The Right Pair – How to Choose the Perfect Wine for Italian Food

Handmade pasta topped with tender meatballs or creamy fettuccine alfredo sounds incredible all by itself, but do you know which wine would pair beautifully with either option? Many people don’t realize that the wrong wine choice can actually hinder the amazing flavor in perfectly-prepared Italian foods. Take a minute to read this post and you’ll begin to understand the art of pairing food with your next Italian meal – whether you’re cooking at home or leaving the cooking to La Famiglia Ristorante Italiano.

Keep in mind that wine and food pairing is more subjective than anything else, but there are a few general guidelines to understand. Above all, the goal is balance – that’s what great wines have, and that’s what you’re striving for in a great pairing.

la-famiglia-ristorante-italiano-reno-best-italianSeafood & Cream-Based Sauces

The fruits of the sea are even more delicious when you pair them with white wines. When you think in terms of substance and weight, it’s easy to understand how delicate fish and briny shellfish dishes are instantly elevated with light whites. Even more robust seafood options – say, grilled swordfish – are enhanced with white wines, though you could go for a richer, more substantial choice. Chardonnay is a classic pairing, but other fine selections include Pinot Bianco and Fiano di Avellino. Balance a spicier seafood dish with something a little sweeter.

Rich, luscious cream-based sauces can overwhelm the palate, but a wine that’s both dry and high in alcohol will be able to hold up well. Something on the acidic side will also cut through the cream nicely.

Red Meats, Roasts & Aged Cheeses

These foods are characterized by their strong flavors, and a wine should be full-bodied to complement them. A Cabernet Sauvignon or Barbaresco will elevate the meal because they offer a nice balance to rich fattiness.

Chicken, Veal & Pasta with Tomate & Meat Sauces

Light or medium-bodied red wines won’t overwhelm or clash with the complex flavors in these dishes, and they’ll offer a palate-cleansing effect with every sip. Think merlot and chianti for a choice that will hold up beautifully.

Regional Wines for Provincial Recipes

A general rule of thumb in food and wine pairings is to choose a regional wine with a provincial recipe. Tuscan meal? Choose a Tuscan wine! Sicilian-themed dish? Pair with a wine from Sicily! It’s a basic approach that can serve surprisingly well.

At La Famiglia in Reno, we offer an extensive wine list and there’s sure to be something that will pair perfectly with whatever you’ve ordered. If you’re feeling unsure about what might work best, we’re always happy to offer suggestions and recommendations.

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