The Ruggieri Clan - December 8th, 2017
BAGLIO AIMONE ARGALIA GRILLO
Grillo is a white grape found almost exclusively in the south of Italy, in Puglia on the mainland and in Sicily, where it's used to make sweet Marsala wines.
This light golden-yellow, fragrant white wine is reminiscent of tropical fruit, especially pineapple, with a fresh hint of grapefruit and lime on the finish. It's light, crisp and tart.
Crisp white wines like this are acidic, zesty and palate-cleansing. They are an excellent match for fatty foods. We're pairing it up with a crusty crab and avocado bread appetizer (see recipe here), but it would be great with goat cheese apps or even cream cheese and cured salmon. Anything you would traditionally use lemons on, like shellfish and fish, would go well with this wine.
Ribolla Gialla ("Gialla" means, "Yellow," in Italian) is an ancient grape that was practically lost to time when vineyards in this region of Italy close to the Slovenian border, were severely neglected over the decades.
Ribolla is most often a full-bodied, rich and thick white wine that carries a strong whiff of white peaches and lily flowers. It's crisp and refreshing, but much more weighty in the mouth, like a Chardonnay.
Because of its smooth, silky feel, and fresh lemon notes, Ribolla goes well with rich and creamy dishes that benefit from acid to wake up the dish. We're pairing it up with Sweet Fig Relish over Goat Cheese on Crusty Bread (recipe here), the hint of lemony citrus in the wine will bond with the orange notes in the relish. You can also try it with this recipe here in my video.
Sagrantino is a lesser-known grape from the central part of Italy, theorized to be named after the Sacramental wine used by St. Francis of Assisi himself.
Sagrantino is medium-bodied, brambly and soft, with aromas and flavors of Blackberry, black pepper and vanilla candle wax.
A savory wine like this is ideal with stews and tomato-based ragus. Since tomatoes are are a big part of the Umbrian culture, I made a Sun-Dried Tomato and Ricotta Crostini.
Primitivo grows all over the southern "heel" and arch of the boot, and after many years it was discovered that it's actually the same grape as Zinfandel in California.
This Primitivo is soft, with light tannins, strawberry jam and tones of vanilla. Full-bodied in the mouth with full-on violets and sweet cherry - berry fruit on the palate.
Because of its jammy sweetness, Primitivo is excellent with grilled foods, from burgers and steaks, to grilled veggies too. Puglia, in the south of Italy, is known for its vegetables and truffles, which is why I went ahead and paired it with a Risotto Truffle Arancini.
For instructions on how to make risotto, check out my video here.