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Oct 23, 2009 12:44 PM

what should I bring for dinner?

dinner at a friends house tomorrow night. he likes white, she likes red. he will drink a red if it is not too tannic, but prefers white. there are 8 of us, don't know the other's preferences.

menu is spinach and ricotta stuffed manicotti with roasted tomato sauce & a ceasar salad. Planning to bring 2 bubbly pls (I think I would polish off the whole bottle myself - maybe that would be good!)

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  1. you have a number of Italian options for red...Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Valpolicella, Barbera, or the somewhat predictable Chianti (Riserva or Classico).

    if you really want to bring a white, i think the easiest pairing with the tomato sauce would be a Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio.

    1. Red: Barbera. Second choice would be an Etna Rosso, but those are a bit more obscure. White, I would bring an Austrian Riesling, a Gewurztraminer from Trentino Alto Adige, or an ALSATIAN Pinot Gris.

      14 Replies
      1. re: whiner

        Oh, I just knew it! Yes, Barbera. One fully ready to drink.

        Read more here:

        1. re: maria lorraine

          thank you all. I will look at a barbera :)

          1. re: cleopatra999

            Barbera being a "working class" wine (that is not an insult), individual labels tend not to get national distribution in North America. If you can find Ca' del Sarto Barbera d'Alba in Edmonton, the 2007 vintage (and even more so the 2006 vintage, a few bottles of which remain on some shelves) fully satisfies maria lorraine's suggestion of a barbera "ready to drink." It is easy to spot on the shelf because it has an unusual ochre color label with red lettering.

        2. re: whiner

          Barbera would be good.

          Some recently tasted ones that appealed to me are:
          2006 Giacomo Conterno Cascina Francia
          2006 Bruno Giacosa

          1. re: RCC

            Really like the Conterno, but I think it's a little too big for dish.

              1. re: mengathon

                The 2006 Conterno Barbera that I had a couple of months ago was big, but paired well enough with the bolognese (obviously not a manicotti) that I had. As a matter of fact, after my pasta dish, I cleaned up the remaining appetizer of crusty rustic bread and fresh ricotta with my remaining glass of the barbera ... and they still paired well.

                I'm on the lookout for this Pidmont wine. Any good Barabera that you can recommend?

                1. re: RCC

                  Thanks for the recs the Barbera went beautifully.

                  1. re: cleopatra999

                    You cook some nice dishes in your neck of the woods, cleo...
                    I remember your earlier posts.

                  2. re: RCC

                    The Conterno barbera I find to be a little atypical. It's one of those that I would not hesitate to pair with a big steak. I don't have any experience with older, more aged versions, but I don't think it will be at its best for at least 5 years.

                    My favorite barberas, covering a wide spectrum of styles:

                    Gianfranco Alessandria
                    Cavallotto, Vigna del Cuculo, Bricco Boschis
                    Clerico Trevigne
                    La Spinetta Ca di Pian - massive, oaky, but delicious nonetheless
                    La Spinetta Gallina
                    Trinchero - especially the Vigna del Noce. The '97 is really earthy, and needs decanting. The 99 and 01 are both beautiful now. A very serious, aged barbera at great prices.

                    1. re: mengathon

                      mengathon has a great list. (Never had the Trinchero, though) I would add G. Conterno, Sandrone, La Spinetta Boinzo, Braida (all, but particularly the Ai Suma), Mutti. Spinetta has slipped a little in the past 2 releases, I think, but such a good track record, I'm sure they'll get their mojo back.

                      1. re: whiner

                        The list I meant as a supplement. The Conterno is definitely up there. Forgot the Braida, although I don't think I have tasted enough to say for certain. Never tried the Sandrone or the Voerzio, which a lot of people love. Hefty price tags...

                        The Trinchero Noce is really done in the same style as the Cascina Francia. Large old barrels, longer macerations, probably at their best 10-15 down the road.

                        1. re: mengathon

                          I love Braida. It was actually the first winery to make Barbera in the more modern style. That said, their prices are outrageous. $80 is just too much for a wine that is no better than the best Spinettas. You should check out Sandrone. LOVE it... very similar in style to the Clerico, but I have a preference for it.

            1. no disagreement with the barbera but I don't there there would be anything amiss by serving the (predictable) chianti riserva; how about a nero d'avola?

              1. Agree with most here. Barbera from a good producer, Vietti or Chiarlo are good and affordable. Or of course a Chianti Classico Riserva, Monsanto's is always good. Not sure about the white.