As the autumn equinox approaches, cooler weather and upcoming festive holiday meals call for heartier dishes and wines to match. Through the Italian Wine Mosaic, explore the seasonal offerings of a culture rich with culinary heritage and winemaking history.
The bold red wines of Valpolicella are a natural fit with the season’s robust cuisine. In the region, the tradition of drying grapes for some of the cuvées results in rich, concentrated wines. Nothing exemplifies this sumptuous style more than Masi Costasera Amarone della Valpolicella Classico D.O.C.G. A blend of the region’s three traditional varieties—Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara—the grapes are partially dried before being pressed and the small amount of juice is fermented. Aging then takes place in barrels of various sizes and ages, providing velvety tannins to this elegant and opulent wine. The signature of Masi—its bright acidity—shines in the Amarone, giving it an unparalleled freshness. Luscious and layered with jammy red fruits, try this with a hearty beef stew, then let it carry through to the after-dinner cheese course with a pairing of hard, salty cheeses, like Parmesan drizzled with honey.
For a wine that entices with Amarone’s sumptuous fruit but is a little different in structure, try Masi, Campofiorin Rosso del Veronese IGT. Partially dried grapes are added to the base wine for further fermentation, creating a wine with ripe dark plum, fig, and sweet spices, plus a bold character all its own. A wine with so much texture calls for a dish with a similar quality, such as a hearty braised pork or a toothsome risotto.
But when summer doesn’t want to quite let go of its warm-weather hold, Masi, Bonacosta Valpolicella D.O.C. transcends the seasons. Aged for 6 months in barrels of various ages and sizes, the bright red cherry and raspberry fruits shine in this lively and vibrant wine. Serve as an aperitivo with a charcuterie board, or with a simple classic like pizza.
In Tuscany, no grape is more synonymous with the region than Sangiovese. As our thoughts turn toward warming, enveloping reds, now is an ideal time to explore different expressions of this famous variety. Chianti Classico is arguably the heart of the region, and Lamole di Lamole Chianti Classico D.O.C.G. exemplifies everything it has to offer. Lamole, located in Greve, boasts some of the highest-elevation vineyards in the region, resulting in wines with ripe cherry and tart fruit, driving acidity, and round tannins. An umami-driven tomato dish plays well with the savory tones in this wine.
The Santa Margherita Chianti Classico Riserva D.O.C.G. comes from hillside vineyards. Due to the low pH levels in the soils in this particular site, the wine is imbued with bright acidity. The slightly longer aging time required for a Riserva results in a wine with roundness and ripe yet refined tannins. Dark cherry and tart fruits meet the heady aromatics of vanilla, cinnamon, and other warm baking spices. With its full body, this wine is ideal for hearty cuts of meat, like a Bistecca Fiorentina or bison steak, or a spicy fra diavolo sauce.
In the coastal region of Maremma, Sangiovese takes on a new personality — one that matches the rugged terrain of what used to be cowboy country. Bright and vivacious in texture, spice and pepper run wild through the medium-bodied Sassoregale Sangiovese. Barbecued chicken, grilled vegetables, or anything touched by charcoal and smoke is an ideal pairing with this wine.
The island of Sardinia may conjure up sunny beaches and the sparkling blue sea, but it’s also home to the luscious Mesa Buio Carignano del Sulcis, D.O.C. Carignan, grown on original rootstock in sandy soils, dazzles with its intensity. The brambly fruit character and dark plum notes are almost second to the spicy aromas and wild herbs flavors. Lamb is common in many Sardinian dishes; take your cues from there and pair this inky, sensational wine with lamb chops, heavily seasons with herbs; a rich lamb bolognese; or grilled tuna steak and squash.
All of these wines, along with other standout Italian wines, can be found at the Italian Wine Mosaic Shop. Click here for more.
Last Updated: May 8, 2023