For Lasagna, and most Italian dishes, I instinctively reach for Italian wines. But what works best? I typically grab a Barbera or a Sangiovese for a tomato/pasta dish, but are these really interchangeable? Time for an experiment: two identically priced Italian reds from the same 2001 vintage, mano a mano vs. our homemade lasagna. And tonight's homemade Lasagna served up a cacophony of flavours - homemade tomato sauce, ground beef, cooked spinach, melted cheeses - could either of these wines stand up to this?
The answer is yes - the sangiovese took on this monstrous dish, while the rather delicious barbera wilted under the onslaught:
The 2001 Villa di Capezzana comes from the Carmignano appellation, and for those of you familiar with Chianti this is a rather different take on Sangiovese. Gravelly wet fur, with a deep violet, truffle, blackberry and sour cherry, coffee and spicy tobacco notes - an olfactory joy! Elegant, complex, with luxurious woodsy fruit - fruit, acid and tannins in perfect harmony. This terrific, classically-styled tuscan pour tamed that lasagna.
cork. 13.5% alcohol
Price: $32.50 (SAQ)
Make no mistake, the 2001 Pio Cesare "Fides" (Barbera d'Alba) was an excellent wine. Very nice smokey, earthy and tarry notes on the nose, subtle dark cherries and currants as well. The palate was oaky and spicy, with subtle tarry fruit, thinner and a touch more rustic than the Capezzana, but when confronted with this flavourful dish all the flavours faded revealing tar, and little else. We enjoyed this bottle after dinner, at which time we all complimented this terrific wine - osso buco, anyone?
cork. 14% alcohol
Price: C$33 (SAQ)
So, two great ones but only one great pairing...