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Sangiovese Pairing Dinner Menu

So you order a bottle of Sangiovese in an Italian restaurant and are now looking at the food menu. You can easily go for a classic dish like spaghetti and meatballs or even lasagna, but you’re looking for a more exciting dining experience.  When you’re set on your wine choice but willing to go a little further afield with your food, consider letting your sommelier create a Sangiovese Pairing dinner. Let’s start with something you know and love and then go from there.

Sangiovese Pairing

Sangiovese Pairing #1: Eggplant Parmesan

With a dish like Eggplant Parmesan, with its eggplant, mozzarella, bread crumbs, basil, and tomato sauce. The acidity of the tomato sauce and the saltiness of the remaining ingredients matches the acidity and herbal notes of a Sangiovese.

Recipe: Mario Batali’s Eggplant Parmigiana

Sangiovese Pairing #2: Grilled Lollipop Lamb Chops

After an awesome – and comforting – first course, we keep the momentum going with some smoky, saucy, grilled lamb chops. The smokiness and any variation of a lemon, herb (think pesto or chimichurri), or traditional BBQ sauce will be matched by the high acidity and the sage and olive notes of the Sangiovese.

Recipe: Grilled Lollipop Lamb Chops

Sangiovese Pairing #3: Osso Buco (Veal Shank)

As a sommelier, if I am creating a menu for you and get to pair an osso buco with a Sangiovese, it’s because I’ve built up trust with you, the diner, and you’re willing to take a chance on a somewhat unusual recommendation. Osso buco is a roasted veal shank that’s cooked low and slow until it melts right off the bone, which is perfect for moderate-bodied Sangiovese.

Recipe: Giada de Laurentis’s Osso Buco

Sangiovese Pairing #4: Dark Chocolate

Pairing Sangiovese with dessert can be very tricky.  The wine offers high acidity, herbal notes, and sour fruit. Instead of focusing on the obvious element of sweetness, we’ll instead pair the dark chocolate’s bitterness and rich body to that same bitterness and body texture in the Sangiovese. If you add fruit to the dark chocolate the additional acid will through off the pairing completely, so opt for chunks of dark chocolate enjoyed all on their wine.

Recipe: Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate


Now I’m hungry.  I need my shift to over so it can be my turn.


Wine Recommendations:

Di Majo Norante Sangiovese, 2013 – $11

Fattorie Melini Chianti Classico Riserva La Selvanella, 2010 – $27

Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia, 2011 – $49



Mario Luna

Certified Sommelier

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