Wine Pairings for Penne al Rosmarino (Rosemary)

Wine pairings for Penne al Rosmarino

Frizzante: Colombaïa Bianco Ancestrale and Rosato Ancestrale

Bianco: Colombaïa Toscano Bianco

Rosso: Colombaïa Toscano Rosso Vigna Nuova

Sometimes simple is best. Take Penne al Rosmarino. There are just a handful of ingredients, yet this pasta bursts with flavor. Some winemakers take a similar philosophy, crafting what is known in the trendy wine arenas as “natural wine.” Here are some wine picks to match this preparation not only in flavor, but also in philosophy.

Take the wines made at the diminutive Colombaïa in Tuscany, just northwest of Siena. The husband (Dante) and wife (Helena) team converted their four-hectare property, planted entirely to local grapes, to organic farming in 1990 and have more recently converted to bio-dynamic farming.

They make several wines, two of which are sparkling. The Bianco Ancestrale and Rosato Ancestrale are unique in that they undergo one fermentation. (Most sparkling wines go through two). Less is more, right? The wines are dry and lightly bubbly. The white is made from Trebbiano and Malvasia Bianco, and the red is composed of Sangiovese, Colorino, Malvasia Nera and Canaiolo. Both the white and red forms of Malvasia are highly aromatic, which will match up to the rosemary’s brightness.

The couple also makes a still white wine from the same varieties as the Bianco Ancestrale. The Toscano Bianco is different in that it is fermented on the skins. (The juice and skins from white grapes are usually separated before fermentation.) This adds a bit of tannin to this white wine, which works in conjunction with the faint bitterness of the rosemary.

Finally, Dante and Helena make a red from young vines called Toscano Rosso Vigna Nuova. This is most Sangiovese with a bit of Colorino. Believe it or not, there’s really not much that is unusual here, except that like the other wines, there is little to no sulphur added at bottling. (Here’s the less-is-more idea, again.) The youthfulness of these young vines make a wine that isn’t too concentrated or serious, which allows the pasta to shine.

I hope you enjoy your foray into “natural wines.” Let us know what you thought of these!

Check out our recipe for Penne al Rosmarino and our About that gives some information on rosemary.


Christy Canterbury, MW

Wine Editor


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