Looking to pair a wine with your meat dish but don’t know where to start? We asked Italian wine specialist and online shop Bacco Wines to share some prime picks from its extensive collection of organic and biodynamic wines.
First things first: the way you pair wine with a meat dish should depend on the richness of the dish. A good rule of thumb is: the bolder the flavours in the food, the richer the wine should be. According to Bacco, sometimes a wine that contrasts in terms of flavour or character can enhance a dish – but, for a meat dish, the best pairing is a wine that complements the dish’s aromas and character. For example, if you have a smoky barbecue flavour, then a smoky red wine will make a great pairing.
For lamb and lighter meat dishes…
Try a medium-bodied wine like a Sangiovese (think Chianti) or a Pinot Noir. These wines are especially good choices for lamb dishes, as both wines have gentle spice notes that complement the fragrance of the lamb. Specifically, try old-world or cooler climate Pinot Noirs, as they tend to be more fragrant with earthy notes, compared to the ripe fruit notes of warmer vineyards. A superb choice would be an Italian Pinot from the Dolomite Mountains such as Pojer & Sandri’s Special Cru Rodel Pianezzi made with Burgundy clones. A less famous grape that’s perfect for lamb is Gaglioppo – found only in south Italy’s Calabrian region, it’s medium-bodied with complex aromas and a long, dry character that pairs superbly with grilled lamb. Grab a bottle of iGreco’s 100 percent Gaglioppo called Cata, or try this rare grape blended with Cabernet Sauvignon such as in Ceraudo’s Petraro – ideal for a heavier lamb dish with a rich sauce, for example.
For more gamey dishes…
Game dishes are often cooked medium rare to rare, so they pair well with more tannic red wines. Tannins sometimes get a bad rep, but they are essential to creating wines with complexity and ageing potential. They’re naturally found in red grape skins and seeds, as well as the oak used for barrel-ageing most wines. Try pairing duck with a Sicilian red from Mount Etna, such as the Pietradolce winery’s 100-point Etna Rosso Vigna Barbagalli made from ancient vines that have grown on the slopes of the volcano for decades.
For a roast…
If you’re looking for something to pair with a roast dinner, which usually means lots of different and rich flavours in one meal, pick a wine that can stand up to the power of the plate. We’d suggest a Bordeaux-style blend, but one without the French price tag – for example, a delicious Italian red made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. San Patrignano offers a very accessible Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot blend called Montepirolo, the Trentino winemakers Pojer & Sandri have an outstanding choice called Rosso Faye, or, for something impressive, go for the 100-point Guado de’ Gemoli from Chiappini of Tuscany.
To buy wine or find out about upcoming wine-tasting events, visit baccowines.com
This article first appeared in the March 2017 edition of Expat Living. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue!
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