Pairing: Chicken Parmigiana Paired with a 2008 Farnese Opi Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane Riserva
Food: Chicken Parmigiana (also called Chicken Parmesan) is a well known Italian-American dish. Very simple to make. Slice a chicken breast in half to produce two thin filets. Dip each filet in some milk then dredge into some fresh breadcrumbs (mixed with salt, pepper, and grated parmesan cheese). Spray a shallow pan with some cooking oil and lay the breaded filets into it. Bake at 350F for about 10-15 minutes until almost done. Spoon some tomato sauce on the top of each filet, top with a mixture of ricotta cheese and grated mozzarella. Then sprinkle each filet with more parmesan cheese. Place the assembled filets under a broiler until brown on the top (about five minutes). Voila!
Note: The brown color of the penne in the photo below is from cooking the pasta in water that had previously been used to poach mushrooms. It adds yet another subtle flavor dimension to the dish that gets picked up by the wine.
Wine: The Montepulciano grape is grown throughout central Italy, particularly in the Marche, Molise, and Abruzzo wine regions. The Abruzzo region is situated on the Adriatic coast of Italy. It is the Abruzzo region that many believe produces the finest expression of the Montepulciano grape. A confusing aspect of this grape/ wine, however, is that despite being named for the parish of Montepulciano in Tuscany, the Montepulciano grape is not grown or used in the famed Vino di Nobile Montepulciano which is made mostly from the Sangiovese grape. Weird.
Tasting Notes: A deep purple color, almost black (like Malbec). Aromas of blueberry, blackberry, and leather practically burst from the glass … wow! On the palate, one gets blueberry leather (if fruit leather comes in such a flavor), black currant, and a rich earthiness. Goes exceptionally well with the Chicken Parmigiana … the three cheeses seem to tease out the earthy elements of the wine. Decanting the wine for a full hour before dining really softened up the tannins and turned it into both a nice sipping wine and a perfect complement to the meal.
Other Wines That Pair Well with Chicken Parmigiana: Chianti Classico, Super Tuscan, Barbera d”Asti, Bardolino
Other Food That Pairs Well with Montepulciano: Pizza, Pasta with Meat Sauce, Salami, Baked Ham, Beef Stew
View Maps and Photos: abruzzo wine region