When we think of Spaghetti and Meatballs, our mind automatically races to
serving an Italian Red Wine. Heck, even the classic scene from Disney's 'The
Lady and the Tramp' features the two dogs eating Spaghetti with the ever present
straw covered Chianti bottle as a candle holder that could be found in every
Italian bistro in the 60's.
There was a reason why Chianti was king way back then in every Italian
restaurant, and that is the Sangiovese grape used to make it. Spaghetti and
Meatballs often has a red sauce, or Tomato based sauce. Tomatoes, which are
highly acidic, needs a highly acidic wine to compete with it, or else the dish
will come off as flat and metallic. As you've guessed by now, Sangiovese grapes
produce highly acidic wines. Sangiovese is also a tannic wine, and the tanins in
wine will be tamed considerably from the meat in the meatballs, harmonizing the
food and wine combination. When selecting a Chianti, you want a style that is
traditional, as more modern versions might be too oakey and soft to compete with
the sharpness of the tomato sauce.
Montepulciano is another great pick.
These young and dry fruity reds have herbal notes that will complement the
oregano seasonings often found in this dish.
Other great Italian reds to
pair with Spaghetti and Meatballs are Valpolicellas or Barberas. These two reds
are somewhat light, and have enough acidity to combat the high acidity of the
tomatoes. Both of these reds make for great palate cleansers, in that they leave
a clean finish, so if you're watching your carbohydrate intake, you might not be
reaching for that basket of bread quite so often.
If you want to support your local wineries, the food
friendly Zinfandel will extremely well with Spaghetti and Meatballs. Zinfandels
are fruity reds that marry well with the
tomato sauce, and the peppery and spicy notes complement the meat found in the
meatballs. A heavier Pinot Noir will match up, but stay away from this wine if
the dish is heavy in garlic and heat, or else this light wine will not hold