Wine pairings for Gnocchi di Spinaci e Ricotta Burro e Maggiorana
This Sunday Pasta has two focal points for wine pairings. One is the concerted, fresh and green flavors stemming from the spinach and marjoram. The second is the impressive lightness of the dish. These two characteristics call for light to medium body wines with youthful and unoaked flavors.
Head north for lighter wines. To be specific, look for wines from the northern “arms” of the peninsula. That means looking from Liguria, Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta west to Friuli. Most light-to mid-weight bodied wines in these regions will work, but a few will work particularly well. While many people visit or at least fly into Milan when they visit Italy, they don’t often explore the surrounding Lombardy region for its wine diversity. Lombardy offers all you need for this pasta.
A broad array of varieties is made into varietal and blended wines in Lombardy. The unoaked wines are always zesty, so almost any wine will do. Whether you prefer an earthy Pinot Grigio that will work with the spinach, or a bright and aromatic Riesling to contrast the down tones of the dish, pretty much any unoaked white from the region will work.
In the red category, Bonarda, aka Croatina, is a terrific match. It’s the earthiness of the grape that really makes a match, combining nicely with the spinach in particular. Moreover, Bonarda’s generosity of fruit amplifies the freshness of this dish overall and melds well with the spicy zest of the spinach. However, it’s not always easy to find pure Bonardas. Happily, there are blends with Bonarda as well. When a varietal Bonarda isn’t available, look for a Buttafuoco blend, which includes Barbera and Uva Rara and tends to be a bit more easy-going in its drinkability.
Check out our recipe for Gnocchi di Spinaci e Ricotta Burro e Maggiorana.
Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine (MW)