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Authentic Southern Italian Cuisine
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Italian Food and Wine Pairings

February 26, 2012 Carlino's Restaurant no comments

If any country’s cuisine is a natural for wine pairings, it’s Italian cuisine. Italian food and fine wines evolved together. Thanks to the Roman love of wine, Italians had centuries-old vineyards when French winemakers were just discovering the beauties of the grape. Whether you’re a neophyte to wine pairings or a longtime oenophile, whetting your palate on Italian flavor combinations lets you return to the roots of wine culture.

Chianti is the king of Italian wines. This rich red Tuscan wine has enough acidity and tannins to stand up to a hearty red sauce without disappearing or overwhelming it. Pair a robust Chianti Classico with a marinara or rich bolognese sauce. Chianti has a spicy component that also complements lighter game dishes like rabbit and wild boar.

Pinot Noir wines are also red wines, but they have a light fruity character that makes them the perfect companions for earthy dishes like spaghetti with mushroom sauce or a pizza topped with spinach and mushrooms. These wines also go beautifully with cheese-based dishes; our mozzarella and pepper panini plays nicely with a Pinot Noir.

Deep, complex and mellow, a Merlot makes a great marriage with red meats. A lasagna with meat sauce or our homemade sausage with peppers flatters a Merlot. It’s also a popular pairing with venison, something to keep in mind for our monthly game nights.

White wines have plenty to say when sharing a table with an Italian meal. With its overtones of butter and citrus, Chardonnay goes well with any seafood or chicken dish that has a creamy or buttery sauce. Shrimp scampi and chicken scarpariello are favorites with a Chardonnay.

Sauvignon Blanc’s bracing crispness makes it a great foil for tart or spicy foods. A salad with a vinaigrette dressing or shrimp fra diavolo matches up with a Sauvignon Blanc without overwhelming the wine. You might also enjoy it with spinach-based dishes; something about its light fruitiness complements a plate of chicken Fiorentino perfectly.

Wine pairings are ultimately a matter of personal taste, but having an idea of where to start can lead you to some exciting discoveries as you explore your palate. Our servers are happy to make recommendations too. Sample our wines and add another dimension to your dinner.

Carlo, Wali and all your friends at Carlino’s

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