Wine pairings for Orecchiette con Patate
This pasta is like a blank canvas for wines. No tricky ingredients to throw things off track and no magical, classic pairings that must be honored. Given it’s a somewhat weighty, mouth-coating sort of pasta, wines with medium-plus to full body should be chosen to counter it. That leads me further south on the peninsula of “the boot.”
Pietracupa in Campania is a good one-stop shop for wine pairings for this dish. Though based in a warm and rather southerly region of Italy, these wines come from vineyards planted at almost 2,000 feet above sea level. It’s pretty breezy up there, and the nights during the growing season are pleasantly cool, too. These factors result in wines that show enough mouth-watering acidity to cut through this dense pasta.
Pietracupa makes two local whites that pair beautifully with this dish. Fiano di Avellino smells more nutty (a perfect to compliment this dish) while Greco di Tufo tends to be more apple-y and floral (a nice contrast to this dish.)
The two reds from Pietracupa are both made from the local hero, Aglianico. The Quirico is an easier wine to sip, with aromatics of dried herbs, red roses and game. The Taurasi is über-intense with iodine, rust and drought-striken earth. Both have tongue-tying tannin though the Quirico is a touch more lenient.
Whether white or red be your choice for this Sunday Pasta, any of the local grape varieties indigenous to Campania will be good accompaniments if the Pietracupa wines aren’t on your favorite local store’s shelves.
Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine (MW)
p.s. Check out our recipe for Orecchiette con Patate.