The choice of the right food and wine pairing presents a challenge to the most expert of foodies. Are there any strict rules to follow or can we be daring? Can we trust our instinct or should we follow set guidelines that have been tried and tested? Let’s start from the assumption that, generally speaking, the simplest rules are the best ones: at least to start with. So try to follow them without attempting any hazardous or unlikely pairings.
Here are a couple of basic indications to get you started: white wines should be served before reds, wines ideally served at low temperatures before those of higher temperatures.
1. Can champagne or sparkling wine such as spumante be served as an aperitif? This is not just a cliché but a pleasant and functional introduction to a meal.
2. Aromatic dry white wines with shellfish, seafood, delicately flavoured fish and veal. More complex white wines, on the other hand, are ideal for serving with oven-baked fish, spicy shellfish and chicken with sauce.
3. Rosé wines with shellfish and fish soup.
4. Prefer light red wines as an accompaniment to lamb, cold cuts, cold meat and mild cheese. On the other hand, full-bodied and slightly aged red wines team up perfectly with red meat, game and mature cheese.
5. Sweet wines such as muscat and passito are (usually) served with dessert or marbled cheese.
Bear in mind that someone, long before you, has already wondered: «What can I serve this wine with?». Take a look at the classical pairings codified according to regional traditions between wine and local specialities. Some examples? Lambrusco and cotechino, malvasia spumante from Emila with culatello and ham; cantucci biscuits and vin santo; grilled steak and sangiovese; braised beef or meat casseroles and barolo.