Pairing Northern Italian Reds

Eric Guido puts together a fantastic pairing guide with Northern Italian Reds


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Lagrein

My first experience with Lagrein was eye-opening. I had never seen such a wine from Northern Italy with its purple hue and rich, dark berry and plum flavors that were offset by a textural clash of acid and tannin. My first Lagrein was the J. Hofstätter, Steinraffler, a wine that is worth hunting for. However, since that experience, I’ve found some much more affordable bottles of Lagrien to love. I really enjoy these wines with a little bottle age to tame some of their naturally high levels of tannin.

When pairing this, I went with one of my old standards for Lagrein, Veal Saltimbocca. I learned a long time ago that these two wonderful items went together beautifully. In Italy, one of the most common foods to be enjoyed with Lagrein is Speck (a salt-cured, smoked ham from Tyrol). In this dish, the prosciutto lends a similar flavor as the speck, the sage gives it an herbal lift and the veal provides a cushion of velvety soft meat to help work through the Lagrein’s tannin. Together, they are the perfect match.

2009 Nals Margreid Lagrein Gries Riserva - The nose was dark and spicy with intense red berry fruit, cinnamon, dark chocolate and earthy minerals. On the palate, it was medium-bodied and silky, showing masses of raspberry fruit with a tart twinge leading to a finish of red berries, herbs and tobacco. (91 points)

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Comments

  • Snooth User: Richard Foxall
    Hand of Snooth
    262583 2,860

    I have had some terrific Ghemme from the 2004 vintage and it's drinking great now with some time open or decanted. I would recommend it as something made from Nebbiolo that one might be able to get to without waiting decades.
    Once again, EG, you make our mouths water with theses pairings.

    Sep 14, 2012 at 4:12 PM


  • Snooth User: Eric Guido
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    92549 154,481

    Thanks Foxall, I'm a big fan of Ghemme and I have found 2004 to be a great vintage for these wines. There's just so much great Nebbiolo out there. I've recently been tasting Nebbiolo from the Valtellina, really amazing stuff and totally different from the wines we find in Piedmont.

    Sep 14, 2012 at 9:25 PM


  • Snooth User: SM
    1097030 218

    Hello Mr. Guido
    As always I find your articles about Italian wine very informative and educational. In July at a wine fair here in Taipei I got to try the Roncolato Amarone which was a fine example of Amarone as it was very structured, elegant and poised. Then last Sunday at another wine fair where my fiancée and I got to try Parusso Barolo and Parusso Barolo Mariondino.

    After having read so much about Barolo, how great it is, that it's the 'king' of Italian red wine I was wondering if would be disappointed. But of course I wasn't it truly was an amazing wine both of them, though the Barolo Mariondion seemed to be richer and more structured than the Parusso.
    Unfortunately due to the fact that is was a tasting we didn't get to pair it with food, but I think these two great wines can stand on their own.

    Once thanks for your nice article and looking forward to reading more of them.

    Cheers!

    Solomon Mengeu

    Sep 15, 2012 at 3:25 AM


  • Snooth User: Eric Guido
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    92549 154,481

    Thanks SM, it happens that I just wrote a piece about Parusso Barolo at The V.I.P. Table, here's the link if you're interested: http://theviptable.blogspot.com/201...

    I find these wines to be much more enjoyable in their youth than the typical Barolo. Lots of spice and fruit. I agree that these are great on their own, but the food really brings out more nuances and tames some of those youthful tannins.

    Northern Italy has always been my favorite region, it literally has something for everyone.

    Sep 15, 2012 at 7:25 AM


  • Snooth User: Paula Mott
    1137558 26

    Agreed.... Northern Itay is my favorite region of the world...
    Thank you for the pairing and the new grape suggestions. I do have one question:
    While in the northern region, I cam across a grape variety known as "Marzemino".
    Apparently even Mozart gave it accolades...
    Are you familiar with it? The younger bottles came across as a bit harsh, but those that were given a chance to develop were wonderful...any idea if it can be had in the US?

    Sep 15, 2012 at 7:20 PM


  • Snooth User: Eric Guido
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    92549 154,481

    I've never seen this variety in the U.S.
    I do know that it's related to Lagrein with Teroldego as a parent grape but I know very little beyond that. I honestly think your best bet would be in visiting Trentino and happening upon a bottle from a local producer.

    Sep 15, 2012 at 9:39 PM


  • I like the suggestion for Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Caramelized Shallots & Red Wine with Nebbiolo. This is usually a pairing that I'd match a nice Bordeaux, or maybe a more restrained, elegant California Merlot. One thing I'd add is that Nebbiolo is a classic pairing with mushrooms and truffle oil. I wrote a piece about this last week myself. If you're interested, here's the link: http://www.truthinjuice.com/ec/2012...
    Also, I couldn't agree more with your pairing for Barbera. It's such an underappreciated food wine. I hosted a small blind tasting of Barbera a few weeks ago, and everyone on the panel commented that they loved Barbera's potential as a food wine. For those interested in reading about the tasting, here's the link: http://www.truthinjuice.com/ec/2012...

    Sep 17, 2012 at 2:22 PM


  • Snooth User: Anna Savino
    Hand of Snooth
    640513 46,134

    Paula: I have found a lot of "marzemino" in the Garda appellation... here is a good one I know http://www.labasia.it/prodotti_marz... IF you are interested I can contact the producer and ask if it is available in the States!

    Sep 26, 2012 at 4:18 AM


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