Wine pairings for Orecchiette con Ceci
Bianco: Greco di Tufo, Falanghina, Fiano – especially from Bruno de Conciliis
Rosso: Teroldego – especially from Elizabetta Foradori and Lagrein – especially from Hofstätter and Muri-Gries
The rich flavors and the decadent density of this dish call not for a match but a contrast of wine. As I conjure up the aroma and taste of this pasta in my mind, I can best visualize cleansing (acidic), bright (young) wines with moderate fruit intensity.
In the white wine category, the wines of Campania call out. Unbeknownst to most of the wine-drinking world, the whites of Campania can be some of Italy’s most brilliant. Greco di Tufo and Falanghina, followed by Fiano, rank at the top of Italian white wine drinking. For Orecchiette con Ceci, these wines have a tropical fruit ripeness to contrast the savory overtones of the dish as well as an acidity that cleans the palate for your next bite of pasta. On the note of matching versus contrasting, the viscous texture of these whites does match the heartiness of the dish’s al dente pasta and chickpeas. My favorite white wines from Campania come from the stable of Bruno de Conciliis, particularly his Greco di Tufo ORO 2008 or 2009.
Turning to reds, wines from the hills and mountains of the north of “the boot” seem a perfect fit. Teroldego and Lagrein from Trentino excite my taste buds in particular. Just as I was seeking in the white wine pairings, these varieties offer generous ripe fruit and zinging acidity (often even a bit more than the Campanian whites given their cooler climate) that add a new dimension of flavor and fruitiness to this savory Sunday Pasta. These reds are gentle on the tannins and usually on the oak, too, which means the purity of the food flavors remain at the forefront of the eating experience. For Teroldego, Elisabetta Foradori is my go-to-gal while for Lagrein I turn to Muri-Gries and Hofstätter. When I’m looking to splurge, there’s nothing quite like Hofstätter’s Steinraffler.
Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine (MW)