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food pairing, Italian Wine

white wine with marinara?

And so it was that tonight my lack of foresight greeted me.  I came home, exhausted from a long day at work, to find little else than cereal, milk, cheese, olives, and spaghetti for potential dinner options.  Having already had cereal once today, I opted for the pasta.

As the water boiled, I snacked on some goat cheddar and a parmesan/gouda blend with olives that I got at this little Italian market up the road (Spinelli’s) and sipped on some day-old 2008 Taburni Domus Falanghina from Sannio, a region that is tucked in the Appenines between Naples and Rome.  The grape here, if I lost you, is the savory Falanghina.  At first, I was delighted that this was the vin du jour, as it paired perfectly with the sharp, salty goat cheddar in particular and olives.  But I was dismayed to realize there was no acid-driven sangiovese to compliment my marinara meal.

I made no intention of combining the two, but since I had some white left in the glass when I sat down to eat, I thought, “What the hell.”  Actually, something in my  wine-pairing sub-conscious was even welcoming the challenge, somehow certain it had a chance.  And wouldn’t you know… that tough little white held up to the red sauce!  In fact, it was a pretty decent pairing, if I do say so myself.

This medium-bodied white showed notes of crisp apple, pears, mineral, and dried herbs in the nose.  The fruit was subdued, while the herbs seemed to cling to whatever it could in the sauce, forcing the background of both the wine and food forward.  It demonstrated well-tuned structure, acidity, and finesse.  I believe it may have seen some time on its lees, due to its musty, creamy texture and deep golden hue.   It reminded me of so many I have had from the Campagna region of Italy as well as even some Soaves to the north.  The key here, I believe, is weight, acid, minerality, and a savory (or saline) quality in the white wine.

So there you go.  Hot ice.  It may be hard to conceptualize…but it exists.


About mistralwine1982

Originally from Wisconsin, I moved to Colorado in 2005 in order to get closer to the mountains and rock climb. When it occurred to me that I would never make money with that hobby, I went to grad school. I received a masters in English and American Literature from New York University in May of 2009. I have since then opted not to pursue a PhD, for studying and writing about wine is far more fascinating (well, perhaps not moreso than Virginia Woolf, but still… for the long haul?). My favorite wines come from the old world, especially the Rhone, Burgundy, Rioja, Piedmont, and Tuscany. I am also smitten with roses, Italian hard-to-pronounce white varietals, and dessert wines from around the world. By day I run a wine shop. By nite, I sip and tell. It’s rough… but someone must do this.


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