Wine Pairings for Penne con Fagioli Bianchi (White Beans)

Image from www.radikon.it.

Wine Pairings for Penne con Fagioli Bianchi

Bianco: Ribolla Gialla from Gravner, Damijan, Radikon, Jermann, Dorigo, Ronco di Cialla

This hearty dish is laden with dense texture, especially the beans and pancetta. With that in mind, a medium-to-full-bodied white or a medium-bodied red with bright acidity and moderate tannins will make the perfect match. But, what if there were a wine inbetween white and red…that is not a rosato?

My thoughts turn to the grape variety Ribolla Gialla. Within the borders of “The Boot,”it is grown primarily in Friuli. Ribolla Gialla produces a fairly wide range of wines depending on when it is picked (early or late) and how it is vinified. When fermented in a “modern” style, Ribolla Gialla usually makes wines that are medium-bodied and crisp with floral overtones. When produced in a VERY old-fashioned style, the wines often turn…orange. These “orange wines” are usually fuller bodied than their modern white counterparts and are often slightly tannic. Because of the tannins, these wines are often served at the same temperature as a light-to-medium bodied red. That’s to say with just a hint of a chill.

Growers that make “orange wines” that are as aromatically profound and awe-inspiring include Josko Gravner, Damijan Podversic and Stanislao Radikon.  If the idea of drinking an orange beverage that is from a fruit outside the citrus family does not work, try these more modern producers: Jermann, Dorigo and Ronco di Cialla (their Cialla Bianco is a blend dominated by Ribolla Gialla.)

I’d love to hear about your experiences with “orange wines,” so drop me a line with a comment below.

Check out our recipe for Penne con Fagioli Bianchi and our About post that gives a brief history behind the dish.

Cin cin!

Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine (MW)

Wine Editor

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