Wine Pairings for Risotto all’Astice
This enticing dish contrasts sweetness and savoriness. The sweetness comes from the lobster, rice, tomato purée and butter. The savory side enters via the stock and onion, along with a bit of the sea-salty qualities of the lobster. The generosity of the sweeter elements dominates the savory ones, so don’t go for an overly mineral or starkly dry wine. This is not to say your wine selections should be sweet! They should, in fact, be dry, but they should have good fruit generosity.
Heading south is always a good direction when looking for such wines. I write most frequently about varietal wines for Sunday Pasta, but since I’ve mentioned so many components of this dish, blended wines seem like a good way to go this time around. Sicily is the right region to bet on to find both pieces for this food and wine pairing puzzle.
Sicily’s Regaleali Bianco from Tasca d’Almerita is a blend of Grecanico (43%), Catarratto (23%), Inzolia (22%) and Chardonnay (12%). It has just enough crispness matched with a touch of creaminess to blend seamlessly with this pasta. Though this wine is unoaked, this risotto can handle a deft touch of wood. A nice one to try is the Calatrasi & Micchichè Bella Nova, a blend of two-thirds Catarratto and one-third Grillo. Also from Sicily, this is fuller-bodied and more dynamically floral, thanks in part to its fermentation in older acacia barrels. Acacia gives white wines spring flower notes.
In reds, stay away from new wood and high tannin levels, both of which will contrast sharply with this recipe’s sweeter elements. The absolute perfect wine would be a Sicilian Cerasuolo. I sometimes call this blend “Sicily’s answer to Pinot Noir”. Centonze’s is a new one I’ve recently discovered that sees no oak at all. By contrast, the Occhipinti Cerasuolo Grotte Alta is aged entirely in large Slavonian oak. It has a bit more breadth on the palate. Try the Centonze is you want to cut through the rice’s richness, and try the Occhipinti’s if you want to match it.
Check out our recipe for Risotto all’Astice.
Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine (MW)