This Sunday Pasta’s blend of major ingredients (cured meat and green peas) can make it challenging to find the perfect pairing. The bright freshness of green peas begs for a lightly herbal wine. However, the savoriness of the sausage asks for red. In the end, the sausage flavor dominates. Yet to compromise with the green peas, look for a wine that is oriented toward lighter, red fruits rather than in the deeper, black fruits. Also, be sure the wine has perky acidity as the tomato sauce will require this. Finally, this is a mid-weight pasta, so match it with wines in the 13-13.5% range.
Dry rosato, the perfect compromise between white and red wines, works better here than many dry whites as they often have a bit more body and even a touch of tannins the whites do not have. Those from the central portion of the boot work best here as they strike the perfect balance between the wispier wines of the north and the weightier and spicier wines of the south. Many combinations of varieties can work, and central Italy is typically a blending zone. Hence, it’s a good place to start your pairing search.
Also in Central Italy is a little-known red grape called Cesanese. Cesanese is a red grape indigenous to Lazio, the wine region surrounding Rome. While this grape produces wines dark in color, they are often lifted aromatically and only medium in body – sometimes surprising as their dark colors might suggest more brooding wines. Cesanese’s bright acidity will keep the palate refreshed and going back to the dish for another bite!
Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine (MW)