Tag Archives: Garganega

Chicken and Sausage Paella – Recommended Wine Pairing

StefanoA few days ago, Suzanne over at apuginthekitchen (a great food and cooking blog that you should definitely check out if you have not done so already) has been kind enough to ask me to partner with her by contributing a wine pairing that would go well with her delicious chicken and sausage paella recipe that she recently published in her blog: needless to say, I have been excited about Suzanne’s idea and took her up on her offer.

So, here are my wine pairing recommendations for Suzanne’s delicious paella, that you can also find on Suzanne’s blog: the wines that we are going to pick need to have good acidity, a good extent of smoothness, quite intense nose-mouth flavors and decent structure, as in a medium to full bodied wine. The reason why these characteristics (and not others) are desirable to achieve a pleasant food-wine pairing is the result of the application of the wine pairing criteria codified by the Italian Sommellier Association, which I have discussed in a previous post.

Based on the above guidelines, I am going to recommend two wines that I have recently tasted at the Vinitaly/Slow Wine trade fair in New York: they both possess the desired characteristics to be good companions to Suzanne’s paella and they both have particularly impressed me when I tasted them.

Clearly, these two wines are by no means the only ones that go well with Suzanne’s paella! However, on the one hand their descriptions, coupled with the general guidelines provided above, should point you in the right direction should you wish to consider different alternatives and, on the other hand, if you are going to give either or both of these wines a try, they might introduce some of you to two Italian wines that are maybe not so “mainstream” or widely known in the US market and that yet are excellent and showcase the treasure chest of indigenous grape varieties that constitute the backbone of centuries of Italy’s wine culture.

So, let’s now take a look at my tasting notes for the two recommended wines that you may choose to enjoy with Suzanne’s delicious paella dish.

Option 1: Soave Classico, from the Veneto region

Pieropan, Soave Classico “Calvarino” 2010 DOC: a very good Soave made of a blend of 70% Garganega and 30% Trebbiano di Soave grapes which literally hits you in the nose with an exhuberant minerality and aromas of apple, citrus and white flowers; in the mouth a lively acidity and distinct minerality are balanced by a good extent of smoothness – long finish. ABV: 12.5% VOL. If interested, here is the winery’s technical sheet for this wine. Retails in the US for about $28.

Grape varieties’ quick facts: Garganega is a grape variety that is indigenous to the Veneto region, where it has been cultivated since at least the XIII century. Wines made of Garganega grapes are generally acidic and spicy. For more information about the Trebbiano di Soave grape variety, please scroll down to the quick facts about Verdicchio in option 2 below.

Option 2: Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, from the Marche region

Marotti Campi, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico “Salmariano” Riserva 2009 DOC: a very good varietal wine made of 100% Verdicchio grapes, with a nice bouquet of white flowers, peach, citrus and minerals; good acidity and a long finish. ABV: 14% VOL. If interested, here is the winery’s technical sheet for this wine. Retails in the US for about $20.

Grape variety’s quick facts: Verdicchio grapes are also known as Verdicchio Bianco, a grape variety which, although it has been cultivated in the Marche region since the XVI century, was said to originate from Veneto. It is interesting to notice that DNA profiling has confirmed this theory, indicating that Verdicchio as a grape variety is identical to Trebbiano di Soave, a grape variety that is widely planted in Veneto and that we have just come across describing the wine in option 1. Verdicchio wines tend to have marked acidity and good structure.

(Note: information on the grape varieties, cit. Wine Grapes, by Robinson-Harding-Vouillamoz, HarperCollins 2012).

As always, if you get to try either one of the above wines, let me know how you liked them!