Two-Cheese Pasta … with Chianti Classico

Pairing:  Two-Cheese Pasta Paired With 2010 Il Grigio da San Felice Chianti Classico Gran Selezione

Food:  This dish’s full name is Penne with Tomatoes, Olives and Two Cheeses and first appeared in Bon Appetit magazine back in the late 70’s. It has been a favorite of ours for many, many years. The spiciness of the red hot pepper flakes, the saltiness of the brine-cured olives, and the creamy, out-of-the-ordinary flavor of the Havarti cheese all add up to a tasty and unique pasta-eating experience. And those flavors combine exceptionally well with the more traditional pasta ingredients of basil, garlic and parmesan cheese.

Three Cheese Pasta with Chianti Classico

Wine:  Chianti Classico is the longest established viticultural region in Chianti and part of the larger wine region called Tuscany.  The vineyards of Chianti Classico cover almost all of the land between the cities of Florence and Siena. And Sangiovese is the star of these vineyards. It is an iconic landscape recognizable to most anyone even with little more than a passing knowledge of Italy.  This area is the quintessential Italy. This San Felice blend is 80% Sangiovese and 20% other native grapes.

Il Grigio Chianti

Tasting Notes:  A dark, ruby red color. On the nose one gets a fragrant assortment of spices … mace, nutmeg and vanilla. A rich, diverse palette of flavors including sweet earth, chocolate and several layers of fruits … plum, black raspberry, and fig all wrapped in exquisite vanilla. And a warm, lingering finish of chocolate fig … is there such a flavor? Luscious … this is one of the finest Chianti Classicos we have ever tasted! The wine complements the two cheeses, and the olives bring out the sweet earth notes of the wine.

Other Foods That Pair Well with Chianti Classico:  Bolognese (Pasta with Meat Sauce), Pizza, Grilled Lamb or Steak, Lasagna

Other Wines That Pair Well with Two-Cheese Pasta:  Barbera, Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Rioja

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A Classic Pairing … Pizza and Tuscan Wine

Pairing: Roasted Vegetable and Pepperoni Pizza with 2012 La Massa Toscana

Food: In our house, Saturday night is pizza night … has been for over thirty years. We’ve experimented with any number of crusts. Lately our favorite has been a sourdough crust based on a recipe from King Arthur. Toppings can be most any leftover veg. For this pizza, we roasted some tomato, summer squash, leek, and onion. Pepperoni and black oil-cured olives were added to the grated mozzarella. Classic (for us) … delicious.


Wine: Over the years of eating pizza, we have enjoyed a lot of Italian red wines with all that pizza. The 2012 La Massa IGT Toscana has to rank up there as one of our very favorites. Other vintage years have been equally satisfying. Fattoria La Massa is located in the Chianti wine region of Italy near the town of Panzano about half way between Florence and Siena. The 2012 La Massa IGT is 60% Sangiovese with the remainder consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Aliante. The inclusion of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (grapes most often associated with the Bordeaux region of France) gives this wine the identity of a “Super Tuscan”. Because of the inclusion of these grape varieties, they cannot call themselves a Chianti which has its own set of rules to follow.


Tasting: The nose reveals different black fruits (black cherry, black currant, blackberry). The palate continues the black fruit medley, but showcases the ripe black cherry. Leather and satiny tannins add further complexity. Although smooth, the wine also has the desirable “edges” typical of a good chianti. Very tasty with pizza.

Other Wines that Pair Well with This Food: Chianti Classico, Montapulciano, Merlot

Other Food that Pairs Well with This Wine:  Pasta with Tomato Sauce, Grilled Meats

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