Vino: The Italians in Australia
The Italians have brought us pizza, pasta, gelato, cannoli and many more moorish favorites.
But what is food without wine?
The Italians also know a thing or two about making the perfect drop. With so many varieties on offer the world of wine can be a bit overwhelming, so we got the help of legendary chef and grape grower, Stefano de Pieri, and the Cellarmasters team, to shed some light on what wines we should be purchasing, what foods we should be pairing our wines with and even how to pronounce those tricky wine names!
“For Italians, food and wine go hand in hand, so wines tend to be food friendly with beautiful textures and refined flavours that are not too overpowering,” Stefano explained.
So next time you’re out, why not look beyond a beautiful Shiraz from the Barossa and take a wine trip to Italy.
Siete Pronti? Are you ready?!
Prosecco is the national sparkling wine of Italy and is made from the grape variety Glera. It is a bubbly wine that is generally lighter and slightly fruitier than Champagne, and is growing massively in popularity among Aussie wine lovers.
Try if you like: Fruity, sparkling wine
Food pairing: You can either enjoy the wine on its own or match Prosecco with almost anything thanks to its high level of acidity and varying levels of richness.
Wine: Stefano De Pieri Di Qualita Prosecco
Moscato is a sweet, Italian sparkling style wine, made from the Muscat grape. The wine is frizzante, which means lightly sparkling, and it is known for its high aromatics. Moscato has a lower alcohol level and together with its spritzy palate, it is the perfect wine for many occasions, from weekend brunches to long, lazy picnics.
Try if you like: Sweet sparkling
Food pairing: Moscato is one of the few wine varieties that pairs well with blue cheese, with the sweetness of the white wine balancing the strong flavours of the mouldy cheese. It also pairs well with Italian classics like panettone, sponges and biscuits.
Wine: Mia Vita Moscato
Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are wines made with the same grape variety. Fun Fact: Pinot Gris is the name used for wines from France whereas Pinot Grigio is the name used for wines from Italy. Pinot Grigio is a leaner wine that is lighter in structure with lots of minerality. Crisp, fresh fruits such as pear, white peach and green apple are apparent through the Italian style.
Pronunciation: pee-noh GREE-joe
Try if you like: Barossa Semillon
Food pairing: Pinot Grigio pairs very well with Mediterranean dishes such as fish, shellfish, a Caprese salad or most other salads and antipasti
Wine: Stefano De Pieri Di Qualita Pinot Grigio
Vermentino is a vibrant, light-bodied Italian white wine that can be deliciously complex in taste. It’s spiritual home is in Italy’s Sardinia, but many Australian winemakers have started growing the grape with great success. Although light to medium-bodied, Vermentino is deliciously complex in taste and holds a firm acidity. It’s a light, crisp white wine with a fine palate of citrus and apple.
Try if you like: Sauvignon Blanc from Adelaide Hills
Food pairing: Seafood
Wine to try: Stefano De Pieri Fleurieu Vermentino 2017
Fiano is a beautiful Italian, medium-bodied white wine with rich flavours and plenty of texture. Luckily, this warm climate grape thrives in Australia, so we are starting to see plenty more of this fairly strong-flavoured white wine on the market.
Try if you like: Lightly oaked Chardonnay
Food pairing: Pasta dishes, seafood (both baked and grilled) and Italian style dishes.
Wine to try: Stefano De Pieri Merbein Vineyard Fiano 2017
Sangiovese is the most commonly grown red wine variety in Italy, and is predominantly used in Italy’s famed wine region of Chianti (in central Tuscany). Because Sangiovese has the ability to take on characteristics of the region, climate and those imparted by the winemaker, wines vary widely in taste. However, you can expect firm tannins and flavours of plum, cherry and sour cherry.
Try if you like: Pinot Noir
Food pairing: Sangiovese blends pair perfectly with tomato-based dishes, like ragu or osso buco. The acidity in both Sangiovese and the tomato-based food neutralise one another to create a wonderful marriage of flavours. Wine to try: Stefano De Pieri Di Qualita Sangiovese 2016
Nero d’Avola is Sicily’s most famous red wine, and it certainly deserves the spotlight. This medium-bodied red wine tends to have lovely red berry aromas with earthy and meaty undertones.
Pronunciation: Nay-ro ‘ deh ‘ ah-voh-lah
Try if you like: Pinot Noir
Food pairing: Roasted and grilled red meat and meaty fish such as tuna.
Wine to try: Stefano De Pieri Merbein Vineyard Nero D’avola 2017