Wine Pairings for Pasta e Fagioli
Pasta e Fagioli is about the simplicity of just a few ingredients melding into a complex savoriness of flavors. Italian wines are reputed for their seemingly generous embrace of food because Italian table wines generally perceived by the imbiber as being very dry and crisp. This is precisely what is needed with such a hearty soup. My primary picks for this dish are whites and sparklers, but a soft red – like a Pinot Nero from the north – would also work well.
Franciacorta’s Ca’ del Bosco makes sparkling wines produced in the methodo classico, which is the same method with which Champagne is made. This makes for a wine that is lightly leesy and yeasty on the nose (a great liaison with the pasta) and creamy on the mid-palate (the link to the soup’s beans). For this dish, I particularly like this winery’s Cuvée Prestige, which is made predominantly of Chardonnay along with some Pinot Bianco. These white grapes lend the wine mealy apple notes that blend well with the broth, sage and onion. There’s a shot of Pinot Nero as well, which gives the bubbly some breadth on the palate while standing up to the spike of black pepper seasoning. If you can’t find Ca’ del Bosco, ask your wine store for any traditional method sparkling wine from Franciacorta or from the larger region within which Franciacorta sits, Lombardy.
Switching to still wines, I’ve recently enjoyed a few vini made from the gem-of-a-variety Pignoletto which would pair seamlessly with this soup. Pignoletto clings to the hills around Bologna, and it is one of the region’s most special white wines. Pignoletto smells of golden apple and thick-stemmed herbs – like rosemary, thyme and sage – drying in the sunshine. A little nuttiness comes out on the finish…all flavors that meld with our Pasta e Fagioli. These wines are medium in weight, so they match the body of the soup very well. Note that Pignoletto usually doesn’t see any new oak (one of my favorite themes in food pairing as frequent readers know!), which allows the wine to refresh the palate while letting the dish take center stage. Two Pignoletto I’ve been able to find recently are the Bassi Pignoletto Reno and the Alberto Tedeschi Pignoletto. I hope your favorite wine shop has discovered these food-friendly jewels as well!
Here’s to your savory Sunday supper – con vini – on a cold winter’s night!
p.s. Check out our recipe for Pasta e Fagioli.
Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine (MW)