Pairing Northern Italian Red Wines

The diverse collection of varietals from Northern Italy gives new meaning to food and wine pairings


Northern Italy presents the food lover with an arsenal of food-friendly wines made in a multitude of styles. As you look at each region of Northern Italy, you can see the influences of the surrounding cultures. Remember that through the centuries, these lands changed hands between countries and governments time and time again. The results can be seen in regions like Valle d’Aosta, where the French influence is apparent, and Friulli, where you’re more likely to think you’re in a Germanic village than an Italian one.

Just as the people are so different from the rest of Italy, so are the foods and the wines. The foods of the Valtellina are more recognizable as Austrian than Italian, and the same goes for each region and their diverse cultures. Rich, hearty mountain dishes, alpine cheeses, and various cured pork products are staple foods throughout the region. In this region, polenta and rice is the order of the day instead of a plate of pasta.

As for the wines, they span the entire spectrum from alpine-influenced with notes of herbs and flowers to massively structured beasts with decades of aging potential. And let’s not forget styles such as amarone, a wine essentially made from raisins. What do they all have in common? They all have that Italian calling card of acidity which makes them fantastic wines to have at the table.

Click here to see pairings for Barbera, Amarone, and more Northern Italian reds. 

— Eric Guido, Snooth


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