Wine pairings for Risotto ai Porcini
The classic Risotto pairing is Nebbiolo, often called Italy’s equivalent of Pinot Noir for its effussive fragrance, pale color and ageability. But, it is Pinot Nero itself that best fits this dish given its porcini mushrooms. For white wine lovers, Chardonnay is the way to go. There’s nothing like the Pinot family to echo the earthiness of mushrooms.
Chardonnay tends to be quite neutral, allowing the dish to take center stage. Some Chardonnay is crisp and lean; some is round and lush. Favor the latter style (and a kiss of oak can work nicely) to match the density of the risotto. A bottling with several years of age would be ideal: the wine will have begun to loose its youthful, baby fat of apple-driven fruit and show flavors of yeast and hay that will enhance the flavors of the rice. Its newly acquired truffle notes will pair up well with the mushrooms.
The same principles hold true for Pinot Nero. However, here a medium-bodied wine could work as well as a full-bodied one. Pinot Noir’s crisp acidity and delicate tannins will work to keep the palate refreshed between bites of unctuous risotto.
Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine (MW)
Check out our recipe for Risotto ai Porcini.