Wine Pairings for Fettuccine San Clemente (Eggplant)

Wine Pairings for Fettuccine San Clemente

Rosso: Bruno Verdi Cavariola, Antoniotti Bramaterra or Pramartel, Vigneti Massi Croatina Pertichetta

Eggplant is a veggie that speaks to me about red wine. Its meaty characteristics, a bit like Portabello mushrooms, seem to blend so naturally with the black varieties that I brush right past the whites. Richer styles of rosato could also work, but I think most of Italy’s rosés lean to the lighter side. It’s rosso that hits the home run.

In fact, I drank a wine yesterday that would have showed very nicely alongside this Fettuccine San Clemente. The predominant grape was Croatina, a black grape found in the northwest of Italy, particularly in Piedmont and Lombardy. It’s a minor player overall, and it’s often blended with other, better-known grapes from those regions like Nebbiolo and Barbera.

What really links up Croatina to eggplant is its bramble and black fruit flavors combined its touch of earthiness. There’s also Croatina’s deep color, almost eggplant in young wines in fact! Croatina is full-bodied and has a fair amount of tannin and juicy acidity. The wine’s full body matches this pasta’s weight while the tannin and acidity cut through the richness. In fact, Croatina can give wine a lightly bitter note, which is highly atypical character for wine, drawing a comparison to the bitterness some palates find in eggplant skin.

For a pure Croatina, seek out Vigneti Massi’s Croatina Pertichetta. The wine I was sipping yesterday was Bruno Verdi’s Cavariola cuvée. Croatina leads the blend at around 55% while Barbera, Uva Rara (aka Bonarda) and Ughetta di Cannetto play supporting roles. Finally, there’s Antoniotti’s Bramaterra and Pramartel. Nebbiolo dominates these wines with Croatina measuring in around 20%. Nonetheless the color and bramble and earth notes of Croatina are distinctly noticeable. The Bramaterra is made from old vines; the Pramartel is basically the baby Bramaterra, made from younger vines with less oak aging.

If you can’t find one of these particular wines, many wine stores carry Piedmontese blends. If you happen on a new discovery you’d like to share, please contact me here!

Check out our recipe for Fettuccine San Clemente.

Cin cin!
Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine (MW)
Wine Editor

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