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Ode to red wine

By October 26, 2022March 12th, 2023No Comments
red wine

Casa Mia is on a summer hiatus from our monthly wine and cheese online tasting. What started out as a summer pausa (pause) has morphed into an extended break. October summer-like temperatures and in person tours continue. No need to fret, due to popular demand an online wine and cheese tasting will be coming your way very soon.

red wine and cheese tasting

In the meantime, follow along here. Most of my food tours in Rome end with a wine, cheese and cured meat pairing. The majority of my clients, family and friends are fans of red wine.

red wine grapes

Enter a light bodied red with moderate acidity to kick off the evening. Light in alcohol and lively and approachable by nature, light-bodied reds are enjoyed by connoisseurs and new wine drinkers with appetizers or throughout their meal. Lightly perfumed with delicate flavors, these crisp wines tend to have firm acidity and red fruit flavors like strawberries and raspberries. Keep your eyes peeled for wines made from the ancient grape variety grignolino like Cascina ‘Tavijn Grignolino D’Asti. Light in alcohol with tangy acidity, try it with a hunk of Parmigiano Reggiano, salumi or a plate of fried fish.


With an amazing ability to pair with a range of dishes, medium-bodied reds are the dependable
friends to call on. With diverse personalities, they are some of the best food friendly-wines.
Sangiovese, barbera, and montepulciano are a few classic examples of this style. Perusing the shelves at my favorite wine shop in Rome, I asked the owner for a recommendation of a medium-bodied red that I had never tasted. It is not hard to due given Italy’s rumored 1,700+ grape varieties. He pointed me toward Tuscan reds that I typically avoid. I’ve tasted many boring and overly oaked sangiovese wines in my lifetime. He convinced me that I’d like Podere Le Boncie 5, 2020. A blend of 5 grape varieties (sangiovese, ciliegiolo, colorino, mammolo and foglia tonda), it is vibrant and succinct with a splash of red cherry and plum intertwined with herbs and spices. It’s lovely served with an array of dishes from
chicken to pizza, sausages and tomato-sauced dishes.

Pizza in Naples

When clients tell me they like big reds like a cab sauvignon-merlot blend, I imagine sitting in my leather Chesterfield armchair surrounded by floor to ceiling bookshelves. I feel the warmth from the fireplace and sparks from the flames. It is time for a full-bodied red. Reds that are big, bold and age worthy, they usually have dark fruit flavors like blackberry, black cherry, and black plum, more tannin and higher alcohol. These wines pair with bold-flavored foods. Wines made with aglianico, nebbiolo and sagrantino are good starting points.

red wine by the fireplace

Aglianico is grown almost entirely in the regions of Campania and Basilicata. The results are dark burgundy in color, rich and tannic wines. From the region of Campania, Cantina Giardino Nude Aglianico D’Irpinia IGT is a rich, earthy and complex wine with flavors of black fruit, herbs and smokiness. I’d serve it with lamb stew, meatballs or aged cheese. A provolone del monaco DOP would be quite nice.

big cheeses for big red wines

The name sagrantino is thought to come from “sacred” or sacro in Italian. The sagrantino grape
variety has held the prime position in the region of Umbria for hundreds of years. When I think
of Paolo Bea, Rosso di Veo, Umbria IGT Sagrantino Opera comes to mind. It is big, beautifully sung, heartfelt and moving. It’s juicy with red and black fruit, tobacco and earthy qualities. Serve with salumi, wild boar and hearty stews.

Tuscan wild boar stew

I hope that this ode to reds holds you over until we meet again online or in person. Cheers!

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