Pairings for Conchiglie Bolognese con Piselli
Red Wines: Sangiovese di Romagna (Chianti Classico is an alternative), Colli Bolognesi and Colli Piacentini
Any dish bearing the name of Italy’s culinary heartland certainly calls for wines from that region. Emilia-Romagna is the home of many food-friendly wines that zing with acidity and tantalize with vibrant fruit. This sort of wine profile is one of the most food-friendly, and food is what the fine food folk of Bologna prize most. While a hearty white from the region, like Albana di Romagna might work with this dish, the savory undertones and meaty flavors favor a red wine pairing.
My first consideration is for the near-ubiquitously grown Sangiovese di Romagna. Sangiovese di Romagna is a Sangiovese clone (different clone of Sangiovese are grown for Chianti Classico, a good substitute if you can’t find Sangiovese di Romagna) grown in Emilia-Romagna, yielding a pale-colored, lightly herbal wine that displays less ripeness than its Tuscan Sangiovese counterparts. This lighter ripeness kindly compliments the tomato component of this sauce. With lighter ripeness comes bright acidity, which lifts the pleasant meaty, greasy component of the sauce, too. Tre Monti, San Patrignano and Zerbina make tasty examples. (Warning: it’s pretty easy to find wines from Bolla, but I would avoid those as they are often too under-ripe.)
Other options from the region include wines from the Colli Bolognesi, an appellation just south of the charming city of Bologna. A handful of “international varieties” like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are grown here. Given the coolish climate, these wines usually don’t carry a lot of new oak aromas and hence can be aromatically profound. There are also the wines of the Colli Piacentini, which sits against Lombardy’s Oltrepò Pavese. Here the wines include indigenous – Barbera and Bonarda, for example – and international varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc – and may be varietal or blended. A popular denominazione (aka appellation) is Gutturnio, an aromatic blend of Barbera and Bonarda. My favorite producer from the region is undoubtedly La Stoppa.
Check out our recipe for Conchiglie Bolognese con Piselli and our About post that gives a brief history of the dish.
Christy A. Canterbury,Wine Editor.