Pairing is Hard! Garofoli Verdicchio Doesn’t Care

In a dead-of-winter night, I just wanted to drink good wine and eat comfort food.  After a day of work, that was to be my Saturday night.

I sliced vibrant orange sweet potatoes and roasted them until they were browned. 

They were topped with creamy goat cheese, thin slices of pear and crunchy walnut pieces.

Like a hug on a plate, these were pure comfort!

I opened this golden-hued Verdicchio from Italy’s Le Marche region, located east of Tuscany and Umbria, to go along. 

Garafoli is one of the oldest wineries in the Marche and remains in the family today, run by the family’s 5th generation. The grape, Verdicchio, was used to produce simple, uncomplicated wines in the 60’s and 70’s. Now, producers are using the grape’s aging ability and updated winemaking techniques to produce wines of depth with the ability to develop over time. Verdicchio remains fairly unknown, however, which gives me such pleasure to have this secret gem on the shelf at my store.

The wine produced by this grape is almost always brightly acidic and filled with lemon and minerality.  With aging, it can take on notes of ripe stone fruit, burnt sugar, or almond.  Since the vintage on my bottle was 2014, I hoped to find some of these more developed flavors to accompany my crostini dinner.


The wine shows a light golden color, offering up lovely citrus, ripe pear and apricot aromas. As it warms, almond and creme brulee notes emerge.

The palate bursts with bright lemon, green apple and pear flavors with a droplet of honey. Hints of honey and lemon rind linger on the finish.  The palate is left clean and lemony by the strong acidity.

But, wine and food pairing is hard, and this was one attempt that just didn’t work. The sweet potato slices were very sweet, especially after roasting. And that sweetness actually clashed with the bright lemon flavor of the wine.

The creamy texture of the goat cheese and roasted potato was a pleasant contrast to the brightly acidic nature of the wine. But that textural contrast was just not enough to compensate for the clash of sweet potato and lemon flavors. I had hoped for more of the almond/burnt sugar notes in the wine.

Le sigh…..

Still, I had an evening filled with a plate of delicious comfort food. I happily finished it, then poured another glass of wine and enjoyed it on its own, dreaming of this wine on a warm sunny patio.


With seafood;

On a summer patio;

When you are searching for a unique wine filled with citrus and bright acidity.

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