Wine Pairings for Penne al Pistacchio
Pistachio and cream – how heavenly, how hearty! The abundance of flavor and body in this pasta calls for generously ripe wines with substantial weight on the palate.
Italy is the source of some beautiful Chardonnays and white blends. Friuli, in particular, has some stellar wines fitting in this category. La Castellada makes some stellar examples, and for this dish, I would choose their Bianco della Castellada. This wine is a blend of Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc with a smidge of Friulano. This wine is fermented in barrel, about one-third new, contributing to its generous mouthfeel. Pale golden in color with aromas of cream and herbs, it is a brilliant match for this penne. If you’re an ambitious wine hunter, try to find Miami’s Bianco Miani. This, too, is a Friulian blend – Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Malvasia Istriana and Riesling – and a sensation! Be warned…it will be hard to find and it will be pricey. A 100% Chardonnay that will compliment this pasta beautifully is Colterenzio’s Chardonnay Cornell from Alto Adige. This wine is also fermented in barrel, some of which is new, and shows notes of honeydew melon and mango. For all the times I advise to avoid wines with new oak, this isn’t one of them. The creaminess of the pasta really calls for it!
This pasta will also take to red wines, especially those with…a hint of new oak! Wines with a red fruit character, such as those made from grapes like Merlot and Covina, are perfect. Villa Russiz makes a Merlot labeled Graf de La Tour from its Collio vineyards. Ripe plums and mulberries abound with whifs of baking spices and toast. Most Valpolicella Classico will also work well. One perennial favorite that is pretty easy to find hails from the cantina at Allegrini. However, if you can locate a Valpolicella from Quintarelli (and have a wad of cash to spare), go for it!
Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine (MW)