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wine pairing with black truffles

Robert Lauriston Dec 13, 2012 09:40 AM

Making pasta with Norcia-style black truffle sauce (melanosporum, fruity olive oil, hint of anchovy and garlice). What's best with that? I think in Umbria we usually drank the fruity local white, e.g. the Antinori Santa Cristina Umbria bianco.

Lots of the recommendations I find online make no distinction between white and black truffles, which is ridiculous.

  1. j
    jdwdeville Dec 14, 2012 05:02 PM

    Honestly, with the flavors you've described I'm thinking a good Etna Rosso might be the perfect price/quality prescription.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jdwdeville
      Robert Lauriston Dec 14, 2012 05:16 PM

      I think the Etna appellation is still evolving an identity. I've found the wines too variable in style between wineries and vintages to generalize about what they'd be good with. I had a Graci 2008 that might be great but the 2009 and 2010 were nothing like it.

      1. re: Robert Lauriston
        j
        jdwdeville Dec 14, 2012 05:41 PM

        I agree with you, but I think the better producers are in the middle of creating something very, very exciting there- I've had some great bottles from Tenuta della Terre Nere recently. If you haven't tried them yet seek it out!

    2. s
      sderham Dec 13, 2012 07:06 PM

      Several years ago I took a truffle cooking class with Patricia Wells in Provence. Patricia lives in the region where 80% of French black (melanosporum) truffles are produced. This is also the southern Rhone wine region (Chateauneuf du Pape, and other Cotes du Rhone wines.) During our meals we usually tried several different wines with our truffle dishes, and the consensus was the white Chateauneuf was the best match, except with meats or duck. I now live most of the year in this area as well and I think the white Chateauneuf is still the best pairing.

      4 Replies
      1. re: sderham
        Bill Hunt Dec 13, 2012 08:41 PM

        I have also found great pairings with the whites of the North, say Hermitage, but as you point out, it can depend on what else is in the dish.

        I also have enjoyed the whites from Rijoa.

        Hunt

        1. re: sderham
          ChefJune Dec 14, 2012 08:34 AM

          White Chateauneuf with truffles? I can see that...

          1. re: ChefJune
            maria lorraine Dec 14, 2012 12:55 PM

            I've had melanosporum with a rich, opulent white wine, and it's worked well if the preparation and other ingredients don't go beyond a certain intensity. Shaved over simple pasta, for example, or with eggs, truffle "cappucino", that sort of thing.

            What I'm wondering is if the OP's sauce is beyond the intensity level that makes it pair with white wine, and instead would be better with a red. Anchovy and garlic together increase the aggressiveness of the sauce. If the goal is to match the intensity of the wine and sauce, that tips the pairing toward red wine, at least for me. A red with backbone yet drinkability, not one with brute strength.

            Unfortunately, it's difficult to ascertain the intensity of the sauce from a distance -- that depends on the ratio of ingredients to one another, the pungency of the garlic, the type of anchovies, the ratio of sauce to pasta, and whether or not truffle slices are also used as a garnish.

            If the sauce accompanied something other than pasta, like Chianina beef, that would also be a factor.

            1. re: maria lorraine
              Robert Lauriston Dec 14, 2012 02:01 PM

              There's just a hint of anchovy and garlic. Marcella Hazan's recipe, for example, calls for 2.5-3 ounces of truffles, one anchovy, and one clove of garlic, which you pull out before serving. That's for six ounces of dry pasta.

              Truffle slices as a garnish, ha. If I could afford that, Burgundy would be an easy choice.

        2. maria lorraine Dec 13, 2012 01:04 PM

          Sounds like a wonderful sauce.

          Having spent a good deal of time in Umbria, I'm surprised you chose a white wine when the red wines of Umbria are often an ideal match. Was there a reason for this?

          2 Replies
          1. re: maria lorraine
            Robert Lauriston Dec 13, 2012 03:09 PM

            I think it was included in the prix-fixe. That was in the 80s, before dry Sagrantino. I think the only good dry Umbrian red in those days was Rubesco, and the place probably wasn't fancy enough to have it.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston
              maria lorraine Dec 13, 2012 04:31 PM

              Ah, I see. The Sagrantino works beautifully, but not Arnoldo Caprai's, unfortunately. It's just too oaked and too extracted. The other workable and affordable great match IMO is Rosso di Montalcino. I am particularly fond of the Mastrojanni for this pairing, though many RdMs will work.

          2. ChefJune Dec 13, 2012 09:52 AM

            I like Bourgogne Rouge with truffles. But I've only prepared black truffles.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ChefJune
              Robert Lauriston Dec 13, 2012 11:26 AM

              Yeah, good red Burgundy seems like a good match for melanosporum, and vice-versa. Kind of out of my price range, though.

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