Foods to pair with nebbiolo
Nebbiolo has captured our hearts, with its fragrant, juicy, savoury complexity - but what about our stomachs? Here’s five pairings that work for us…
Nebbiolo is capable of ageing in bottle for years (over a decade isn’t uncommon), developing more earthy developed notes and flavours - and “mushroom” is one of them, used as a somm-nodded shorthand for that umami, all round savouriness in common with porcini and the rest of the fungi fam. Whilst you wouldn’t match up an aged neb with something like a summer pav, for a mushroom risotto or linguine it’s going to tick all of the boxes, with those base earthy notes complimenting the dish.
Beef pie and a Barolo - don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, a real hearty salt-of-the-earth meal paired with a wine that’s got complexity and depth in spades. The great thing about nebbiolo is that whilst it’s got a decent bunch of tannin (sitting at the higher end of the spectrum), it’s not typically as full-bodied as your bigger reds like a cab sav or Barossa shiraz. Sour cherry and florals (think violets and roses) are unpinned by a savoury element driven in part by that tannin - black olive, leather and slate aren’t uncommon. Put it against your classic beef pie and you’ve got a wine that will compliment and contrast in all the right ways.
Stuffed cabbage leaves
Another veggie inspired pairing that’s latching on to those savoury elements to build harmony, but also giving space for the fruits and florals in nebbiolo to come to the party and boogie on down too. A great winter warmer.
Check out: Cascina Ca'Rossa Funsu Langhe Nebbiolo 2021
Roasted lamb with garlic and rosemary
You’re probably getting the general sense now for when and where nebbiolo is best placed - alongside dishes that have a rich, savoury vibe. Sounds kind of like how you’d exactly describe roast lamb, don’t you think? This is one of our fave, fave pairings - a juicy roast joint of lamb with a selection of roast veg, mint sauce, and a glass of nebbiolo savoured alongside. It hits the mark every time.
Check out: Ettore Germano Barolo DOCG Prapó 2017 - 3pk
A grape that hails from Northern Italy, nebbiolo and a classic spag bol go hand in hand - the acidity of nebbiolo loves to vibe with the tangy depth of that tomato sauce, and its tart, red fruits and florals contrast against the depth of the mince or veggie alternative. Ticks all the boxes.
Check out: La Biòca Aculei Barolo 2017
So that’s five that work for us with nebbiolo based on what it does so well - but you know you and your palate, so never be afraid to experiment with what works for you. You never know what you might discover!
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