Pine nuts add a delicate yet decided decadence to a dish with their rich, nutty, oiliness.
Rosatos are my first choice for this dish and what better than a rosato from Liguria, given the location of Ed’s inspiration for this dish?! Bisson makes a delightful, brightly blushed Ciliegiolo Rosato from a local grape of the same name. Its mineral undertones match the green-leafy, spicy basil and the zesty acidity and crunchy cranberry fruit contrast the richness of the pesto. This rosato may not be the easiest to find. However, any moderate to deeply colored rosato, should pair well with this dish. Generally speaking, the lighter color the rosato, the lighter in body, too – just like with red wines – and you’ll want at least a medium-bodied wine.
Sticking with Liguria and in search of a red, Rossese comes to mind. Again, this is a local variety. I was not surprised to see that the last time I wrote about Rossese the pasta involved nuts because this grape possesses vibrant acidity that balances oily dishes well. The most recent Rossesse I tried and definitely recommend is Punta Crena’s Vigneto Isasco. If Rossese isn’t available, go for a medium-bodied wine with lots of red fruit flavors and as little oak as possible.
Here’s to enjoying your virtual wining and dining in Liguria, right in your own kitchen!
Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine (MW)