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Advice: 3 Wines to an Italian Dinner

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  • JBG89 Mar 15, 2013 02:18 PM
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I'm looking to bring 3 (maybe 4) wines to an italian dinner for a birthday party of 6 to 8 people. The party will be predominently girls, no wine snobs, and assume most like the fruity, light style wines. We will most likely not be having too much meat, but moreso pasta and appetizers

Could the board please reccomend a few wines, or wine types that would go well, and if I should have them served in a certain order? Any other advice on bringing a bottle in for the first time would be helpful as well.

Probably looking to spend ~$20-30 a bottle. Thanks!

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  1. I would consider soft whites like well chilled prosecco and Asti as great sparkling starters, the latter being a bit fruitier and rounder, the former being crisper and racier great with appetizers.

    Then depending on upon the food match consider a Pinot Grigio from one of the DOC regions or perhaps a bigger white from the valley around Orvieto. Switching to reds would consider a transition to a soft, low tannin Barbera from Asti or Alba which can pair up with simple pasta in tomato cream sauces. From there progress to a Sagrantino da Montefalcone which has a Zinfandel like richness or an aged Amarone that could pair with a cheese platter or a heavier protein plate.

    1. For a bday bash, take a sparkling wine like a prosecco. I like Mionetto's Sergio or Zanotto's organic Col Fondo. Also try to find a Kerner (a riesling hybrid) from NE Italy. My favorite is Abbazia di Novacella. And try to find a Lacrima di Moro d'Alba... it's super aromatic & fruity with soft tannins. And lastly, ask around and see if local wine shops carry Uva di Troia bottles from Puglia. I like Rivera's Il Falcone but Torre Quatro's Bottacia is a great buy under $15.

      1. I've just returned from Italy where I was introduced to Trento DOC Riserva. These "metodo classico" sparklers are delicious, IMO much better than prosecco. I had the 2004 Abate Nero Curvee dell’Abate, which does not seem to be available in the U.S. I see that the Cavit, Fratelli Lunelli and Rotari are available in NY. I would love to try the 1995 Cavit Altemasi Riserva Graal Metodo Classico Brut shown on Wine-Searcher at Premier Wine & Spirits in NY for $34. Several of these are Tre Bicchieri award winners at incredibly reasonable prices.

        3 Replies
        1. re: BN1

          Thanks for your suggestions I'll surely check into that. Do you usually disregard the ratings on wine-searcher unless there are a substantial amount?

          1. re: JBG89

            I usually look up the ratings after I try a wine. I find that my taste and the Gambero Rosso ratings usually agree, so a Tre Bicchieri award means something to me. Wine store recommendations from those like K&L (SF), Corti Bros. (Sacramento), Enoteca Patrito (Cherasco, IT), etc. and suggestions from reading are my usual motivation. In the case of Trento DOC, I was in Trento and reading information from the Tourist Office. I am always interested in local wines and had enjoyed Teroldego and Merlot from the area. With my new information, I retired to the Scrigno del Duomo wine bar for a mini tasting. The Trento DOC Riserva was outstanding.

            1. re: BN1

              The Trento DOC Riserva was paired with a plate of cheeses with marinated onions & peppers; a plate of salami; a serving of orecchiette pasta with mussels, spinach, pepper flakes & Sicilian olive oil; a basket of breads and cheesy breadsticks.

        2. I second the suggestion of starting with a bottle of wonderful prosecco, followed by a bottle of Arneis or other Piedmontese bianco, and then perhaps something from Sicily.

          Examples:
          Casa Coste Piane 2010 Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Frizzante Sur Lie
          Spagnol NV Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiade Castelir Brut
          Brovia 2011 Roero Arneis
          Occhipinti 2011 IGT Sicilia SP 68 Bianco
          Ericina, Cantina 2010 IGT Sicilia Bianco "Tonnara"

          You seem to be in Manhattan, so you may want to check out the wine selection at Chambers St. or at Eataly . . .

          1 Reply
          1. re: zin1953

            Really appreciate these recommendations, looking into them now Thanks!

          2. I must confess:

            I first read the OP as "I'm looking to bring 3 (maybe 4) Italians to a wine dinner for a birthday party of 6 to 8 people. The party will be predominently girls..."

            And I was about to suggest a few names, then I read it again.
            Oh well!

            1. It would really help to know what the foods are for your meal.

              1: "not too much meat"... that sounds like there will be some meat... what kind of dish? makes a tremendous difference as to the best pairings

              2: "Pasta" also needs clarification. Is the sauce tomato based? Cream based? what ingredients? the proper wine pairings hinge on this...

              3: "Appetizers"... ditto...

              The above is just not specific enough for making wine recommendations that are certain to enhance the dishes...

              2 Replies
              1. re: TombstoneShadow

                Thanks for your response and I apologize for the lack of clarity.

                Considering it is not a set menu it may be tough to gauge what others will order. Hope this is understandable, pastas range from cream sauce to bolognese and the entrees range from octopus to hanger steak.

                I suppose an "All-Around" wine if there is one, would be the best bet.

                http://www.lartusi.com/wp-content/upl...

                1. re: JBG89

                  Hi JB... yes that's a varied menu with no specifics, what I was afraid of.

                  I wouldn't worry too much whether the wines are italian origin or not for this meal ("birthday party, non-wine snobs").. One wine you can almost certainly line-up is chardonnay which will match "anything cream" and almost any seafood (such as your octopus)...

                  You're going to need a red wine for hanger steak and preferably for the bolognese as well. A valpolicella ripassa is a nice soft italian red, not as harsh or expensive as more high-end italian reds which you don't need for this event.

                  Lastly I like the bubbly suggestions here. Moscato d'Asti is an inexpensive, very food-friendly italian frizzy that has a "party" feel to it.

                  Enjoy.