Wine pairings for Fettuccine con Salsa di Noci
When I read this recipe, my first thought was, “Only red wine could wash down the unctuousness of this dish!” However, whites with sprightly acid can gracefully bear the burden of refreshment for such a dish, especially those from the home base of Salsa di Noci: Liguria.
Liguria’s reds and whites exude freshness given their invigorating Mediterranean climate. The region’s best wines are more commonly found on the export market than locally, where tourists drink up lots of very average wine. Given these wines aren’t from your typical Italian origins of Tuscany, Piedmont and Veneto, it may take a bit of looking around stores or on-line, but I am confident you will be amply rewarded with each sip.
Pigato and Vermentino are the region’s best white grapes. The wines are named for the grapes themselves as well as given fantasy names, or names the producers create themselves. While the few existing examples of profound and concentrated Pigato might work here, Vermentino is the ticket. Medium-to-full-body versions of Vermentino are scented with walnuts and lemon zest, the former presenting a seamless match to the Salsa di Noci. Terenzuola’s Colli di Luni and Bisson’s Vignaerta are excellent examples worth a try even if you end up opting for red wine for this pasta.
Liguria’s best indigenous reds are Ormeasco, as Dolcetto is locally known, and Dolceaqua, which is the place-name for reds produced from the Rossesse grape. For Ormeasco, seek out one from Lupi; Tenuta Anfosso makes charming Rossese di Dolceacqua. An alternative to these palate-cleansing reds is a Granaccia, also known as France’s Garnacha, called Pulin and produced by Bruna. Unlike Rossesse and Dolcetto, this wine will match the richness of the walnut sauce and cream instead of contrasting it. I’d reserve this last pairing for an especially frigid winter’s night when you’re craving comfort wine as well as comfort food.
Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine (MW)
p.s. Check out our recipe for Fettuccine con Salsa di Noci .