An Italian feast to warm up with

Crisp air, where you can see your breath, the smell of wood burning fires and the thought of a big, wonderful, stick to your ribs dinner.

  • Nov. 23, 2011 12:00 p.m.

~By Andrea Pollock

Crisp air, where you can see your breath, the smell of wood burning fires and the thought of a big, wonderful, stick to your ribs dinner of my dad’s spaghetti and meatballs or my moms manicotti.

I love Italian themed feasts, and I have no problem finding a place in my hollow leg to put all those leftovers too. After a big day out spending lots of energy, I always look forward to a healthy Italian feast that delivers all the carbs, veggies and protein that I am looking for. These days I am usually rocking some homemade pizzas and some of those spaghetti and meatballs like my dad used to make, in order to get my Italian fix.

There are so many great Italian wines to choose from on store shelves. One of the reasons you may want to select an Italian wine to pair with an Italian themed meal is the natural tendency of wines to mimic elements of their terroir. A traditional spice and flavour profile of Italian dishes has intrinsic Italian wine flavour appeal. Things you usually won’t find in traditional Italian red wines are big, overpowering jammy fruit flavours, or tons of smoke. Most Italian red wines deliver the more subtle elements of balanced oak and fruit that also showcase lots of earthy and herbaceous elements.

Since so many Italian dishes see a big part of their flavour profile come from fresh herbs, the herby hints that show themselves in Italian wines are very well matched. The more delicate fruit flavours that are also present in Italian wines can stand up well to the robust tomato sauce flavours that make their way into lots of Italian dishes.

Below are a few reviews of some very approachable Italian wines that are widely available. These wines are quite affordable and will be a good match to rich Italian cooking and all its fresh flavours.

Wines of the week

Giacondi Sangiovese Merlot Rubicon 2009 – [Italy]

Some heat, mild fruits and anise on the nose. A dry earthy flavour with untamed oak (not necessarily a compliment). An alternative for a real deal seeker fed up with super fruit and sweetness. 87/100 (March 27th, 2011)

Farnese Sangiovese 2009 – [Italy]

A warm earthy scent followed by barbequed meats and strawberry. Initially this wine starts off a little sweet but quickly switches to a dry palate cleanser with mild tannins. The flavour profile is rather flat with a single note of toasted wood chips. 83/100 (April 26, 2011)