Wine pairings for Pappardelle al Cacao con Ragu di Maiale
This bold and hearty dish calls for red wine. Not even a rosato will stand up to the pork ribs. The chocolate is a big key in the pairing, too, and this is one of those rare occasions when a wine aged in new oak will work well. However, you don’t have to buy an oaky wine to make a good match.
Yet you do need a wine with firm tannins and high acidity. Luckily, that fits the description of many Italian wines, and Barbera from Piedmont offers lots of flexibility for this pasta. Barberas, coming from the area around the town of Alba, work best as they have generous fruit and a bit more alcohol to stand up to this dish’s body. Vietti’s Vigne Scarrone sees oak during its aging, but it barely shows up in the wine. Brovia’s Ciabot del Fi (formerly known as “Brea”) has a very gentle touch of new oak that is just noticeable and will blend seamlessly with the unsweetened chocolate.
If you embrace bold toast and chocolate notes in your wine, try Sandrone’s Barbera. Half is aged in new oak, and this wine has more mid-palate density than the Brovia and the Vietti. For an even bigger wine, try the original oaked Barbera. Giacomo Bologna’s Bricco dell’Uccellone was groundbreaking in the 1980s. It’s big with extract and definitely the powerhouse of these pairing options.
Check out our recipe for Pappardelle al Cacao con Ragu di Maiale.
Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine (MW)