My basil plant has become a basil bush. What does that have to do with this week’s Wine Wednesday feature you ask? Well, it has to do with how I arrived at serving it. You see, I decided to use some of my fresh basil to make a double batch of my homemade marinara.
Whenever I’m making “sauce” I usually freeze most of it for future meals, but after smelling it slowly simmer for a good part of the day, I had to reserve some for dinner that night. So, I browned some hot Italian sausage, sautéed some mushrooms and heated it with my marinara – then decided to choose my wine.
I had used some Chianti in the sauce, but when I noticed that my wine fridge was now void of Chianti, I spotted the bottle of 2015 La Quercia Estates Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. I thought to myself “Montepulciano – Sangiovese – Chianti – same thing – that’ll work”. That could all be true if not for the d’Aburzzo part I had hastily overlooked.
To clarify, Montepulciano is a town in Tuscany. It is also a red wine grape varietal. The key grape varietal grown in Montepulciano, the town, is Sangiovese which is also the key grape varietal in Chianti. However, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is the Montepulciano varietal grown in the Abruzzo region of Italy. The good news is that though the wines are uniquely different they do share some common characteristics which still made my choice a delightful pairing for spaghetti with marinara.
Both wines tend to be very fruit forward and this one certainly was. On the nose, blueberry with a hint of spice and cassis. It was slightly sweet on the tongue but exhibited a well-balanced acidity with pleasant pepper on the finish. I actually preferred this over a Chianti with my sauce as my sauce is on the zesty side and with the addition of the Italian sausage, the wine stood up nicely to the bolder flavors. This wine is fermented in stainless steel with no barrel aging which in my opinion usually makes the wine a little brighter and more lively on the palate.
With a price point of $11 - $12 a bottle, this versatile wine for pairing makes for a great weeknight choice.
I would also recommend with pork loin or Baked Chicken and Wild Rice. Click the links below to print or save the recipe pairing suggestions.