A good rule of thumb when pairing wine and food is ‘what grows together goes together’ – matching wine and food from the same region. So how about the rightly famous food of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna? Ragu alla Bolognese, Parma Ham, Parmeggiano Regiano, Balsamico di Modena etc. This part of Italy is not short of amazing ingredients and dishes.
Still, its wines are relatively unknown internationally – though certainly not because they are poor quality. Quite the opposite. There are some astoundingly delicious and unusual wines out there that pair beautifully with the region’s culinary specialities and more besides.
Among the most interesting is the local sparkling wines, Lambrusco. These high-quality versions thankfully bear no resemblance to the rightly maligned sweet fizz of the same name that flooded the globe in the 1970s/80s. These wines are made from a variety of local grape varieties, but the one we tried was a red made from Grasparossa.
Today’s Wine Pairing: Lambrusco x Cold meats
And it’s a revelation! Despite the popular perception, cold meats are not an easy pairing for wine; partly because they are rich in umami, but they also sometimes have a spicy, garlic, fattiness. Not a problem for the Lambrusco! Ripe cherries and blackberries aromas are accompanied by gentle tannins, all backed up with backbone of acidity and topped off with the strikingly purple bubbles. Not only is it likely to turn a few heads at the dinner table, but it is absolutely delicious and can be served both with the charcuterie and with a hearty meat stew or meat-based pasta sauce (like ragu). And it’s great value! What’s not to like?
By the way, if you are looking for a more interesting alternative to Prosecco then the white sparkling wine from the same region – Pignoletto – is absolutely fantastic. The perfect party fizz or for sipping on a sunny summer afternoon.