This Sunday Pasta abounds with green flavors of asparagus and peas. The twist is that one is bitter and one is sweet. It would be easy to fall back on an international standard like riper Sauvignon Blanc (and if you can’t find these white wines, that is an excellent Plan B) that shows aromas of green beans and asparagus along with a little body fat to match to the sweetness of the peas. However, Italy has such diversity of grape varieties that this is the perfect time to try them out.
This is a lighter dish, so northern Italian wines or wines from chilly climates will carry the light to mid-weight body to match the pasta. Tiny Valle d’Aosta in the western Alps makes wines that fit that categorization and has highly unique local grape varieties, too.
For a white wine, try a Petit Arvine. Petit Arvine is often characterized as having grapefruit and floral tones. The lighter ones often also carry a touch of leafiness that works well with the green in the pasta. However, Petit Arvine is a malleable grape, and it can take on different styles per the winemaker’s preferences. The Château Feuillet is the more whispy of these two with greater emphasis on aromatic character. The Grosjean is a rounder and riper style thanks to a longer aging period on the yeast lees as well as regular stirring of the lees to add flavor. A portion also spends some time in oak, though the wine does’t show any oak-induced flavors of toast or vanilla. (Vanilla and aparagus would be an unfortunate combination!)
Reds in Valle d’Aosta can be rather firm on the palate with powerful acidity reinforcing tight tannins. However, wines labeled Torrette tend to have more reined-in tannins. They also have an exuberantly fruity personality that plays well against the fruit vegetables. These mid-weight blends are made predominantly of the palate-caressing Petit Rouge with portions of the heartier Fumin and Cornalin grapes. Similarly, the unusual Prëmetta grape (its bunches are pink!) makes light-bodied, pale-colored and freshly aromatic wines that aren’t too biting in tannins. If you can’t find these reds, opt for a delicate style of Pinot Nero.
Click here for Pasta con Asparagi e Piselli recipe.