red wine issue

- Susanna Danieli


When it comes to wine, people usually have strong opinions concerning their tastes and preferences. However, when it comes to wine and food pairing, things get more difficult: there are many guidelines about what should come with what, and, more often than not, the pattern usually involves dishes that contain proteins from animal origin. Have you ever noticed?
White wine goes splendidly with seafood, bodied and structured reds are the perfect match for your Sunday roast and sweet wine is spot-on at the end of the meal, especially when paired with decadent, delicious and preferably molded cheese.
Nothing to say about that: most wine guides and wine critics are perfectly right, and these suggestions do a really good job on your tastebuds.

There is just one problem, and not a minor one in this discourse: How can different diets adequate to this prevalent wine-and-food-pairing pattern?
I’m talking about dietary regimes that don’t involve the direct consumption of meats and, broadly speaking, the ones that don’t include foods of animal origin at all. In these terms especially red wines are problematic, because of their body (come on, can you imagine any regular salad with a glass of Barolo?) and triangular structure in which tannins, along with acidity and saltiness, must balance the sweet, alcoholic and glyceric components. Red wine clearly has an issue with vegan pairing: the complexity of the former is rarely matched by the structure of the latter.

What I try to highlight here is that, whereas the marriage can be difficult, this doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Take Villa Venti’s Primo Segno: it’s 100 per cent Sangiovese from the Emilia-Romagna region right in the center of Italy. Villa Venti is an organic cellar in Roncofreddo, in the Romagna area: the owners Mauro and Davide have an all-natural approach in the winemaking, taking advantage of indigenous yeasts and spontaneous fermentation and, perhaps most importantly, promoting biodiversity in the vineyard. A good, clean and fair wine that legitimately earned the highest recognition in the Slow Wine Guide 2018 (and you may find it again on the 2019 edition but, hey, I told you nothing, ok?).
The bottle seems to speak for itself: a delightful label with purple and blue flowers for a delicate ruby wine, spicy and savory, with deep cherry notes and subtle minty aromas. Sangiovese is the same grape of the great Chiantis and full bodied Tuscan reds but here we have a much lighter, convenient and I would say fun version.


Any issues with vegan cuisine? Not this time: my pairing of choice was a hearty Porcini mushroom risotto, which I made using a vegetable broth, no dairy for the creaming and just a spoonful of fresh parsley on top. A perfect balance between the gentle, soft and almost sweet taste of the risotto and the chewable spice (most notably cinnamon and pepper) of the Sangiovese.
This time we overcame the red wine issue: what will come next?
Stay tuned to find out and, in the meantime, try, or should I say dare it yourself!