Radicchio is pleasantly bitter. As the primary element in this dish, its bitterness is a key pairing element. Radicchio works best with wines with a touch of tannic tug. These crepes are light in body, so the wine should be no more than medium in body. Otherwise, the wine will overpower the crepe. Aromatic whites and rosés are the best bet for a good match. Even light reds could take over this delicate dish.
For whites, try a pairing that counters the radicchio’s earthiness. An exotically exuberant white grape like Gewürztraminer, which also has some tannic frame when vinified dry (and all are in Italy), is the perfect solution. Gewürztraminers from Alto Adige also have a light, mouth-coating quality that resolves well with the ricotta and mascarpone.
Rosato works better than red for this dish. Rosato has less tannin than red, even when made from a tannic variety like Lagrein. You get the flavor of a red with the lightness and crispness of a rosé. Lagrein is a bold black grape variety that makes firm reds with mouthwatering acidity. A rosato version of the grape provides much of the flavor without the heaviness. Lagrein is particularly nice with these crepes as it has an underlying earthiness that matches well with the same notes found in the radicchio.
Check out the recipe for Casarecce con Radicchio e Gorgonzola.
Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine (MW)