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October 13, 2015

Some flavors are meant to be together – Italian dishes are the perfect complement to many Paso wines and vice versa.

Lisa Boissier, Events Supervisor at J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines and Geralyn Brostrom of ItalianWineCentral.com, recommend the following food and wine pairings, perfect for that special dinner or just a Tuesday night!

Italian-style BBQ Chicken Pizza I was happy to be reminded of one of my favorite pairings – Paso Robles Mourvèdre with BBQ Chicken Pizza. The key to this pairing is to have a BBQ sauce mixed in a 50/50 ratio with an Italian spiced pizza sauce, spread over a homemade crust or one of the pre-made refrigerator dough packages you can buy in stores these days. Add the pre-cooked chicken, a little bit of mozzarella, and the really important key element of caramelized onions. I think of Mourvèdre from Paso Robles as a savory wine with a lot of structure. The contrasting sweet and savory elements of the BBQ/tomato sauce mixture and caramelized onions are a perfect match with this savory wine and its meaty notes and hints of juicy red fruit without letting the meatiness overwhelm the dish. Paso Robles is a great place to grow Rhone varieties, and the Mourvèdre is an excellent example.
Slow-cooked Lamb Slow cooked lamb with a deeply reduced tomato ragu and potatoes paired with a hearty Paso Robles Zinfandel – This is a classic dish from Pugliam, an area known for Primitivo, which is related to California Zinfandel. The key is to be generous with the spices for the sauce. Well ripened Paso Robles Zinfandel can stand up to lots of black pepper and garlic. Paso Robles Syrah also pairs marvelously with tomato based dishes. The tomato is acidic and flavorful, and so are Zinfandel and Syrah from Paso Robles.
BBQ Pork Belly BBQ Pork Belly with wild herbs paired with a Paso Robles GSM – In Italy, Grenache is grown on the island of Sardinia and known as Cannonau where it is a little more herbal than California Grenache. Spit roasted pig with wild herbs is a favorite dish in Sardinia. Enjoy the contrast of the crispy BBQ quality of the pork fat rubbed with green herbs such as oregano, thyme, and rosemary with the jammy quality of a Paso Robles Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre blend, especially if the Syrah is sourced from a cooler microclimate within Paso Robles and adds black pepper and savory qualities.
Braciole Braciole with Paso Robles Bordeaux Blend – The Italians make Braciole by pounding thin cuts of meat such as flank steak ultra-thin, topping with a cheese and herb mix, then rolling it up, searing it and simmering it in wine or beef broth. If you use a strongly flavored cheese such as Piave or Dolce Gorgonzola, the fat and protein of the dish will hold up to the soft, delicious tannins and rich dark fruit flavors in a blend of Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot.