Wine pairings for Risotto alla Milanese
Whether you make your risotto normale or al salto, both will work with my wine suggestions here. To compensate for the richness of the risotto, big acidity is key to refresh the palate. In the reds, you’ll also pick up some tannins that will cleanse the palate. Risotto has heft, so the wines need to be at least medium in weight. To let the flavors of this Risotto sing, I suggest Pinot Bianco and Nebbiolo with no new oak.
Pinot Bianco is a good risotto partner because it is quite subtle in flavor. That means it can be made in all sorts of styles, including lean ones. As I mentioned, it’s best to have enough body to match the dish, so I’ve picked two single vineyard wines. These will have more concentration and a broader feel across the palate to stand up with the risotto. Terlano’s Pinot Bianco Vorberg and Lageder’s Pinot Bianco Haberle are favorites.
I love Nebbiolo, and I sometimes liken its aromas to Pinot Noir – so nuanced, especially with many years of bottle age! While Barolo and Barbaresco are always options, there’s many other Nebbiolo wines that will work well – and arguably better – with this dish because they are more laid back. Sandro Fay makes one from the heart of Valtellina that is aged mostly in stainless steel with only about 10% old casks. This Nebbiolo is fresh and straightforward. (Watch out for his single vineyard wines, which all have some new barrique.) If you want Nebbiolo with more depth of character, seek out one of the AR.PE.PE. wines. The Grumello Buno Consiglio is excellent as is the Sassella Rocce Rosse.
Remember, if you have wine leftovers but no wine preservation means, that’s okay. Just pop the cork back in the bottle and stick it in the fridge – even for the reds. It will be just fine the next day!
Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine (MW)
p.s. Check out our recipe for Risotto alla Milanese