Wine pairings for Risotto al Barolo
It is the ultimate season for Risotto…and what better to enjoy Risotto than with wine, especially when the wine is in the pasta as well as the glass! While the Chardonnays of Piedmont will certainly pair-up with this dish, it seems most appropriate to focus on the region’s noble Barolo.
Barolo is made exclusively from the Nebbiolo grape. Nebbiolo possesses lots of tannin and acidity but is very pale in color. In fact, even a young Nebbiolo often has a pale copper tint. Barolo is effusively aromatic and is classically defined as smelling of “tar and roses.” The fruit flavors tend to the red side of the spectrum: raspberry, cranberry and strawberry.
It’s hard to pick among the many world-class producers of Barolo, but three of my all time favorites are Gianfranco Bovio’s Barolo Vigna Gattera dell’Annunziata, Giacomo Conterno’s Barolo Cascina Francia and Bruno Giacosa’s Barolo Falletto.
Barolo, as one might expect of a wine referred to as the “King of Wines and Wine of Kings,” is pricey. Luckily, each of these producers makes wines labeled simply “Nebbiolo,” which come with more digestible prices. These wines are generally made from grapes grown in vineyards outside the Barolo designation or from vines in the Barolo area that the producers are not yet ready to put in their Barolo bottlings. Even if you do buy Barolo, you might consider trimming your dinner budget by buying Nebbiolo for the risotto preparation.
Check out our recipe for Risotto al Barolo.
Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine (MW)