Montepulciano d’Abruzzo with Amatriciana pasta is a classic. Although the town of Amatrice (sadly destroyed by an earthquake in the summer of 2016) is now part of Lazio, the birthplace of one of Italy’s most famous pasta sauces was an abruzzese village until 1927, when Mussolini redefined the boundaries of several Italian regions. The special, centuries-old relationship between Montepulciano and Amatriciana proves that food and wine that come from the same geographical area tend to complement each other beautifully. With its vibrant acidity and well-integrated tannins, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is just spectacular with Amatriciana pasta.
Picking the right wine for Amatriciana pasta: red or white?
I really love to drink a glass of red with my Amatriciana, but sometimes – especially when spring comes around – a crisp white can be just as good. A particular favorite of mine is Greco di Tufo. Grown and harvested in the Italian South, precisely in the province of Avellino (historically known as Irpinia), this is a dry white wine with rich aromas of peach and almond and a light saline bite provided by the volcanic soil of Irpinia.
Greco di Tufo pairs perfectly with Amatriciana pasta just because it has as much character and personality as the popular Roman dish. Made with Greco grapes (a wine varietal largely unknown outside of Italy), it is a deep straw yellow color with golden hues. It shows a warmer tone and a fuller texture than most Italian white wines.
One of my favorite Greco di Tufo is the one from Vigna Villae winery in Taurasi. Its savory flavor brings out the sweetness in the tomato sauce, its ample acidity cuts through the sharp, salty taste of pecorino romano cheese, and its slightly-smokey notes temper the richness of guanciale (Roman-style cured and smoked pork jowl). Not many wines stand up to the complexity of Amatriciana pasta like Greco di Tufo.