In Tuscany, Red Wine Pairs with Fish #ItalianFWT
Seaside in Italy
Exploring Italy (virtually), we have been enjoying lots of meats and pasta. It’s time to move to the coast! In our #ItalianFWT twitter chat last month, the folks at ReDiscover Lambrusco gave me this advice: When you’re at a seaside restaurant, look at the wine at the tables. If all the wine is white, leave! It’s a tourist joint. Of course, we need to see for ourselves, so we’re going to try both Tuscan white and red wines with our seafood.
Brodetto: Seafood Stew
In Italy, brodetto (broth) is a seafood soup/stew. There are as many different brodetto recipes as there are cooks! Today we’re trying one from Tuscany, courtesy of Francis Mayes, author of The Tuscan Sun Cookbook. Frances gives similar advice for this recipe, try a red wine. Something not too heavy, but red wine goes with seafood.
If you look at a map, you’ll see that Tuscany enjoys a significant coastline on the Tyrrhenian sea, so there are plenty of spots to taste Tuscan seafood.
Rosso di Montalcino DOC
Rosso di Montalcino is made from 100% Sangiovese grapes and comes from good vineyards in Montalcino, the same district as Brunello. Often, Rosso di Montalcino comes from vines too young to produce a proper Brunello, and it has shorter aging requirements, so it helps with the winery cash flow. One thing to watch out for: like this La Palazzatta, many are made in a younger, fresher, more bright red fruit style. Some however, are more highly extracted and are promoted as “Baby Brunello” with darker fruit and deeper, bolder flavors. For seafood, the young, fresh, bright red fruit style seems a better fit.
La Palazzatta Rosso di Montalcino DOC 2011 ($20 South Lyndale Liquors)
This is a favorite Tuscan wine of ours. We can almost always find it for $20, and we love the fresh flavors, bright acidity and overall enjoyment.
Eye: Clear medium red, transparent. Brick color at the edge
Nose: Fresh cherries, strawberries, a bit of herbs
Mouth: Full bodied (for an Italian wine), spicy, medium tannins but very smooth. Overall impression is fruit and spice without being too fruity.
Ripe, but not in the American sense, even though it’s 15%, it doesn’t seem hot. Not austere, very friendly.
Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG
It’s easy to find many Tuscan reds in any wine shop you walk into, Tuscan whites can be a bit harder to find. Vernaccia di San Gimignano is one of the better known whites, and it the first white wine to gain DOCG status, the strictest in terms of controls implying a wine of higher quality. It’s known to be very high in acidity and to have a bit of bitterness in the finish.
Fontaleoni Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG 2012 ($15 France 44)
Julie loves crisp refreshing white wines, and this one struck her as very nice; high praise from our house Sauvignon Blanc expert.
Eye: Clear bright, lightly golden color
Nose: Fresh, a bit floral, stone fruit & nuts
Mouth: Medium body, great acidity, a touch of bitter almond.
Wine Pairing with Brodetto
Everyone was a winner today. Julie has a strong preference for fresh, acidic white wines. The Vernaccia di San Gimignano was everything she enjoys in a wine. Medium body and crisp acidity was a perfect foil for the seafood. The umami flavors from the shrimp add a bit of depth which paired nicely with the medium body of the wine. Julie was very happy.
I like to pick the wine according to the dish, but I must confess a general preference for red wines. This particular Rosso di Montalcino, while being full bodied, offered bright red fruit and good acidity. It wasn’t overly ripe, and it didn’t overpower the seafood. I know I’ll be looking for a wine like this the next time I’m at the coast in Italy!
I don’t mind spending some time on making dinner on a weekend afternoon, but sometimes you just want something pretty quick. Once you gather the ingredients, this dish is both simple and comes together very quickly. Perfect for a quick dinner and pretty enough for guests. (click on any photo to start slide show)
Italian Food Wine & Travel: #ItalianFWT
Our Tuscan journey doesn’t stop here. Join all of our other bloggers as they share with you their experience through the region of Tuscany.
Vino Travels – The clones and wines of sangiovese in Tuscany
Cooking Chat – Tuscan beef stew and wine pairing
Food Wine Click – In Tuscany, red wine pairs with fish
Curious Appetite – Tuscan baked goods and secret bakeries in Florence
Flavourful Tuscany – Tuscany: the cult of wines and the dining pleasure
Enofylz – A Taste of the Tuscany coast
Rockin Red Blog – Travel to Tuscany without leaving home with #ItalianFWT
Girls Gotta Drink – What is up with the Chianti Classico black rooster?
Italophilia – Castello di Poppiano
Orna O’Reilly – Five days on Elba
Join us next month on Saturday March 7th as we travel to the region of Trentino-Alto Adige in the northeastern part of Italy in the Dolomite mountains. For additional Italian related blogs on the food, wine and travel of Italy stay tuned to #ItalianFWT on Twitter throughout the month. Ciao Ciao!
Recipe adapted from Francis Mayes‘ The Tuscan Sun Cookbook Ingredients Instructions
Brodetto with Rosso di Montalcino
Note: be creative with your choice of seafood with lots of variety including what is fresh and even better, local. Not much of a choice in Minnesota in February!
Recipe adapted from Francis Mayes‘ The Tuscan Sun Cookbook