Wine & Food

Snooth User: Lwhetstone

Italian dinner party

Posted by Lwhetstone, Jan 19, 2013.

I'm making a lasagne bolognese for a dinner party (the whole deal from scratch, including pasta) and I want to get an interesting Italian red to pair with it. I'd love to get a Barolo but the cost is a bit prohibitive...I'm like to keep it at about 15 a bottle or less.

Also maybe a light Italian white to have with appetizers. Unfortunately I live in PA so my selection is very limited.

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Replies

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Reply by gregt, Jan 19, 2013.

There are way to many to suggest but assuming you want to stay in Italy, why not go with some regional wines?  Emilia-Romagna, which is kind of where you are, has whites like Malvasia and Trebbiano, either of which would be a nice wine to start with. Malvasia is a little bit floral and perfumed, Trebbiano less so, and you won't spend a lot.

For reds, they do grow Barbera in the region and I think that's an excellent pairing with red sauce even though most people associate Barbera only with Piedmont. They also grow Cab and you can get Cab/Sangiovese blends that would be nice, or for something a bit different, a Lambrusco. Check for some threads about those wines if you want specifics.

And if you come to NYC, you can come to my house and make pasta and sauce any time!

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Reply by Anna Savino, Jan 21, 2013.

Totally agree with @GREGT ... go for a food friendly Barbera or Sangiovese! Generally reasonable prices and go well with all italian food! so how did it turn out?

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Reply by Manny Schrager, Jan 22, 2013.

I love Proseccos with appetizers and they should be readily available, even in a state store. 

For the meat sauce, a Dolcetto would be good. 

Interesting Dolcetto story - we were visiting a major Barolo producer in Piedmont.  Their map showed that they had a large planting of Dolcetto right in the middle of their prized Nebbiolo (Barolo) vineyard.  I asked them why they didn't replant the Dolcetto with Nebbiolo as they make much more on Barolos.  Simple answer - tradition.  Grandpa planted them and he wants to keep them. 

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Reply by Anna Savino, Jan 22, 2013.

Manny - do you remember which producer? there are some very surprisingly good dolcettos too...my fav is Vajra Coste & Fossati.. same story, old vines shared in the same vineyard with nebbiolo! 

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Reply by Manny Schrager, Jan 22, 2013.

It was Cavallotto.  I remember that two brothers split the visitor tasks.  One gave us a tour of the estate and production and the other handled the tasting room. 

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Reply by JonDerry, Jan 22, 2013.

Cool story Manny...Fox has been championing Dolcetto's to me also recently, and we got some Chionetti's that are really solid. Also hear the Anna Maria Abbona's are really good in 2010 too.

It's what the people in Piedmont drink from day to day I hear, which make sense. Can't drink the expensive Nebbiolo's every day.

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Reply by JonDerry, Jan 22, 2013.

By the way, here's a recent NY Times article on Dolcetto:

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Reply by Ivesreeves, Jan 22, 2013.

Having just read some of the suggestions, I'm forced to bite my lip and stifle a giggle or two.  Instead, allow me to suggest Farnese Montepulciano d'abruzzo 2010.  You'll find it well within your price range and far more complimentary than many of the other wines mentioned in the replies so far. Compact, with puckery tannins, this wine offers notes of boysenberry and a earthy, leather couch goodness on the palate. Trust me, this wine will satisfy both those who sip wine before dinner and guests who prefer to wait for a wine which can stand up to a hearty meat dish. 

Dolcetto? Really?

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Jan 23, 2013.

Yes, dolcetto with lasagna. Except that PA still has state liquor stores.  So the better question is, how far do you live from another state? Not sure what Mr. Ivesreeves has to giggle about, but so be it.  Perhaps instead of biting his lip he could lower his nose--might have the same effect. I think there are some very good suggestions here.  Perhaps not as "compact" as he might like, whatever that's supposed to mean. But if puckery tannins and leather couch goodness are your thing, by all means...

Funny no one mentioned any of the affordable Chianti Classicos.  Usually GregT is all over those. 

Don't know if PA wine stores have it, but Italy produces plenty of whites made from Falanghina, and they go for about $12.  They can be very nice.  But I do like the Prosecco angle.  Frankly, for about $7 at Trader Joe's, so probably the same in PA, the Zonin is not at all bad.  I'm lucky that I live in a place where I have more choices, but if that's what they had on the state liquor store shelf, I wouldn't die.

There are good reasons to grow dolcetto--for one thing, it doesn't need the very best sites and vineyards can vary within their borders. so maybe grandpa knew something others didn't.  It's also a good way to hedge your bets--it ripens more reliably.  But I personally favor Chionetti and Anna Maria Abbona because they specialize in dolcetto and it shows.  Anna Maria (her brothers also own wineries) now makes a nebbiolo, but it's a recent addition and her work shows in the dolcettos.  Get some of the Sori dij But and you'll be sold on it.

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Reply by gregt, Jan 23, 2013.

Nicely put Fox. I'm not sure what the giggles are about either.

Lasagne can be made many different ways and to suggest that there is always only one wine to drink with it suggests a rather limited outlook on what one might do with lasagne. Even Lasagna alla Bolognese comes in thousands of variations - people didn't spend their childhood memorizing recipes, they just learned how to make what mom made, so every house is likely to do it a bit differently, same as any other food dish.  Seems like a lot of wines would be appropriate matches, whether or not the wines were even Italian.

Dolcetto isn't something I'd likely pick up, mostly because I'm not particularly fond of it, but I suppose a decent one would work. That Farnese is great to have around the house if you need cooking wine because it's got decent acidity and it's only like five or six bucks a bottle, but it's hard to believe that it would be the best thing to drink with dinner, particularly as the OP wanted something "interesting".  For that, a Valpolicella might be nice, a Primitivo might fit the bill, and a Schioppettino might be good too.  And sure, Montepulciano d' Abruzzo could be fine.

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Reply by Maguno, Jan 24, 2013.

Hello everybody from Georgia, Kvemo-Kartli Province, Marneuli city.... I wish you could be in Sakartvelo (this is how we call our country in native language currently, allegdly historically Iberia since many many years before Iberia and Catalonians migrated to the territorial basin of the Black and the Caspian seas) now.

That was a prelude for trying to interestingly introducing myself.

 

 So LWEHTSTONE I could treat you to decent dry red Saperavi or rosy Rkatsiteli wines of Georgia... By the way are familiar with any Georgian wines? Most of them are in reasonable average consumer buying range. And if you go refer to decent butique type wine seller that are scattered around the capital of Georgia Tbilisi you can make I good choice... A always pick rosy Rkatsiteli for classic Lasagna Bolonese... 

Cheers evereyone. Feel free to ask me for tips about Georgian wines....

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Jan 24, 2013.

Thanks, Maguno--amazing what we learn on this site.  Georgian wines have recently received more press in the United States and I have to admit that beyond being curious about Rkatsiteli, I haven't tried any.  I am seeing more of them. 

I actually think that dolcetto isn't the ideal wine for the lasagna proposed here, although GregT is once again correct that there's no one thing called lasagna, just a lot of Nonnas (okay, not only the grandmothers, but Italy is still pretty traditional) showing the younger generation how it's done.  I think whether dolcetto works depends on how much acid the sauce has, so I do think that Sangio or Barbera might be better, just because dolcetto's slightly bitter finish might not be ideal with the lasagna.  But dolcetto and salumi, or lightly sauced meat based dishes, that's my idea of pleasant.  Maybe not GregT's but we don't agree on everything.  I also like dolcetto on its own, which I can't always say for barbera with its higher acids. 

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Reply by Maguno, Jan 25, 2013.

Thanks FOXALL for your respond to my comment. Since I'm new in Snooth portal, opinions and objective critisism is important for me. I appriciate this. 

Well, yes as it comes to dolcetto like wines I totally agree with you. It's not always perfect for lasagna when you have already saturated ingredients as tomato, smashed tomato pasta, oil, garlic etc (depending how good you are in improvising within realistic proportions.)

You right, Italy is traditional. However I have number of Italian friends down here in Baku (capital of Azerbaijan. this is where I work now) who acknowledge that world of food and beverage trends are changing... I also have an Italian friend of mine who is delivering Italian classes and responsible for Cultural Heritage of la Republica Italiana in Azerbaijan. He's originates from Sardegnia, he grow up there. Even him understands that tradition is good, they do work and make you live the country live when you are tired of big city hustle&bustle. How reality is different. And when it comes to the point of sale the situation makes you think twice before you make decition. 

So, as for the balancing the meaty sauce dressed foods you gotta be delicate with wine pairing. I guess you realize this.

By the way, good point - Not agreeing with everything. :-) I support you in this. If you agree with a given idea straight away that means you are not critical (which is not the case with you - Snooth gurus ;-)). Or even if you support someone's suggetion on wine + food coupling you at leat come with your own explanation and ideas. 

 

 

- suggesting to build up an online enology defenition dictionary

- Share some info on Rkatsiteli (find rosy Rkatsiteli info)

- yesterdays lasagna experience with red wine (which is not really ideal one)

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Reply by gregt, Jan 25, 2013.

Maguno - welcome.

I don't know if you're aware of it or not but New York State has one producer who makes a pretty good Rkastiteli - Dr. Konstantin Frank. I believe they originated in your country and he wanted to do something good and it's actually a very nice wine.

Most of the Georgian wine I have had tended to be red and sweet. There is a huge Russian community in New York and that's what they tend to like, I suppose because in the days of the USSR, that was what they could get most easily. Since my experience with those wines tends to be limited to those sweet ones, I won't pass judgement. It's a very ancient wine-producing region, one of the oldest known actually, predating much of western Europe, since wine-making implements have been found dating back several thousand years BC.

It would be interesting to try some of those wines. I suppose that the disagreements with Russia has had an impact on the industry?

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Reply by Maguno, Jan 25, 2013.

GREGT - Thanks for welcoming. 

Honestly my awareness of Georgian wines in the USA is from the news digests I see from local TV channels and newspapers that are working closely with Georgian State Invest in Georgia Program.

Since the Rose Revolution and Mr. Saakashvili's coming to power in our state a national program of upselling and exporting Georgian wines on a state-to-state level began. So, in the USA our wines can be pretty popular, depending from federal state to state, our communities (Russian or the Caucasian immigrants as you correctly mentioned)

However, personally I am sad to admit that the old-stained tradition of giving the local consumers narrow choice options still exists. Although me as young representative of Georgians can see some western type consumer rights liberalization. Yet, it's not the one that you classicly have in the West or West Economy countries. Still economicly we are in turmoil and shaky situation :-) 

Well, historicly what really satisfied and nurtured our, the Georgians' taste - a strong and long-term tradition of making spirits at home or in family farm (in Georgian we call Odchakhuri Ghvino, literaly translated as home-made wine). Plus the Orthodox Christian traditions would even motivate the peseants to cultivate the grape Chateaus. Thus this, I would say pragmatic policy of Georgian Orthodox church, fed the demand of the masses, and sumultaneously made its contribution in cherishing wine making culture.

Well, yes Russia is a huge country with rapidly increasing population. Russian Federation's official ban on import of Georgian wines was tangible as it comes to overall sales. But, I was in Central Russian city of Izhevk last year in December. I figured out that Russians are still finding sneaky ways of getting our wines though Georgian citizen who commute-travel to Russia as shuttle workers in construction or retail market bazaars. :-)

Anyway, to conclude I gotta mention that above said are totally my subjactive point of view. Not the view or any political opinion of my government. 

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Reply by jtryka, Jan 25, 2013.

Back to the Lasagna, you might try some of the nice Italian reds from other parts of the country, such as s Nero D'Avola from Sicily, or for something on the wild side a Negroamaro from Puglia, but fair warning, these tend to be more on the earthy side, and might be more challenging when it comes to pairings.  Of course, I haven't lived in PA since college, but around here I have found both of those types of wines routinely under $15.  Best of luck!

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Reply by Ivesreeves, Jan 25, 2013.

Thanks for the insightful discussion on Gerogian wines. I adore this site and learn from it each visit. The tangential discussion in this thread reminded me of a visit from a good friend about 18 months ago.  Associated with KST dist, he had access to Georgian wines and was kind enough to give me a sample or two of a number of them.  I just consulted my notes.  As documented then, "the 2007 Chateau Mukhrani Saperavi evokes blueberry dominance, almost crying out for a bite of Lasagna Bolognese or Eggplant Ravioli", if my notes are correct, this might suggest a good Gerogian companion to your Italian dinner party, no?  I might consider a later vintage if available, however.

With the exception of one particularly snarky post, I've thoroughly enjoyed this thread. Thanks all.

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Reply by gregt, Jan 25, 2013.

Maguno - thanks for the information.

Turns out I was wrong about the Frank family - they were from the Mosel but he had spent time in the Ukraine and believed that he could make cold-climate grapes produce good wine in New York. He and his family have succeeded.

That said, I'm nearly entirely unfamiliar with Georgian grapes other than that one, and would be interested in learning more.

Your comment about the Russians finding a way to get the wines into the country reminds me of friends who used to bring goods into countries like Hungary and Poland exactly as you describe. Too bad they have to resort to those measures.

Anyway, is there a Georgian lasagna?

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Reply by Mike Madaio, Jan 25, 2013.

If the original poster is still here, I write for a website that reviews wines available in PA, and we write about quite a few Italian wines, so please give that a look now and in the future: pavineco.com

A few specific suggestions from the Chairman's Selections currently in stores:

  • Borgo Scopeto Chianti Classico 2009 - currently on CS for $12.99. A classic Chianti that would go great with lasagna.
  • Rocca Dei Sanniti Aglianico Taburno 2007 - CS for $14.99. from southern Italy, this is a nice entry-level Aglianico, which is a great match for the tomato, cheese and meat.
  • Rocca Dei Sanniti also makes a nice Greco di Tufo, an easy-drinking white that'd make a good starter drink. On CS for $14.
  • There's another Aglianico from Feudi di San Gregorio (Rubrato) also on CS for a few bucks less than the RDS. Haven't had it yet but they are a reliable producer
  • Montechiara Sagrantino di Montefalco 2005 may be a bit of a splurge at $19.99, but it's an extremely low price for a decent bottle of the rare, unique Sagrantino, a full-bodied Umbrian red.

Cin Cin!

 

 

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Reply by Maguno, Jan 26, 2013.

Hey guys... I'm glad that you enjoyed my post. 

Yeah, 2007 Chateau Mukhrani Saperavi does make a good pairing with lasagna and pasta-made dishes that have dressings like chilli sauce, tomato based sauces.

IVESREEVES - if you manage to get younger Mukhranis, crops of 2010, 2011 and 2012 even better... Young Mukhranis remind me French Beaujolais Nouveaus. I personally love them, they give a flavour of soil, slight vulcanic aftertaste as you drink the last trops from the glass! 

GREGT - we don't have exactly Georgian lasagna. yet we have lots dishes that substitues lasagna ;-) Like  Georgian pasta dish Khinkali, Acharuli etc. 

I think the best way to explore Georgian wines is to travel to Georgia. The best periond would be late September. Every year Georgians celebrate a half religous and half traditional holiday Alaverdoba - a three week feast. Traditionally first part i.e. 10 days peasants spend on collecting the harvest (grapes) and the other 11 days people burst into smashing grapes, playing games, arranging horse races, making shish kebab, grill frying huge pig that were sacrificed etc. And of cousre, you gonna enjoy the ocean of home made wines from previous year. 

P.S. - Be careful with cultural issue. Georgian countryside people sometimes are hyper-sensitive of cultural issues. For instance, if a Georgian Tamada or countryside macho offers you a buffalo horn full of red dark Ojaxuri Saperavi (alc +17) think twice before accepting his curtesy ;-) 'cos sometimes this horny vessels may reach up to a liter capacity... ;-)  You are less lucky if the offering guys is already drunk and askes you to go one more round. 

Peace

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