Wine Pairings for Crespelle alla Fiorentina
As in cuisine, Italo-French cultural crossover occurs in wine. Yes, Italy makes wines with French grapes called “international varieties” like Merlot and Chardonnay. But, there is more. Similarities in wine styles (rather than varieties) can be found, too, especially in the wines of the northern mountains and their foothills. These wines carry a vibrant, sometimes even crystalline acidity, and a leaner fruit character, both of which are perfect for these deceptively light crespelle.
Piedmont creates a plethora of such styles. Nascetta and Pelaverga are old grape varieties that are not widely grown. In fact, Nascetta is just coming back from the edge of extinction in the hands of a few fanatical growers. Grown since the 1800s, Pelaverga was largely relegated to the table grape category by the 1950s but has been gaining ground recently.
Nascetta vaguely reminds me of Chardonnay in that it is maleable. It can be made with or without oak. Its styles range from lean and crisp to expansive and generously fruited. Less than half a dozen are imported into the US, but all are worth the search. For these crespelle, I would specifically pick the Ettore Germano Langhe Bianco Nascetta or Azienda Agricola SanMarco Nascetta Langhe Bianco if I could.
Pelaverga, once thought to be an aphrodisiac, is known for its strawberry fragrance and smooth tannins. It is often faintly fizzy but usually dry. G.B. Burlotto, known as a pioneer in bottling Barolo at the winery, makes an excellent one. The newcomer (in Old World accounting) Poderi Roset, who celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, lovingly cultivates one, single hectare of Pelaverga that is also a joy to drink.
Remember, there’s always an alternative if you can’t find the specific bottles or varieties I mention in a pairing. For these crepes…er, crespelle…try any wines from the mountains in northern Italy, particularly those of the northwest. If you find a pairing you like, share with us here or on Twitter!
p.s. Check out our recipe for Crespelle alla Fiorentina.
Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine (MW)