Wine Pairings for Fussili al Caffe con Mascarpone (Coffee and Cream)
It seemed daunting at first to try to pair dry wines with what reads like a pasta version of creamy tiramisu. Happily, it’s far easier than I expected. Whew! The trick is pairing fruit driven wines with this dish, as all of the elements nod toward sweetness, even when the ingredients themselves aren’t so sweet. Granted, the mascarpone has some actual sweetness, but the bite of the shallots and the Parmigiano Reggiano cut through them. As in any great dish, especially a confounding one, it’s all about balance.
In the white category, I reached for wines rich in fruit and viscosity to match the pasta’s texture. Savory whites like Veltliner, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay or any blend of such varieties from Alto Adige are absolute stars with this dish. Their higher alcohol (not that it’s so noticeable) of around 13.5-14.5% stands up to the mascarpone while bonding with the earthy pasta and shallots.
For a red, the most important thing to do is to shy away from tannins, which will clash violently with this dish’s sweet inflections. Also, opt for joyously fresh wines. (This is one unusual pairing instance where as you could – and should – spend a lot less money on your reds than on your whites.) That’s to say, focus on recent vintages and wines made with little new oak influence. Sicily’s Frappato grape is very possibly one of the best sources for such a wine style. It’s sappy and grapey and gluggable – exactly what this Sunday Pasta needs!
Master of Wine (MW)
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