Wine Pairings for Linguine alle Acciughe (Anchovies)

Wine Pairings for Linguine alle Acciughe

Spumante: Dorigo NV Dorigo Brut, Bellavista Cuvée Brut or Gran Cuvée Brut
Bianco: Mecella Verdicchio di Matelica Pagliano

Anchovies are polarizing. They smell of the sea and are super salty. Hence, folks tend to love them or leave them. Anchovies do the same thing in wine, leaving you with just a few choices. The most becoming wines for this preparation are those that should be chilled, leading us to spumante and bianco. I’d avoid all rosso wines and most rosato wines as tannin can produce an unpleasant metallic taste when combined with fish flavors.

The often-overlooked spumante category can really shine with this pasta. I recommend skipping the Prosecco you are sure to find in every store. I am an avid Prosecco fan, however, the wine’s fresh and floral aromas are better suited to different foods. Additionally, Prosecco tends to be light-bodied, and this dish calls for a solidly medium-bodied wine. I’ll turn instead to wines with a little bit of lees aging, made in the “metodo classico” style, and often made with Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Noir. Many from the Lombardia region are readily available; for example, Bellavista has wide distribution…and very classy bottles. Pick up their Gran Cuvée Brut (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) if you see it, but their Cuvée Brut (which also includes Pinot Bianco) will work quite nicely, too. Off the beaten track and from Friuli is Dorigo’s NV Brut, made from 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir.

Verdicchio makes wines that smell distinctly of the sea. This is particularly true of Verdicchio from the Marche. Some propose this is because the Verdicchio vines there overlook the sea. I don’t buy this theory, but it does match the Italian idea that you should drink wines from the same place from which your food comes. (To keep things simple, we’ll overlook the niggling detail that your anchovies will probably come from the Mediterranean, not the Adriatic….) The basic bottling from Enzo Mecella, called Pagliano, is a good one to check out. I mentioned another in this previous post, and, in fact, here’s a mention for bubbly Verdicchio!

I’m on the “yes” end of the anchovy polarization, so I can’t wait to make this pasta and open a few bottles of bubbly with friends!

Check out our recipe for Linguine alle Acciughe and our About post that gives a brief history behind the dish.

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

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