Wine Wednesday: Buitoni and Italian Wines

buitoniIt’s Wine Wednesday! For the past month (and for a few more weeks) Buitoni USA is hosting a weekly sweepstakes to give away a gift card. What’s not to love about that? Simply sign up on the Buitoni Facebook page for your chance to win.

In honor of that, I thought I’d give out a little Italian grape variety run-down, as Italian wines are perfect pairings for the myriad of foods that Buitoni offers.

Pinot Grigio (white) – who doesn’t know this grape?!?! Pinot Grigio (known as Pinot Gris in many other areas of the world) produces a light and crisp wine for the most part, though some versions can have a bit more weight and showcase more ripe fruit. Most show bright citrus notes, with crisp acidity and a refreshing finish. Delicious with pasta or poultry and a lemon-based sauce.

Falanghina (white) – A grape hailing from the southern parts of Italy, Falanghina makes a richer white, with aromas and flavors like flowers and tropical fruit. It’s a lovely match to a creamy white sauce.

Arneis (white) – From the Piedmont region of Italy, Arneis has almost a “nutty” characteristic that sets it apart. It has elegant aromas of citrus and white flowers, as well as a crisp backbone that makes it excellent with food. A great match for pasta with olive oil-based sauces.

Sangiovese (red) – The most well-known Italian grape, Sangiovese is the backbone for the classic Tuscan wines of Italy, like Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montalpulciano. It is classically food-friendly, with bright red fruit and excellent acidity. Pair it with anything that contains a tomato-based sauce.

Barbera (red) – Hailing from the Piedmont region of Italy, Barbera is a delightful, ligth-bodied, food-friendly grape. With ripe berry fruit, a touch of spice and great acidic structure, it’s one of my favorites to pair with pizza, though it’s also excellent with red sauces and white meats.

Nebbiolo (red) – The burly, tannic grape of Piedmont, Nebbiolo is used to make Barolo and Barbaresco, two of Italy’s most age-worthy wines. Known for the two aromas of “tar and roses,” Nebbiolo produces wines that can be bold and tannic, but with great ripe fruits, floral notes and an excellent backbone. Good with red meat or hearty sauces and stews.

Aglianico (red) – Often called the “Barolo of the South,” Aglianico is a bit more plush and velvety than it’s Nebbiolo counterpart. It has lots of spice, herbal notes and berry flavors, as well as a touch of licorice on some occasions. It’s quite good with local Italian cheeses or Italian pasta dishes.

Italy is such a wonderfully diverse region with a variety of wines that are terribly food-friendly! After all, Italy is a region that considers wine as food and rarely is a meal served without it. So grab a bottle of one of the wines listed above and enjoy it with some great Italian food! Cheers!