A glorious summer has come and gone and autumn is upon us. It really is a lovely time of year and it’s announcing itself rather well so far. Misty mornings, leaves slowly turning red, beautiful blue skies.
It’s a slightly wistful time as it gets darker and colder and nothing marks autumn more than the melancholy song of the robin on chilly, still evenings. As colours change, so do changing appetites. Autumn colours are as well matched by Italian wine and cuisine.
Autumn is arguably the ultimate period for Northern Italy in that regard. Wine grapes and olives are being harvested. Prized white truffles will soon appear. Hunting for wild game has commenced. And does anything symbolise the beauty and romance of Italian wine more than a mist covered vine on the slopes of Piedmont or Tuscany in autumn?
Barolo Villadoria Serralunga
Piedmont, North-West Italy, is home to some of the world’s – not just Italy’s – most prized wines.
With that in mind, it is of one these most celebrated wines that I wish to write about…Barolo.
Made from the Nebbiolo grape, Barolo grows on rolling hills a couple of hours south of Turin and Mascalzone’s wine list offers a real gem from Villadoria, a family run business in Serralunga, one of the most prestigious areas for producing Barolo.
Serralunga, a region of pretty villages, rolling hills and endless vines, is the stuff of picture postcards. And Barolo, the king of wines, as it is known, has a hefty reputation. Justifiably so.
From the NEW MASCALZONE Menu
Looking down Mascalzone’s menu, two things strike me. Firstly, wine matching has certain rules which are hard to break, but flexibility and personal taste are also important.
Obvious example, eating a steak with a white wine is probably not maximising either’s potential but apart from that type of thing, suit yourself. Barolo is a celebratory wine, but if you fancy having a glass with a pizza, then do it. The Quattro Staggioni or the Burratina washed down with a glass of the Villadoria is making my mouth water.
Barolo and the Nebbiolo grape in general go very well with mushrooms, featured in both pizzas and would embrace well the saltiness and spice of the Four Seasons from the salami, ham and artichoke. Equally appealing is its matching up to the rich sweetness of the Burratina with its burrata, parmesan and roasted cherry tomatoes.
For those of you who require something a little more ‘Saturday Kitchen’, in terms of food matching, lamb would seem the obvious example.
The Papardelle – a wonderful large Tagliatelle – with stewed lamb, tomato sauce and rosemary is a match made in heaven for Barolo or the Gnocchi Bolognese would be well worth a try.
Equally, the rack of lamb in red wine sauce with sautéed potatoes is getting me going along with the Filetto alla Crescenza (Grilled filet mignon, potato salad, Brussels sprouts and crescent cheese).
I’d like to think that the chefs use Barolo in the sauce, but that’s probably the romantic in me and proof that I’m not a businessman.
Anyway, don’t be scared of wines like Barolo. Embrace them, it’s worth it, even to have with a pizza, if you fancy a bit of low key extravagance.
Author: Lewis McKie
Graduate in French Language and Literature from Glasgow University. Thirteen years in wine trade. Currently developing film scripts whilst blogging on other passions including Wine and Nature.