4 Italian Wines Ideal For Summer Entertaining, And Tips On Food Pairings
When it comes to summer entertaining, delicious food and wine is key to a good time. If you’re having trouble picking what wines to pour during your next soiree, check out the four Banfi wines below. Whether you’re serving grilled meat or a tomato-based pasta, or something in between, one of these wines will make the perfect accompaniment!
“There is no right or wrong way to pair food and wine, but a well-made wine will always enhance and complement the appropriate food,” says Dino Altomare, Director of Education for Banfi. “The name of the game is experimenting to find things you like, but there are a few general ideas that can help guide you on this journey.”
The Rosa Regale
This rosé is only in contact with the skins for a few hours, allowing for a much lighter and fresher style of Brachetto that resembles a Provence Rosé in color and character. This sparkling rosé can pair with anything from ceviche to grilled fish to fresh-fruit desserts. It also serves as a refreshing addition to cocktails!
This chianti is the perfect accompaniment to a wide variety of foods, including red-sauce pastas, grilled meats and roasts. The rustic Tuscan character and delicate tannins enhance roasted meats, especially wild game, while the bright acidity also makes this wine the perfect match to tomato-based dishes.
San Angelo Pinot Grigio
This pinot pairs well with grilled vegetables and pasta primavera, as well as a range of seafood. In this warmer climate the development of fruit is far greater. However, thanks to the day and night temperature shifts close to the coast, the wine retains bright acidity. This balance makes this wine so food friendly, and is especially suited to local fair, such as fresh seafood from the Mediterranean Sea and Tuscan vegetables.
La Pettegola Vermentino
This coastal Tuscan wine pairs well with seafood, salads, sandwiches and vegetable dishes. As a result of the warmer climate and coastal influence in the Maremma, La Pettegola is more structured and features exotic fruits and spices with well balanced acidity, making this wine versatile. That developed fruit balances more powerful fish dishes, yet the vibrant acidity balances salads and fresh vegetables.
We chatted with Dino Altomare, Director of Education for Banfi, on wine pairing tips and the perfect summer bottles to have on hand when entertaining. Here’s what he had to say!
What are some tips for pairing wines in general?
Firstly, look to match the body of the wine with the richness of your food, as a complementary pairing can bring out similar pleasant characteristics. For example, rich or fatty foods will pair best with wines that have full body and higher acidity. However, certain wine pairings can benefit from contrasting flavors to offer balance.
For example, salty or spicy food can be balanced beautifully by sweeter wines – think spicy Thai with Pacific Rim Riesling. And of course, always look out for high acid or high proteins in foods. Since tannins in wines react with proteins, tannic reds like Brunello go well with red meats – similarly, high acid wines like Gavi pair well with high acid foods such as salads with vinegar or citrus dressings.
For the summer months what are good bottles to have on hand and why?
Summer for me is all about fresh wines that can carry seamlessly from the patio into your summer meals. I always like to keep a bottle of Principessa Gavia Gavi on hand – it’s such a versatile and refreshing wine. Perfect as a cocktail, but also incredibly well suited to summer dishes like fresh fish and even salads which are notoriously difficult to pair with.
Because of the wines naturally high acidity thanks to the cooler climate and mountain terrain in Piemonte, it can stand up to citrus and vinegar dressings in salads, and can equally complement ceviche or fried fish.
I also love chillable reds like Barbera, and L’Altra Anima Barbera d’Asti offers a delicious fruit-forward palate, and great acidity again because of it’s northern Italian pedigree. For wines with a bit more structure for summer grilled dishes and BBQ, I always keep Centine Rosso and Pinot Grigio on hand.
These Tuscan beauties are staples in my house, and are the quintessential food wines. And summer simply isn’t complete with out Rose, and my go-to is Natura Rose from Chile. A luscious blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Carmenere, and Merlot, it’s a fragrant and elegant blend that drinks with an unmistakable purity, with the added benefit of being organi