The upcoming holidays are never a one-fits-all time of year. Different cultures and experiences come together to create moments—and meals—completely special to each celebration. Italy, with its diverse landscape of terroir and grape varieties, offers a dynamic mosaic of red wines that pair perfectly with whatever you set on the table. During this festive season, there’s no better time to explore Italy’s offerings. And whether you’re celebrating something now—or another time of year—discover pairings as unique as your traditions.
The Sangiovese grape is the heartbeat of Chianti Classico wines and wines from Lamole di Lamole are a standout example of why this grape—and region—have been revered for centuries. The Lamole di Lamole estate is unique in that organically farmed vineyards are planted up to 650 meters (2,133 feet) in elevation. As regulations dictate that vineyards cannot be planted above 700 meters, Lamole di Lamole boasts some of the highest elevation sites in the entire region.
At these altitudes, ample sunshine helps grapes fully ripen, which gives concentrated flavors and aromas to wine. Meanwhile, while cooling breezes maintain beautiful acidity, resulting in freshness and vibrancy. In the Lamole di Lamole Maggiolo Chianti Classico, high-toned floral aromas jump out of the glass, along with Sangiovese’s trademark cherry and red berry fruit notes. The addition of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot add depth and texture to this elegant wine. The spice and herbaceous notes that come through in this wine pair perfectly with dishes that rely on herbs and spices, such as succulent Beef Braciole, a Basque style Codfish in Biscayne sauce, or an oven-roasted brisket.
The Lamole di Lamole Lareale Chianti Classico Riserva, with over two years of aging in oak casks, is a fuller-bodied and structured red. The blend of Sangiovese and Canaiolo Nero brings about red and dark fruit, floral, and savory dried herb tones. With its fine-grained tannins and fresh profile, pair this wine with grilled hearty vegetables, game meats, or even truffles.
Maremma’s reputation is that of cowboy country, but winemakers find this coastal Tuscan region an exciting place to grow grapes and produce exceptional wine. With its warm and dry climate, farming organically is a way of life. Sassoregale, one of the region’s preeminent estates, captures this unique terroir with its Sangiovese Maremma Toscana.
The wine is aged for just a short time in oak, which allows the pure fruit expression of Sangiovese to shine. With its lively acidity and freshness, this wine pairs beautifully with dishes that incorporate dried fruit, such as couscous with raisins, or a goat cheese, walnut, and dried cranberry salad or roasted pork.
The Sella Antica Red Blend nods to Maremma’s history; the name “Sella Antica” means “ancient saddle” which pays tribute to the butteri (cowboys) of the region. But this red blend is a modern interpretation of the Maremma terroir. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, grown in clay and limestone soils, dominate the cuvée. Blueberries, plum, cocoa, and black pepper all meld together in this plush wine. It’s a robust red, but the silky and velvety tannins make this a wine that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with a range of dishes. Baked ham, honey-glazed brussels sprouts, and Dhansak curry all work well with the wine’s structure and flavors. It can also be served slightly chilled — ideal for those enjoying the holidays in warmer climates.
Head to the northeast of Italy, where a whole new wine identity emerges. Here, in the hilly terrain, with its alluvial and limestone soils, grapes such as Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara—the backbone of Valpolicella’s red blends— thrive. Masi, one of the region’s most important wineries, pays respect to the terroir—but elevates winemaking to a whole new level. For Masi Campofiorin Rosso del Veronese, the aforementioned indigenous grapes are vinified completely dry.
Then, the wine is refermented with a small amount of partially dried grapes. The process of semi-drying grapes— known as appassimento—is closely identified with the wines of the region like Amarone, and Campofiorin’s double fermentation method is an innovative take on tradition. This structured red, with notes of ripe cherries and plums, plus great freshness and acidity, is wildly versatile. Serve it with braised brisket or an umami-driven mushroom dish.
To learn more about Italy’s wine mosaic, and to discover wines to pair with your celebration, click here.
Last Updated: May 9, 2023