Breaking news…the rule to pairing food and wine is…are you ready for it??? THERE ARE NO RULES! And if anyone tries to tell you otherwise, be sure they know you are a rule breaker and proud of it! 

One of the best things I learned while living in Italy is to try new things and be open-minded when it comes to food and wine. An excellent bottle of wine can elevate any meal, especially when the flavor profiles complement each other, yet the idea of pairing wine with food can seem overwhelming. So how does one choose the perfect wine? Here are a few tips to help you, along with my personal recommendations. 

Is This Really Taboo: Red Wine with Fish?

In general, fish dishes would be paired with a glass of white wine, such as a Pecorino D.O.C.G from Centanni, a Grechetto D.O.C from Madrevite, or a Falerio D.O.C from Lumavite. All very suitable and delicious choices. However, next time you make a beautiful piece of salmon on the grill, try pairing it with red wine. I suggest a 100% Sangiovese! Try Madonna Nera Rosso di Montalcino, also known as the Baby Brunello. This wine exuberantly expresses its youthfulness with an earthy note of ripe berries and aromas of cherries and licorice. You see, the meatier and more flavorful fish dishes DO pair well with red wines—especially fish dishes with a heavier style sauce or anything tomato-based. 

Red Wine and Meat-A Match Made in Heaven: What about White Wine and Meat?

In steakhouses across the world, red wine is flowing almost as quickly as the steaks are grilling. But what about white wine and meat? In my opinion, it is the same argument as above regarding fish. There is no wrong or right when it comes to pairings. I personally prefer white wine with many types of meat, especially pork and poultry. Take for instance Madrevite’s 100% Trebbiano Spoleto, flavors of ripe white fruits and citrus with nuances of minerals. “Il Reminore” is a fresh, complex, and full-bodied wine. Or Poggio Grande’s Tagete, a Marsanne-Rousanne blend with its bold palate, high acidity and fullness it pairs beautifully with even wild game. 

The Famous Carbonara: AKA Rich Foods

Dishes that are heavier in fats, like butter, rich cheese, or even fattier cuts of meat require a strong contrast with some levels of acidity and tannins. Spaghetti alla Carbonara, one of Italy’s most famous pasta dishes, is a sauce made with guanciale, think uncured bacon 2.0 times a thousand, with loads of pecorino cheese, black pepper, and a raw egg. This gorgeous but rich sauce compliments the spicy notes of a Syrah. I recommend Poggio Grande’s 2017 100% Syrah aged in French oak for at least 18 months giving this wine smooth velvety tannins to balance the savory richness of the sauce speckled with spicy black pepper.

Bring on the Heat: Spicy Foods

Spicy foods, like Pasta Arrabbiata, pair beautifully with red wines that are full-bodied and well-structured, like Capitoni Frasi, a blend of Sangiovese and Canaiolo grapes. This wine has big forward fruit with tobacco and spice notes. Frasi has a beautiful richness with a long, smooth finish. Believe it or not, Centanni’s Falerio, a white wine made with Pecorino, Passerina, and Trebbiano grapes,  also does the trick when needed to put out the fire in your mouth due to the levels of acidities in the wine. Falerio has a fruit forwardness with a nice level of acidity with aromas of crisp pear, apple, and citrus. This wine is pleasant and soft yet refreshing.

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