Wine pairings for Gnocchi alla Sorrentina
This is a seriously dense dish between the dough and the cheese, so a firmly tannic red would work very nicely. I would normally shy away from stronger reds when tomatoes are involved because their tartness can further emphasize drying tannins. However in this case, there’s plenty of “cushion” in the gnocchi and mozzarella to absorb it all. There’s a place for white wine with this dish, too. The preparation process requires a good bit of time, which is just the right time to open a bottle of bianco! Since this dish is from Campania, a selection of wines from that region is ideal.
Many of Campania’s whites are highly aromatic and varietally bottled. However, one of my favorite producers makes blends. Marisa Cuomo’s Ravello Bianco and Furore Bianco are boldly flavorful blends of Falanghina and Biancolella. The Ravello is brighter and easier-drinking while the Furore has more weight and complexity along with a higher price tag. I suggest the Ravello for your gnocchi work, and if someone at your table will want a white, go for the Furore.
While big tannins can work with this pasta, big new oak flavors cannot. So, stick to purer styles of the local Aglianico grape. Cantine del Taburno’s Fidelis is a good example. It’s aged only in older and mostly larger oak, and its 90% Aglianico is slightly softed by a dollop of Merlot. Terredora makes a gently-extracted 100% Aglianico that will buffer the starch and cheese without being too aggressive with the tomatoes. Of course, if a more aggressive red isn’t what you want – even on a cold winter night, go for Marisa Cuomo’s Furore Rosso, whose Aglianico is tempered by an equal portion of Piedirosso.
Check out our recipe for Gnocchi alla Sorrentina.
Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine (MW)