04- Italian Wines

Serves: 5



Choosing wine need not be complicated. The best way to discover wines that you like is to find a wine store with a large selection and a knowledgeable staff. Tell the staff what you plan to eat and ask for recommendations.

Probably the most important thing you can to do is keep a notebook, recording the wines you have tried, what you served them with, and how you liked them. It is all too easy to forget the name of a wine, no matter how much you liked it. Telling the sales clerk you want the red wine with the green label may or may not be helpful the next time you want to buy a bottle. Many high-quality stores keep computerized records of customers' purchases, and for this service they are worth patronizing.

Generally speaking, light- to medium-bodied wines go well with lighter foods, and richer, heavier dishes are complemented by more complex and more flavorful wines. White wines are usually the best choice with fish, while red wines go with meats. Dry wines are typically a better choice with savory foods, while sweet wines are best for dessert. But there are exceptions to these guidelines, so don't hesitate to experiment if you are so inclined. Your personal taste should be the deciding factor and is really all that matters.

The temperature of the wine is important. Icy cold can mask a white wine's flavor, while too high a temperature may make reds seem heavy and dull. White wine should be chilled to about 45°F, while reds are best at cool room temperature, about 65°F. Dessert wines that are not sparkling are usually drunk at about the same temperature as red wines, or slightly chilled, while both sweet and dry sparkling wines should be served cold, at about 45°F.

Many of the recipes in this book call for dry red or white wine. Wine that is dry is not sweet, though it may have pleasant floral or fruit flavors, depending on the type of grapes used and how they are vinified. Dry wines are often sold as table wines, because they are meant to accompany meals, as opposed to sweet or dessert wines, which are served after a meal.

Wine is often drunk with meals in Italian homes, and it is a simple matter to use some of the same wine for cooking. Wines are made in every region of Italy, and most Italians prefer to drink wines from their region on a day-to-day basis. While I would not use my finest aged wines for cooking, because their flavors may be too delicate--and because they may be very expensive--neither would I use a wine that I do not enjoy drinking. Any of the light- to medium-bodied table wines listed here would be ideal for cooking and drinking. Medium- to full-bodied wines are more flavorful and can be used in spicier, heartier preparations.

Marsala, a dark brownish red wine with a rich, nutlike flavor, is often used in cooking. Both dry and sweet varieties are available. Typically, sweet Marsala is used for desserts and dry for savory dishes, though I have sometimes substituted one for the other without any problem.

Below are some of the Italian wines that I enjoy from some of the country's most reliable producers. I have categorized these wines according to their body, or weight. Keep in mind that each producer has his or her own style and that many will have several styles of the same wine. Regional differences, vintage (the year the wine was made), and age will influence the wine too.

Serve at 45°F.
Serve dry sparkling wines before a meal with appetizers or throughout the meal. They should be served chilled.

Name: Prosecco
Region: Veneto
Producer: Nino Franco, Aneri, Capene Malvolti

Name: Spumante
Region: Trentino, Lombardy
Producer: Ferrari, Bellavista, Berlucchi, Ca' del Bosco

Serve at 45°F.
Light- to Medium-Bodied White Wines
Serve these wines as aperitifs instead of cocktails, or with delicate dishes such as scallops and other seafood and white fish.

Name: Albana di Romagna
Region: Emilia-Romagna
Producer: Fattoria Paradiso, Uberto Cesari Tre Monti

Name: Arneis
Region: Piedmont
Producer: Vietti, Bruno Giacosa, Ceretto

Name: Frascati
Region: Lazio
Producer: Fontana Candida, Villa Simone, Castel de Paolis

Name: Orvieto
Region: Umbria
Producer: Tenuta Le Velette, Bigi

Name: Pinot Bianco
Region: Trentino-Alto Adige
Producer: De Tarczal, Peter Zimmer, Josef Brigl

Name: Pinot Grigio
Region: Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Producer: Livio Felluga, Schiopetto, Vincentini Orgnani

Name: Verdicchio
Region: Le Marche
Producer: Gioacchino Garofoli, Filli Bucci, Fazi Battaglia

Medium- to Full-Bodied White Wines
Serve these wines with fish in rich butter or cream sauces, pasta with fish or vegetables, and goat cheeses.

Name: Fiano di Avellino
Region: Campania
Producer: Mastroberardino, Terra Dora di Paola, Cantina Caputo

Name: Gavi
Region: Piedmont
Producer: La Scolca, Banfi, La Zerba

Name: Greco di Tufo
Region: Campania
Producer: Feudi di San Gregorio, Mastroberardino, Cantina Caputo

Name: Sauvignon Blanc
Region: Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Producer: Ascevi, St. Michael-Eppan, Puiatti Alto Adige

Name: Soave
Region: Veneto
Producer: Pieropan, Guerreri Rizzardi, Inama

Name: Tocai
Region: Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Producer: Mario Schiopetto, Ronco di Tassi, Venica & Venica

Name: Trebbiano
Region: Abruzzo Edoardo Valentini, Dino Illuminati, Gianni Masciarelli

Name: Vermentino
Region: Sardinia
Producer: Tenuta Sella & Mosca, Cantina di Dolianova, Antonio Argiolas

Name: Vernaccia
Region: Tuscany
Producer: Teruzzi & Puthod, Famiglia Cecchi

Serve at 65°F.
Light- to Medium-Bodied Red Wines
Serve these with chicken, veal, grilled beef, and some dark meaty fish like tuna or swordfish.

Name: Barbera
Region: Piedmont
Producer: Vietti, Carlo Benotto, Cascina Castlet

Name: Bardolino
Region: Veneto
Producer: Bolla

Name: Chianti
Region: Tuscany
Producer: Monsanto, Vitticio, Ruffino, Travignoli, Antinori, Buondonno

Name: Dolcetto
Region: Piedmont
Producer: Vietti, Poderi Marcarini, Renato Ratti

Name: Rubesco
Region: Umbria
Producer: Lungarotti

Name: Valpolicella
Region: Veneto
Producer: Allegrini, Masi, Bertani

Medium- to Full-Bodied Red Wines
These go well with stews and roasts, game, pork, and lamb.

Name: Aglianico del Vulture
Region: Basilicata
Producer: Paternoster, D'Angelo, Sasso

Name: Amarone
Region: Veneto
Producer: Tommasi, Masi, Allegrini

Name: Barbaresco
Region: Piedmont
Producer: Pio Cesare, Produttori del Barbaresco, Marchesi di Gresy

Name: Barolo
Region: Piedmont
Producer: Vietti, Borgogno, Poderi Marcarini, Giuseppe Mascarello & Figlio

Name: Brunello
Region: Tuscany Castello Banfi, Castelgiocondo, Mastrojanni, Poggio Antico

Name: Carmignano
Region: Tuscany
Producer: Capezzano, Fattoria Ambra, Artimino

Name: Colle Picchioni
Region: Lazio
Producer: Paola di Mauro, Vigna del Vassallo

Name: Merlot
Region: Umbria, Sicily, Tuscany
Producer: Castello delle Regine, Planeta, Avigonesi

Name: Montepulciano d'Abruzzo
Region: Abruzzo
Producer: Edoardo Valentini, Dino Illuminati, Bruno, Nicodemi, Tenuta Cataldi Madonna

Name: Nero d'Avola
Region: Sicily
Producer: Morgante, Planeta, Benanti

Name: Primitivo di Manduria
Region: Puglia
Producer: Savese, Coppi, Cantina Sociale Locorotondo

Name: Salice Salentino
Region: Puglia
Producer: Agricole Vallone, Cosimo Taurino, Conti Zecca

Name: Sagrantino
Region: Umbria
Producer: Terre di Trinci, Rocco di Fabbri, Antonelli-San Marco

Name: Sangiovese
Region: Umbria, Tuscany,
Producer: Castello delle Regine, Carobbio, Fattoria Paradiso Emilia-Romagna

Name: Taurasi
Region: Campania
Producer: Mastroberardino, Feudi di San Gregorio, Terredora di Paolo

Name: Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
Region: Tuscany
Producer: Avignonesi, Salcheto, Poliziano, Tenuta Il Faggeto

Sparkling Dessert Wines
These are low in alcohol and should be served well chilled, about 45°F. Serve with fruit, creamy desserts, or pastry.

Name: Asti Spumante
Region: Piedmont
Producer: Fontanafredda, Contratto, Cinzano

Name: Moscato d'Asti
Region: Piedmont
Producer: Vietti, Cascina Castlet, Santo Stefano

Rich Dessert Wines
Serve with biscotti, plain fruit and nut cakes, with cheese, or as dessert by themselves. Serve at 65°F.
Name Region Producer

Name: Marsala
Region: Sicily
Producer: Florio, Rallo, De Bartoli

Name: Picolit
Region: Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Producer: Livio Felluga, Furlan, Dorigo

Name: Vin Santo
Region: Tuscany, Umbria
Producer: Antinori, Lungarotti, Travignoli, Avignonesi

From "1,000 Italian Recipes." Copyright 2004 by Michele Scicolone. Used with permission of the publisher, Wiley Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

This 04- Italian Wines recipe is from the Cook'n in Italy Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

More Recipes from the Cook'n in Italy Cookbook:
01- Introduction
02- The Italian Pantry
03- Kitchen Equipment
04- Italian Wines
05- Glossary
06- Sources
07- Bibliography
_* An Antipasto Platter
_* Artichokes
_* Asparagus
_* Beans
_* Broths
_* Bruschetta and Crostini
_* Brussels Sprouts and Cabbage
_* Calamari, Octopus, and Conch
_* Cannelloni
_* Carrots
_* Chicken Cutlets (Scaloppine)
_* Clams and Mussels
_* Cornmeal
_* Dried Pasta
_* Eggplant
_* Farro and Barley
_* Fennel
_* Frittatas
_* Fruit Desserts
_* Gnocchi
_* Green and Wax Beans
_* Ice Cream (Gelato)
_* Italian Ices
_* Italian Sandwiches (Panini)
_* Lamb Chops
_* Leafy Greens
_* Meat Sauces (Ragù)
_* Mushrooms
_* Onions
_* Peas
_* Peppers
_* Pork Ribs and Chops
_* Pork Sausages
_* Pork Tenderloins and Roasts
_* Potatoes
_* Quail
_* Rabbit
_* Ravioli and Other Stuffed Pasta
_* Rice
_* Rollatini or Involtini
_* Shrimp, Lobster, and Scallops
_* Spoon Desserts
_* Tomatoes
_* Tramezzini
_* Veal Chops
_* Veal Cutlets (Scaloppine)
_* Veal Shanks
_* Zucchini and Winter Squash
__About Cake Flour
__Bread-Making Tips
__Choosing Beef Cuts
__Cleaning Calamari (Squid)
__Cookie-Making Tips
__Eleven Pastas with Uncooked Sauces
__Fresh Egg Pasta: Making Dough with a Food Processor or Heavy-Duty Mixer
__Fresh Egg Pasta: Making Pasta Noodles
__Fresh Egg Pasta: Preparing Dough by Hand
__Fresh Egg Pasta: Rolling Out the Dough By Hand
__Fresh Egg Pasta: Rolling Out the Dough with a Pasta Machine
__Fresh Egg Pasta: Storing Pasta
__Grating Cheese for Pasta
__How To Melt Chocolate
__How To Toast and Skin Nuts
__How to Cook Dried Pasta
__How to Soak Salted and Dried Fish
__Pizza Variations
__Preparing Gnocchi Dumplings
__Preparing Ravioli Pasta
__Risotto Tips
__Ten Quick Crostini
__Ten Toppings for Hot Polenta Crostini
__Ten Ways to Vary Tomato Bruschetta
__Tips For Making Fresh Pasta
__Tips on Making Cakes
__Tips on Making Granitas
__Tips on Making Pastry Dough
__To Drain Ricotta
__Tramezzini Fillings
__When Is Fish "Done"?

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