Ignore the Rules with Giancarlo Montepulciano D’Abruzzo

A bold food deserves a bold wine.
Match the “weight” of the food with the “weight” of the wine.

These directives are found in many wine and food pairing guides. Saturday night’s dinner had me questioning those directives though.

I picked recipes from the amazing cookbook, The New Mediterranean Table, by Sameh Wadi, (available on amazon) that were packed full of big-flavor ingredients.

Contemplating the depth of flavors, I decided to go against the directives.

You know how I am.

I chose a wine from Italy, a Mediterranean country, so at least I was following another well-known directive; Match the region of the food with the region of the wine.

Giancarlo Montepulciano D’Abruzzo was my rule-breaking choice. Montepulciano is the grape from the Abruzzo region of Central-eastern Italy.  This selection is simple fruit-driven, light-bodied and easy drinking.

Fruit-filled aromas of plum, blueberry, black cherry and raspberry candy combine with a hint of dried herbs. 

The palate is light-bodied and holds pure cherry fruit, tart raspberry and a hint of smoke.  Dried herb notes are also present and the finish presents spices together with ripe raspberries. At the end, the wine is clean and dry.

The food… oh the food!

We made Spice-Crusted Beef Strip Loin, crusted with black peppercorns, coriander, cumin, caraway and fennel seeds, then cooked in a cast iron skillet, finished with butter and garlic cloves.  Flavor overload!

To accompany we made the Roasted Carrots with Black Olives and Cumin Yogurt.  Slender carrots are roasted and topped with black olives and yogurt sauce spiked with fresh lemon, cilantro and ground cumin seeds.

Taste after delicious taste of food was followed by sip after sip of the Montepulciano.  The pairing was perfect! Tart raspberry flavors nicely mingled with the tartness of the yogurt. The earthy quality of the cumin and other spices paired with those herbal notes in the wine. 

Best of all, the Montepulciano was fresh and bright, and it served to cleanse and lighten the palate from the rich complexity of flavors in the food.  A bold, hearty wine would have competed with the food’s flavors, maybe even covered up some of the satisfying layers of flavors.

Sometimes, finding your own path to wine and food pairing is the best path of all.

Pairing with a bold-flavored dinner;
Sipping with Mediterranean inspired dishes;

A wine drinker who prefers a lighter-bodied dry red wine with pure fruit.

About the author: Sue Navratil

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.Email address is required.