Choosing the right wine the Italian way

There are many ways to choose the right wine for a certain dish. I have already posted something about the french way to pair the right wine with the right food… And now here you have the Italian way. Which is easier, up to me… But, don’t need to say that… I have all my Italian dna…

So, before thinking about the right wine, I take my time thinking about the dinner you are preparing as a whole project with a certain “personality”. I consider the season I’m in: if  in winter or in summer time, and if you preparing a mild and light dish or flavorful one.

The main trend is that there must be a proportion between food and wine structure.

It’s a matter of “personality”! Food and wine must go together without towering one above the other: same as in real life strong personalities go together as well as weak personalities go together: de won’t fight, no one will master on the other, no one will feel abused or used.

Elaborated recipes might require elaborated wines.

At the opposite, a simple and light fish salad requires a simple and light (white) wine.

If this is clear, the majority of us will agree that well-structured red wines do not go with sea food.

But this, my dears, it’s just the basic.

The Italian school of wine tasters and sommeliers uses different techniques that can be summed up in the following 3 basic methods.


This technique refers to a simple rule based on a simple geographic consideration: foods generally go best with the wines they grew up with. Talking about Italian food, the best pairing for a regional recipe is a local wine from the same region: this is because it enhances local perfumes, tastes and suggestions. If you consider that our cookery is regionally (and seasonally) varied, it will be easy to understand how much the traditional approach worth for a good pairing. We have twenty Regions, most of them by the sea, some of them by the mountains, with very different climate and traditions. If cooking a mountain style roast beef, or offering greasy cheeses and tasty side-plates, you may not choose a fresh and sparkling white wine from the seaside, and so on… I admit that for a foreigner sometimes can be hard to find out where a certain food comes from… So, this method seems to be easier than it really is, and for a not- Italian chef. It’s applicable just for plates of consistent and recognized regional tradition. I absolutely follow this rule when cooking traditional winter or autumn plates from my Region, Piemonte.



this method is the opposite of the previous, and tends to create harmonic concordance among food and wine flavors. Following this technique means that if you’re eating a dish with a strong acidic content, you might pair it with an acid wine that can keep up with the acids in the food. In the same way, if you are eating a sweet dessert you will pair a sweet white vine or a Passito that will support food’s sugar content. I follow this method when eating seafood, such as spaghetti with clams, or lemony shrimps as I really love to enhance acidity.


this technique considers that opposite tastes can create the most interesting and enjoyable combinations of flavors. Very elaborated dishes, based on tasty ingredients, will be perfectly paired with red well-structured wines that can cut through the richness of the fats and help to cleanse the palate after the meal. In the same way, sweet recipes will be enhanced by acid wines. I follow this method when cooking red meat main dishes or cheese based recipes.


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