Perfect Dinner Wine Pairings with Gennaro Contaldo

Italy is one of the world’s foremost wine producers, with a number of renowned varieties grown in the country. From Pinot Grigio and Prosecco, to Chianti and Barolo, there’s a wine to suit every palate and to pair with every dish. We asked our expert hotel sommeliers and staff to recommend wines to pair with some delicious regional dishes shared by our favourite Italian chef, Gennaro Contaldo. Plan an authentic Italian evening with our regional menu. 

POLLO ALLA TOSCANA, TUSCANY

Pollo alla Toscana is a rustic but flavoursome dish popular in rural Tuscany that makes the most of locally produced olive oil.  

“Use good quality extra virgin olive oil as the better the flavour of the oil, the better the dish.” 

Pollo alla Toscana really heroes in on the few ingredients needed to put the dish together. In Tuscany, you’ll often find it made with rabbit instead of chicken. Serve the chicken on or with bruschetta and enjoy! 

The maître d’hôtel at Brunelleschi Hotel, a luxury hotel in the heart of Florence, recommends pairing Vermentino from Tenuta Guado al Tasso. This wine is made from Vermentino grapes sourced near the medieval village of Bolgheri in the Maremma area of Tuscany.  

This light wine is bright straw yellow in colour and boasts notes of citrus fruits and flowers. Fresh on the palate, this wine has good balance, defined by a lingering finish. 

Click here for Gennaro’s Pollo alla Toscana recipe. 
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PORCHETTA NATALIZIA, LAZIO

Porchetta Natalizia is a dish generally eaten during the festive Christmas period, most popularly in the Lazio region of Italy. Pork is stuffed with pork mince, chicken livers and mortadella, a large Italian pork sausage, before being rolled and cooked in the oven. This dish and most pork dishes call for a wine that can cut through the richness of the ingredients. 

Stefano Nirta, Citalia's Regional Destination Manager, recommends the 2009 Monteriolo Coppo chardonnay from the Piedmont region.  

This oak barrel fermented chardonnay wine is fresh and complex, making it an ideal wine to pair with Gennaro's Porchetta. 

Click here for Gennaro's Porchetta Natalizia recipe. 
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PESCE DI LAGO IN CARPIONE, LOMBARDY

Lake Garda, Lake Como and Lake Maggiore are the jewels in Italy’s crown. Located in northern Italy, the lakes are home to a large variety of fish including pike, trench, eel, carp, and trout. A local tradition sees fish preserved in carpione, which means being cooked then marinated. 

“Pesce del lago in carpione is usually served cold and can be enjoyed as either an antipasto (starter) or as a main course.” 

Luciano Esposito, the sommelier at the Grand Hotel Victoria Michelin-starred restaurant, Terrazza Bosquet, recommends pairing this and other fish-based dishes with Sireo Bianco Abbazia di Crapolla.  

This wine is pale yellow in colour with notes of lemongrass, citrus peel, and white apple. Fresh on the palate with mineral tones and good drinkability, it is a lovely wine to pair with fish that has been fried. 

Click here for Gennaro's Pesce del Lago recipe. 
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ORECCHIETTE CON CIME DI RAPA, PUGLIA

Cime di rapa (turnip tops) are very popular during the winter months in southern Italy. Similar in taste and appearance to broccoli, this vegetable is often served sauteed in olive oil, garlic and chilli.  

Orecchiette con cime di rapa is a delicious dish associated with the region of Puglia. This pleasantly bitter green vegetable is combined with handmade, ear-shaped pasta known as orecchiette.  

Masseria Montenapoleone’s owner, Giuliano Monteneve, recommends pairing a Puglian rosé wine with this traditional dish. 

Produced by the Riviera Winery, the Pungirosa D.O.C.G. is delicate, fresh and juicy, with hints of wild strawberries and cherry, which are all balanced with a delicate acidity. 

“If you can't find cime di rapa you can use either purple sprouting or long stem broccoli instead.” 

Click here for Gennaro's Orecchiette con Cime di Rapa recipe. 
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Call us today to speak to one of our Italy Experts for further travel advice, hotel recommendations or to begin planning your next Italian holiday.
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