Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Making a romantic meal at home? Here are a few easy-to-remember tips from Ruffino Italian Cuisine, one of the Valley’s hidden Italian gems located in Ahwatukee (check back for our review!), on how to create a match made in heaven with your food and wine pairings.
Secret #1 Match creamy with creamy: Pair cream-based sauces, such as alfredo or poultry, with creamy wines like chardonnay.
Secret #2 Match your regional items with regional wines: If you aren’t sure what wine pairs with what food, pair with regions. Italian food will always go with a regional wine such as a Chianti or a Tuscan red.
Secret #3 Color coding: The color of the wine will tell you what it will pair well with. A light, bright white wine with hints of green will pair great with light green dishes like salads or a light fish dish.
Secret #4 Watch your weight: Don’t worry, not your weight – the wine’s “weight.” If the food is a lighter food, such as a delicate white fish, pair it with a light bodied wine, such as a Pinot Grigio. If you are having a heavier meal, such as lasagna or a steak, you will want to pair that with a big red wine with tannins that can stand up to the richer and heavier flavors of the meal, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel or a Malbec
Secret #5 Know your weight: How do you determine the weight for your food and wine? The cooking method and the sauce used will reveal how heavy the food is. For your wine, a quick tip is if the wine is less than 12 percent alcohol, it will be lighter bodied; wines with more than 14 percent are heavier wines.
The owner of Ruffino Italian Cuisine, Steve Charron, recommends his personal favorite wine, Villa San-Juliette Cabernet Sauvignon out of Paso Robles California, as a “must try Ruffino favorite.” Charron says that this wine is not a typical Cabernet Sauvignon, it is more fruit forward and lush than most heavy tannin California Cabernet Sauvignons. “It drinks great alone, and also pairs well with any of Ruffino’s filet mignon dishes or marinara dishes.” www.ruffinoaz.com.