Wine pairings for Orecchiette con Spinaci
Spinach has both a grassy, green character and a bitter note. Since this dish – or at least its pasta inspiration – is from Puglia, it follows to look in the Italian tradition of keeping food and wine pairings regional. The grape variety Negroamaro, meaning “black-bitter,” is a good place to go to match up a wine well with the spinach’s lightly biting aspect.
While a number of Italian whites that show light bitterness (many of them have tannin) would work with this wine, why not stick to the same region and variety? However, rather than a white made from Negroamaro – exceedingly rare, try a rosato made from that variety. Rosatos, too, will have tannins, which will add a touch of firmness that will match this pasta.
For the red category, go for bottlings with as little new oak as possible. Generally, that will mean avoiding categories like “Riserva”. Producers tend to use new oak on their top wines, which tend to fall under the “Riserva” category. Since there is no protein/meat element in this dish, the rosato may be the best way to go, but if a red is craved, you’ll now have a solution.
Check out our recipe for Orecchiette con Spinaci.
Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine