4 Italian wines, ideal for summer entertainment, and tips on food pairings

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When it comes to entertainment in the summer, great food and wine are the key to a good time. If you’re having trouble choosing which wines to serve at your next soiree, check out the four Banfi wines below. Whether you’re serving grilled meats, tomato-based pasta, or anything in between, one of these wines is the perfect accompaniment!

“There is no right or wrong way to pair food and wine, but a well-made wine will always enhance and complement the right food,” said Dino Altomare, director of education at Banfi. “The name of the game is experimenting to find things you like, but there are a few general ideas that can help you on this journey.”

De Rosa Regal

This rosé is only in contact with the skin for a few hours, creating a much lighter and fresher style of Brachetto that resembles a Provence Rosé in color and character. This sparkling rosé goes with everything from ceviche to grilled fish to desserts with fresh fruit. It also serves as a refreshing addition to cocktails!

Chianti Classic

This chianti is the perfect accompaniment to a wide variety of dishes, including pasta with red sauce, grilled meats and roasts. The rustic Tuscan character and delicate tannins enhance roasted meats, especially game, while the bright acidity also makes this wine perfect with tomato-based dishes.

San Angelo Pinot Grigio

This pinot goes well with grilled vegetables and pasta primavera, as well as a range of seafood. In this warmer climate, fruit development is much greater. But thanks to the temperature shifts of day and night close to the coast, the wine retains a bright acidity. This balance is what makes this wine so food-friendly and is especially suited to local fairs, such as fresh Mediterranean seafood and Tuscan vegetables.

La Pettegola Vermentino

This Tuscan coastal wine pairs well with seafood, salads, sandwiches and vegetable dishes. Due to the warmer climate and the influence of the coast in the Maremma, La Pettegola is more structured and contains exotic fruits and spices with a balanced acidity, making this wine versatile. That developed fruit balances more potent seafood dishes, but the vibrant acidity balances salads and fresh vegetables.

We chatted with Dino Altomare, director of education at Banfi, about wine pairing tips and the perfect summer bottles to have on hand when entertaining. Here’s what he had to say!

What are some tips for pairing wines in general?

Try to match the body of the wine to the richness of your food first, as a complementary combination can bring out similar pleasurable qualities. For example, rich or fatty dishes go best with wines with a full body and higher acidity. However, certain wine pairings can take advantage of contrasting flavors to provide balance.

For example, salty or spicy dishes can be beautifully balanced by sweeter wines — think spicy Thai with Pacific Rim Riesling. And, of course, always pay attention to high-acid or protein-rich foods. Because tannins in wines react with proteins, tannin-rich red wines like Brunello pair well with red meat — similarly, high-acid wines like Gavi pair well with highly acidic foods like salads with vinegar or citrus dressings.

What are good bottles to have on hand for the summer months and why?

Summer for me is all about fresh wines that can be carried seamlessly from the terrace to your summer meals. I always like to have a bottle of Principessa Gavia Gavi on hand – it’s such a versatile and refreshing wine. Perfect as a cocktail, but also ideal for summer dishes such as fresh fish and even salads that are notoriously difficult to combine.

Because the wines are naturally high in acidity due to the cooler climate and mountainous terrain in Piedmont, it can withstand citrus and vinegar dressings in salads, as well as complement ceviche or fried fish.

I also like chillable reds like Barbera, and L’Altra Anima Barbera d’Asti offers a wonderfully fruity palate and again great acidity due to its Northern Italian heritage. For wines with a little more structure for summer grills and BBQ, I always have Centine Rosso and Pinot Grigio at hand.

These Tuscan beauties are staples in my house and are the quintessential food wines. And summer just isn’t complete without Rose, and my go-to is Natura Rose from Chile. A luscious blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Carmenere and Merlot, it is a fragrant and elegant blend that drinks with undeniable purity, with the added benefit of being organic.

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