneto - Save £12 per case during August

One my favourite tipples. Everyone thinks of Pinot Grigio when they think of Italian wine because - it's the "go to" style for many picnics. This delicate light white shows a floral style with hints of apple and pear - a delicious Pinot blend with Garganega that highlights both grapes' true profiles. This pairs well with the delicate and colourful cooking of the Veneto. 
Try it with antipasto, ideally seafood or scallops and a white wine sauce or an uncomplicated pan fried sea trout! 
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Campostellato Falanghina 2012, Campania

Situated just outside the city of Naples, the Avallone family have taken this grape very seriously. Grown on volcanic soils, it shows a fresh style of flowers, almonds and a mineral finish. Southern Italian food is very Greek, using olives, pine nuts, orange blossom and honey as key ingredients. 
Enjoy with the classic mozzarella, tomatoes and basil drizzled, of course, with lots of olive oil; a simple Napoletana pizza with a thin crust with tomatoes, olives and anchovies or spaghetti with mussels!
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ll Contadino 2010, Copertino - Save £12 per case during August

Here we head to the southern reaches of Italy, 41 degrees latitude with a hot climate and quite flat terrain. Negroamaro, Nero d'Avola and Primitivo are the main red grapes and in this wine we have the Negromaro showing black cherries, prunes, damsons and spice. The cuisine has an ancient past with the Near East, North Africa and Greeks being the major influences. 
Pair this full-bodied red with vension or meat balls with a meat sauce and pasta, or game such as pheasant and grilled meaty sausages.
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Le Seianti Rosso Toscano 2011, Tuscany - Free with any 12+ bottle order while stocks last!

Here we have Sangiovese and Canaiolo, the two main grapes of Tuscany. This red wine has juicy cherries, with savoury notes while offering a spicy option. The food in this area is natural and simple and quite frugal, with its cured meats, mushrooms, truffles and chestnuts to tantalize our taste buds. 
This wine pairs well with grilled chicken or a roast butterflied leg of lamb, just add herbs of rosemary and basil.
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If you're tempted to try any of these wines they are all available on our website or by calling up one of our personal wine advisors. 

Cheers! Or, to keep with article, salute!

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