Florentine food & wine matching

By
Sarah Gamboni
Added
01 June, 2016

Emiko Davies’ beautiful book, Florentine, celebrates the authentic flavours of Florence. Here she shares Italian wine matches for four of her favourite dishes… and our friends at Halliday Wine Companion have offered Australian examples to try at home.

Wine is an integral part of the Florentine table, being used in dishes (like peposo, a peppery beef stew that calls for a whole bottle of red wine) as well as always being present on the table to accompany food, whether a casual lunch with the family at home or dinner in a restaurant. It's also key at aperitivo time, that wonderful moment before dinner, when you're perhaps on your way home from work, or meeting up with friends about to head off to dinner and you have a glass of wine with a dainty nibble of something – nothing that will spoil the meal, of course, but just the right thing to “open up your stomach”, as the Florentines say, and get the juices flowing (or stave off hunger pangs) to help you enjoy dinner.

There's no doubt about it, Tuscans like to drink Tuscan wine. Sangiovese, which goes into producing almost all of Tuscany's best known wines from chianti to brunello, is the clear protagonist in Florence – the Chianti Classico region sits on Florence's doorstep, after all. As you head west towards the Tuscan coast you'll find the area of Bolgheri growing international (and in particular Bordeaux) varietals such as cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot. There's San Gimignano (just 50 km south of Florence), whose food-friendly vernaccia is a favourite white wine in Florence, and further south near the coast in Tuscany's rugged Maremma area you can find white vermentino and mediterranean red grape varietals such as alicante, carignan and ciliegiolo. These are just a fraction of the wine regions and grapes within Tuscany's continuously evolving wine scene that you'll be able to find and enjoy in Florence. 

 

Pappardelle all’anatra

Italian match: Try this with a nice Vernaccia di San Giminiano, but be careful to select one without any oak, which can often be overused by wine producers. Vernaccia has a lot of hidden potential and character when treated properly and you should find this medium body white has notes that recall fresh almonds, citrus and white flowers. Try the La Rampa di Fugnano 2013 Vernaccia di San Giminiano (Italian Wine Importers) or Fattoria Poggio Alloro 2013 Vernaccia di San Giminiano, (Enoteca Sileno).

 

Australian match: As an elegant blend of blackcurrant and mulberry notes, with hints of vanilla, cocoa and spice, the complexities of the 2013 Mama Goat Merlot will combine magnificently with this rich ragu.

 

Coniglio con le olive

Italian match: Try the 2013 Ciliegiolo by Antonio Camillo (Trembath and Taylor) from Tuscany's Maremma. Ciliegiolo gets its name from the wine's distinct cherry (“ciliegia” in Italian) aroma profile and is traditionally used to blend with sangiovese, but Antonio Camillo's wine, made from forty year old vines located in the single vineyard of Vallerana near the town of Capalbio, uses this ancient varietal in its own right.

 

Australian match: With a bright nose of wild berries, sage flower and cassis, the 2015 Coriole Nero d'Avola is dangerously delicious. Medium-bodied with soft, silky tannins, it has the structure to stand up to this provincial stew. For a regional match, try using Coriole Verdale Olives in the dish.

 

Arista di maiale

Italian match: Pair this Florentine roast pork with the 2012 Ampeleia “Un Litro” (Lario Food and Wine Importer), a flirty, fruit forward blend of mediterranean varietals, alicante (granache) and carignan, that are prevalent along the Tuscan coast. 

 

Australian match: The balanced acidity, citrus notes and backbone of oak that the 2011 Brown Brothers Patricia Chardonnay provides are a perfect match for this traditional Tuscan pork.

 

Peposo

Italian match: This classic, peppery beef stew calls for chianti. The 2010 Chianti Superiore La Casina di Badia (Giorgio de Maria Fun Wines) from a single vineyard sangiovese in the province of Pisa, is a bright, savoury and fresh sangiovese. Don't miss trying their vin santo too, maybe with a couple of cantucci biscuits at the end of the meal.

 

Australian match: The 2013 Audrey Wilkinson Shiraz would be perfect with this traditional peposo. With intense dark cherry and mulberry fruit, floral, violet aromas and dark pepper spice, it should complement this dish beautifully.

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