Everything you need to know about pairing Italian wines with food

By Marni Dixit July 20, 2018
Italian food and wine

It’s time to step out of your wine comfort zone! 

Italian style wines are having a big moment in Australia. Although Prosecco might be leading the way, wines like Vermentino and Sangiovese are increasingly popular. According to stats from leading wine retailer Cellarmasters, sales of Italian varieties have increased with 132 per cent in the last 12 months.

Celebrity chef and winemaker Stefano de Pieri has an entire Italian style wine, and he says Italian wines are meant to be enjoyed with food.

“For Italians, food and wine go hand in hand, so wines tend to be food friendly with beautiful textures and refined flavours that are not too overpowering,” he explained.

For the best of two worlds, pair Italian wine with Italian food. Here’s how to!

Vermentino & pasta

Vermentino is a light to medium-bodied white wine that is deliciously complex in taste and holds a firm acidity. It boasts pleasant notes of lime, pear and peach, as well as a dry palate consisting of citrus, grapefruit and fresh almond. Vermentino pairs beautifully with seafood, as well as traditional Italian style foods like tomato and herb based pasta dishes. For the ultimate pairing, enjoy it with a seafood pasta.

Try: Stefano De Pieri Fleurieu Vermentino 2017.

Price: $20 (per bottle in case)

Sangiovese & Pizza

Sangiovese is Italy’s most popular grape, and you can expect firm tannins and flavours of plum and sour cherry in this overall food-friendly, red wine. It’s the perfect complement to pizza, as the fruit-forward flavours balance the savouriness of the pizza toppings, while the high acidity in the wine pairs beautifully with the pizza’s tomato base and cuts through the cheese. Sangiovese goes well with any tomato-based dishes, as the acidity in both Sangiovese and tomatoes neutralise one another, creating a wonderful marriage of flavours.

Try: Stefano de Pieri Shiraz Sangiovese Sangiovese.

Price: $20 (per bottle in case)

Pinot Grigio & antipasti

Pinot Grigio is a light-bodied, crisp white wine with lots of minerality. You can expect flavours of crisp, fresh fruits such as pear, white peach and green apple. Pinot Grigio pairs very well with Mediterranean dishes such as fish, shellfish, a Caprese salad or most other salads and antipasti.

Try: Stefano De Pieri Di Qualita Pinot Grigio 2017

Price: $15 per bottle

Moscato & blue cheese

Moscato is an Italian sweet sparkling style wine, and is made from the Muscat grape. The wine is frizzante, which means lightly sparkling, and it is known for its high aromatics. Moscato is one of the few wine varieties that pairs well with blue cheese, with the sweetness of the white wine balancing the strong flavours of the mouldy cheese. It also pairs well with Italian classics like panettone, sponges and biscuits.

Try: The Mia Vita Moscato 2016.

Prosecco & cheese platter

Prosecco is the national sparkling of Italy and hails from the northeast of the country near Veneto. It is a bubbly wine that is generally lighter and slightly fruitier than Champagne. However, just like Champagne, you can either enjoy the wine on its own or match Prosecco with almost anything thanks to its high level of acidity and varying levels of richness. It’s just divine to enjoy with a cheese platter!

Try: Stefano de Pieri Di Qualita King Valley Prosecco

Image: Supplied