Wine pairings for Orecchiette con Rapini e Salsiccia
Rosato: Leone de Castris Five Roses Rosè
Sometimes, one size fits all. In the case of a “nonna,” the size is surely shorter, though probably not smaller. Whatever nonna cooks, the wines must pair perfectly. Never does one wine fit all. And, this week, one estate gets it right in every style and color: Puglia’s Leone de Castris.
What nonna does best is make everyone happy (and simultaneously well-fed). Whether white, rosé or red is the solution, nonna has it on hand. Naturally, she anticipated the need. And, what she has is very good…better yet, it is memorable in and of itself – not just because it was served with her excellent food. But, frankly, nonna keeps it simple. She knows the right wine producer…her friend…whose wines match her dishes. Because, of course, nonna changes no dish for a wine.
For nonna’s Orecchiette con Rapini e Salciccia, if you are thirsty for a white, she will serve you a Verdeca. Yes, Verdeca is often boring. But, nonna’s isn’t. No. It’s refreshing and has some body and extract. It’s even fragrant. Sipping it with this pasta you wonder if nonna wasn’t sneaking in a glass while forming all those perfect pasta shapes. (Of course, she was!)
Nonna always serves. And, sometimes, she feels you are too skinny. She serves you more sausage. Yet, you’re trying to keep things light. Sigh. To counter balance the richness of the meat, you need more than the white (which made you perfectly happy, grazie), but instead you reach for the rosato. There you find the happy match…something with a little more tannin and acid support to get you through that hearty dish. Nonna, per favore….
Then, there are nonna’s favorites. They get the biggest portions…or the portions they want…and sometimes those portions are in wine, not pasta. With this particular dish, she might serve something simpler and perhaps easier, like the Primitivo Villa Larena. But, she might bring out the fancier wine, the Primitivo Truppere, hoping (possibly expecting) you’d understand its complexity.
You can choose your wine at nonna’s table or you can ask her suggestion. Whatever it is, it will be delicious…even if you don’t choose what the wine nonna would have choosen for you. And, whatever you choose, nonna will take notes…oh, yes she will.
Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine (MW)
p.s. check out our recipe for Orecchiette con Rapini e Salsiccia