By Bruce Cochran
This is the 200th issue of eWine of the Week. I’m leaving for Europe on April 20 so there will not be an eWine column on May 3.
Here’s a quick update on the Rosa di Rosa. It’s in the country now, has cleared customs, and is headed this way.
And now it’s back to red wine, and finally a perfect wine for your special spaghetti sauce recipe.
Taste something good this week!
Few countries are as identified with a dish as Italy is with spaghetti, and maybe no Italian region is as identified with spaghetti and red sauce as Sicily. This has become an American favorite as well, and who doesn’t have their own special recipe for spaghetti sauce?
The problem has been what wine to pour with it. Many people go for Chianti since it’s a famous name. Others just pour something expensive figuring it’s good and that’s enough. Each of those strategies has merit, but favorite option was unavailable until the past couple of years—a good quality Sicilian red, a real “spaghetti wine” that had depth and quality. Now we have a good, traditional wine to serve with that special spaghetti sauce.
A couple of years ago, in the northern Italian town of Parma (one of the world’s great food towns, now the food capital of the European Union), Nero d’Avola was recommended to me at two restaurants as an accompaniment to the area’s famous pasta (Emilia-Romagna is known as the “birthplace of pasta”).
The first restaurant was Santa Croce, home to some of the town’s most highly acclaimed (and most expensive) cooking and in some ways my favorite Parma restaurant. The second was a trattoria called Pinocchio, with a working class clientele and well prepared local dishes.
A good Sicilian Nero d’Avola is deeply colored, warm, generous red, softly dry, loaded with fruit (reminiscent of black cherry, black raspberry and forest floor nuances), with a fairly smooth, lingering finish. It’s a perfect pairing for your homemade spaghetti sauce, Italian sausages, or robust cheeses. Feudo Principi di Butera is a long name to ask for, so you may want to jot it down. The Nero d’Avola section at your local retailer probably won’t be all that big, but many will have at least one or two good ones like this. I also like Feudo Monaci for around the same price, around $20.