Wine Pairings for Spaghetti con Salmone, Noci e Mozzarella (Salmon and Walnuts)

Bianco: Ferrari Riserva Lunelli

Rosato: Ferrari Perlé Rosato, Ferrari Maximum Rosato

This Sunday Pasta combines three rich ingredients – smoked salmon, meaty walnuts and creamy mozzarella – via two different textures – smooth and creamy with crunchy. What this dish needs is some vivacious lift to pull these delightful but very unctuous flavors from the palate. Bubbles are the perfect solution because they not only provide mouthwatering refreshment, they almost literally scrub the palate clean.

Not just any sparkling wine will do, however. The best bubbly will be one with an intense concentration of bubbles. This means no Prosecco; save this lighter wine style, for which the bubbles are made in tank, for other occasions. For this spaghetti, look for a metodo classico – or classic method – wine. This designation means the wine became bubbly in the bottle in which it will be sold rather than being “bubbled” in a big tank then bottled. Metodo classico wines have more and finer bubbles for that palate-cleansing effect. Additionally, they show a yeastiness, breadiness and creaminess from the wine aging in bottle on dead yeast lees. This blends in nicely with the spaghetti itself as well as with the smoky tones of the smoked salmon.

Whether you’d like a white sparkler or a pink one, the second idea is to look for bubblies that have some red grapes in them. (That’s right! Red grapes are often used in sparkling wine. The juice is simply separated immediately from the skins rather than macerating with them to absorb the pigment in the skins.) Red grapes, often Pinot Noir, will give the wine red fruit tones that will match nicely with the heartiness of the sweet salmon flesh.

The Ferrari Perlé Rosato is a sublime choice for this dish. It is a vintage sparkling wine, so it is intensely flavorful in fruit concentration. This one is also 80% Pinot Noir, so there are lots of crisp red fruits to absorb the heartiness of the salmon and the walnuts. Aged five (long!) years on the yeast lees from that second fermentation in bottle, there’s a gorgeous creaminess to match up with the mozzarella. The Ferrari Maximum Rosato is 70% Pinot Noir and it spends less time aging in bottle, but it is kinder to the wallet.

If you prefer opting for a white sparkler and you’re keen on a bianco di bianco style (a wine made entirely from white grapes, the Ferrari Riserva Lunelli is a great choice. It is made from extremely small yields, which give it powerful concentration to stand up to those in this dish. Not only that, it is aged seven (very long!) years and the toasty character created by that process complements the meat of the walnuts particularly well.

In the end, if you can’t find these wines or you’d rather have a still wine, either of the grape varieties contributing to these sparkling blends – Pinot Nero or Chardonnay – will work nicely with this dish.

Cin cin!
Christy Canterbury

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