Pairing Pinot Grigio With Food

Unexpected tips on what foods to pair with your Pinot Grigio this summer.

Volumes have been written on the tasty subject of finding just the right food and wine pairing. Experts have dictated: Drink reds with beef and lamb, whites with chicken and fish. Champagne goes with everything and port is for sipping while nibbling exotic chocolate.

Or not.

As any seasoned wine and food enthusiast will tell you, those rules are meant to be broken. Or, at least bent.

Fabrizio Gatto, the wunderkind winemaker at Ecco Domani, offers some sound advice: “Do what I do when it comes to food and wine. I first choose my wine and let the food fall into place. It's Italian style. If all else fails, use these basic rules for choosing a wine: match light bodied wines with light foods, and full-bodied wines with heavier foods.”

Even if you follow the maverick drink-what-you-like path, there are some wines that are just more versatile. Whites that sparkle with bright, crisp acidity balanced by rich fruity characteristics work a special kind of magic for a world’s worth of dishes.

Italian Pinot Grigio, for instance, has the kind of snap that makes classic preparations such as grilled fish or Chicken Florentine sing a whole new tune. At the same time, the wine’s soft, tropical fruit flavors seem to whisper: Pour me with a platter of Pad Thai. It’s versatile enough to partner with all sorts of pasta dishes from Clam Linguine to pesto. It can even accompany pizza.

This food-friendly, refreshing white is best known as one of the shining stars of Northern Italy, so it’s a natural companion for rich dishes from that region -- Trentino - Alto Adige – including cured meats such as speck. Yet, it is also delicate enough to be served alongside sushi, a French-inspired pâté or a saffron-scented paella.

You could even make like a European and serve a cheese course following the entrees, an alternative to sweet desserts. There’s nothing quite like the combination of an aged Asiago with a crisp, elegant Italian Pinot Grigio. Add some crackers and a few figs or slices of pears to this course and your guests are guaranteed to linger.

When you come up with the perfect partner for Italian Pinot Grigio, why not share the match on Twitter? You’ll find all sorts of food and wine tips using the hashtag #PairItShareIt.