WEEKAWAY: 'Super Tuscan' wines help create memorable meals

“Super Tuscan” is a category of wines that emerged during the 1970s as Italian winemakers became frustrated with the laws governing the production of Chianti, the signature wine of the region.

Wines classified as Super Tuscan are not necessarily sorted by the grapes used to produce them—although many contain grapes similar to Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Instead, they are distinguished by the region they come from and their quality. The term “Super Tuscan” was coined to separate these fine wines from cheaper table wines, which are notoriously low in quality. Here is a look at some pairing guidelines to help you create a memorable meal over a fine bottle of imported Italian wine. 

Select boldly flavored dishes

Super Tuscan wines are made with red wine grape varietals famous for their bold, big-bodied qualities. Therefore, you will want to choose foods that stand up to these qualities and enhance the more subtle characteristics of the wine. Appetizers such as salty and sweet Foie Gras or a Charcuterie board of smoky meats and briny pickles are great pairings to start your meal, and red meats like lamb or beef are perfect as entrées.

Eat with Tuscan inspiration

Pairing by region rather than ingredients is another reliable strategy to make the most of your meal. Tuscan dishes are famously rich with heavy pasta sauces, braised meats, and heavy use of tomatoes. A dish like Conchiglie Rigate with lamb and wild mushrooms will pair harmoniously with any Super Tuscan served at the table.

If you want to test your wine and food pairing skills, you can find an extensive list of imported wines and a delicious menu of classic Italian dishes with New World inspiration at Gamba Ristorante. To make reservations at Gamba in Merrillville, call 219-736-5000.

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