If you’ve never been to Rome, be prepared - after tonight your taste buds will be urging you to book tickets! I’m excited to be able to offer you some suggestions for wines to complement this classic, authentic menu presented by Davide Grigolato, so let’s get to it!
The starters, Charcuterie and Caponata, both have rich and spicy elements, but also a wonderful sweet-and-sour character - complicated to pair wine with you'd think.
The solution is surprisingly simple! What could be more Italian than a really good quality Prosecco? And before you put your head in your hands, I’m not talking about the cheap and cheerful 'special offers' that abound. Prosecco has quality levels and what I’m recommending is ‘the good stuff’. Il Follo Prosecco £13.50, is produced in Valdobbiadene (go on, say it 3 times quickly) using really top quality grapes, by terrific winemakers.
It's a great aperitif to get the evening started as well as with the food. It’s crisp and lively with apple, peach and lemons all detectable on the nose, has a mouth-filling mousse (the 'froth on top of wine' mousse not the gangly elk), and importantly has just a touch of sweetness. The acidity of Prosecco (Glera is a naturally acidic grape) will cut through the fatty meats and the touch of sweetness balances the spicier notes, and merges seamlessly with the sweeter elements. This is one of those occasions where Prosecco will probably work better than more expensive wines made in the Champagne style such as Franciacorta or, well ...Champagne! This doesn’t mean you have to drink twice as much…!
Incidentally we also stock Il Follo Rosé which is every bit as good and incorporates bright notes of light red fruit and floral aromas. Also £13.50 it’s not better - it’s just different! Choose the one you think will suit your mood.
Anyone who has read my dribblings before will know that I advocate pairing wines with sauces when the sauce has a stronger flavour than the main ingredient. Carbonara is a great example - the relatively neutral pasta provides the background for the flavours of creamy and hard cheeses and flavoursome pancetta. Pollo alla Romana is another dish where the sauce - tomato in this case - is what you need to pair with rather than the chicken. Cheese and bacon on one hand and tomatoes and herbs on the other - crumbs! This is going to be tricky!
Of course Davide is spoiling you by offering the opportunity to have BOTH (go on you know you want to!) so I’ll have to come up with wines to suit all options … hmmm...
The cheese in Carbonara needs good clean acidity to clean your mouth between bites, and the saltiness of the pancetta will increase the fruity sensations in the wine (the more observant of you will have noticed that Prosecco is acidic so you can just keep going with the fizz if the mood takes you!). Amori Pinot Grigio at £7.50 will fit the bill nicely - from the Veneto in the North of Italy it’s crisp with aromas of tropical fruit and lemon. If you feel like treating yourself then try our Gavi di Gavi from Roberto Sorotto for £14.50. Gavi wine is made from Cortese and is crisp and elegant - the best comes from the town of Gavi itself hence the name Gavi di Gavi. This is quite a rich example, and will comfortably stand up to stronger flavours - it’s medium-bodied and silky with plenty of juicy peach and pear fruit alongside stoney minerality.
Tomato sauces traditionally get paired with medium and full-bodied reds. There's no reason not to do this, but lots of people don't realise that the most important thing is to choose a wine that has plenty of acid (acid again - it just goes to show how vitally important it is in wine) - because tomatoes are surprisingly acidic. They also contain a flavour called 'umami' which is very savoury and can overwhelm an inadequate wine. We sell a lovely Sangiovese from Amanti at £8.00 that is easy drinking yet has enough structure to work well with this dish. If you prefer your wine richer and darker I can strongly recommend Carlomagno Primitivo £9.75. The use of the Appassimento process (drying a proportion of the grapes to concentrate flavours ) produces a delicious richness and the finish is so fruity it almost feels sweet (it's not, it just gives that impression).
If you're looking for one wine to drink with both mains I'd suggest going with the Pinot Grigio or Gavi di Gavi, but if you have a strong preference for reds go with your gut! it may not pair quite as well on paper but you know what you like! Alternatively we have a selection of light reds or robust whites that would also fit the bill. By the way, if you're having the Tiramisu, save a drop of the Pinot Grigio and try them together - surprisingly Pinot Grigio and chocolate can be a match!
Pssst… Don't tell Davide, but there are wines from other countries that will go well with this menu - just pop in discretely and we'll tell you about them! Enjoy your night in bella Roma - I just hope they keep the noise down in the Colosseum!
SWBottleshop is offering 15% off any wines you buy in connection with Supper Club events. You can buy online from the Monday before the meal, using the discount code 'Rome' or call in and chat in person (last unit on Plymouth Road Industrial Estate behind Tesco). Furthermore the offer will extend to any wine you buy in the week following each event - we look forward to meeting you - Ciao!