Pasta

Jukes Wine And Food Pasta

Naked pasta tastes pretty neutral, which is why it is never served on its own. The trick with pasta and wine matching is to consider what you are serving over, under, around or in it. Stuffed styles such as cannelloni, agnolotti, cappelletti, tortellini or ravioli can contain veg, cheese, meat and all sorts, so think inside out and select accordingly. Spinach and ricotta tortellini soak up juicy Italian reds like Freisa, Dolcetto and Barbera from Piemonte, and young, simple Chianti, Franciacorta, Bardolino and Valpolicella. Seafood pasta dishes, including the all-time favourite spaghetti vongole (clams), love serious, crisp Sauvignon Blanc (from anywhere), decent Frascati (over £10 if you can find it!), Soave (again, break over the tenner barrier please), Lugana, Fiano di Avellino, Verdicchio, Greco di Tufo, Inzolia from Sicily and Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Meatballs, spaghetti Bolognese, lasagne, tajarin al ragu and meaty sauces all respond well to juicy reds. Keep the budget down and head for expressive, fruit-driven examples that work in harmony with the dish, as opposed to trying to dominate it. Consider all of Italy, many New World regions, but steer clear of overly alcoholic wines (read the label and stay under 14%) and, although heretical, anything bright and juicy made from Tempranillo or Garnacha from Spain would also be delicious. Roasted vegetables often pop up in pasta dishes allowing you to choose between richer whites and lighter reds. Pesto may be a classic pasta combo but it is remarkably argumentative on the wine front. Oil, pine nuts, Parmesan and basil seem innocent enough, but combine them and you are forced into lean, dry whites for safety. Go to the famous Italian regions of Friuli, Alto Adige or Veneto as your guide. Sauvignon Blanc is made here, so at least you can rely on that stalwart grape but, otherwise, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Picolit, Friulano, posh Soave and Pinot Bianco are all good bets. Red pesto is a funny old fish (not literally). This time go for light red wines and keep their temperature down (15 minutes in the fridge) to focus the fruity flavours. Cheesy and creamy sauces tend to be more dominant than the ingredients bound therein, so Bardolino and Valpolicella (both from Veneto), Dolcetto, Freisa and Barbera (all from Piemonte), Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and medium-weight Chianti are all accurate. If for some reason, you want to stray from Italy’s idyllic shores (I wouldn’t – there is so much choice and the wines are great value and widely available) then there is plenty more to be found; medium-weight reds and dry whites are everywhere. Just remember not to overshadow the dish, particularly with higher-alcohol wines. For tomato sauce, see ‘Tomato’. For mushroom sauce, see ‘Mushrooms’.