An Italian Dinner with a Classic Pairing of Italian Wine and Food


My wife and I and some friends attended a special wine dinner the other evening at the Tartufo Restaurant in Washington, D.C.  Paul’s Wine and Spirits in the Friendship Heights neighborhood and the Rapp Wine and Company of Washington, DC jointly sponsored the dinner.

Paul’s Wines and Spirits is an established and well-known retail wine and spirits shop that has a strong offering of Italian and other international wines.

Rapp Wine and Company is a relatively new wine importer and distributor owned by the husband-wife team of Kevin and Nicole Rapp. They have a portfolio of primarily family-owned and operated, boutique-style Italian producers from central and southern Italy. It is an up-and-coming importer and distributor with a growing distribution network on the east coast and the Washington, DC metro area in particular.

Kevin and Nicole selected six different Italian rosé, white and red wines that feature some of Italy’s best varietals. Tartufo’s chef prepared a six-course menu specifically designed to pair with the evening’s wines.

I like the approach of pairing the menu to selected wines rather than the other way around. This approach recognizes that wine is an equal partner in the food-wine pairing process and not merely a blank to be filled in once the menu is determined.

Wines from Rapp and Wine Company served at Tartufo Restaurant.

A description of each wine and the dish it accompanies is presented below.

First course: Crostini Pesca Blue - toasted rustic bread with peach and gorgonzola cheese.
Wine: Albea, “Petrarosa” Special Cuvee Primitivo Salento Rosato IGT 2016 Puglia.

Made with 100 percent estate-grown Primitivo, this cherry red rosato (rosé) wine has good acidity and an elegant, crisp finish.

Second Course: Bocconcini Mozzarella - fresh Mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, prosciutto, micro arugula, basil, oregano and olive oil.
Wine: Cantine Galasso, “Corno Grande” Pecorino Terre di Chieti IGT 2016 Abruzzo
The “Corno Grande” Pecorino is an elegant wine with floral aromas intermingled with hints of citrusy lemon peel. It is light-to-medium-bodied with prominent acidity and green apple and Bartlett pear flavors that go well with milky Mozzarella cheese.

Third Course: Salmone Pescatore - salmon with oranges, spinach and light herbaceous lemon sauce.
Wine: G. Milazzo, “Maria Costanza” Bianco Sicilia IGT 2016 Sicily

This dry white wine from Sicily is made of Inzolia with a splash of Chardonnay.  The wine is aged in a combination of stainless steel and oak barriques and then undergoes extended ageing on the lees before bottling. It has good structure with a creamy mouthfeel accented with tropical fruit flavors followed by a soft, persistent finish.

Fourth Course: Tagliatelle Al Ragu - Tagliatelle pasta with house-made veal ragu tomato sauce.
Wine: Cantine Galasso, “Torre Galasso” Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2014 Abruzzo.

This straightforward, enjoyable wine doles out red berry and tart cherry flavors with a hint of kitchen spice. Soft tannins and a streak of bright acidity make it a great, all-around food-friendly wine.

Fifth Course: Pollo Tartufo - chicken breast stuffed with ham, spinach, mozzarella cheese with Sherry wine sauce and mushrooms with pasta.
Wine: G. Milazzo, “Maria Costanza” Rosso Sicilia IGT 2013 Sicily.

Made entirely of Nero d’Avola, Sicily’s signature wine, it displays all the wine’s attractive features and intense personality. It has layers of juicy ripe cherry and spice flavors complemented by a velvety texture and soft tannins. It is full-bodied and flavorful and a warm, embracing drinking experience.

Chocolate mousse dessert with Primitivo wineSixth Course: Dessert - chocolate mousse with chocolate flakes and mixed berries.
Wine: Albea, “Sol” Primitivo Puglia IGT 2014 Puglia
Using a Primitivo to accompany a sweet dessert can be a tricky pairing but Albea’s “Sol” Primitivo rises to the occasion. The wine’s dark fruit aromas are interspersed with notes of chocolate and a soft, pleasing mouthfeel with plum, dried fig and vanilla flavors, soft tannins and a long, velvety finish.

All in all, it was an enjoyable and perfect matching of Italian wines and food.


For other articles on food and wine see Food and italian Wine

©Richard Marcis
June 22, 2017


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