How to match wine with truffle recipes
Looking for a wine to go with truffle risotto or another truffle-based dish this winter? We bring you the expert advice on what to look for and what to avoid, from master sommelier Piotr Pietras, head sommelier at London's Launceston Place and recently named Amorim Taster of the Year at the Court of Master Sommelier Awards.
At a glance: Wine with truffle recipes
Try wines with some bottle age. Tertiary aromas such as earthy and mushroom notes will work well with the savoury character of truffles
Red meat: Try aged Barolo or Bordeaux | Fish: Think about aged red Burgundy or dry Riesling from Alsace or Rheingau/Pfalz
Truffle risotto needs bolder, creamier wines. Try lightly oaked Chardonnay from Burgundy or California, or Marsanne
Avoid light, fruity whites and reds
What are the challenges of matching wine with truffle recipes?
Giant truffle, sotheby's
A giant white truffle auctioned by Sotheby’s for $61,250 in 2014. Credit: Sotheby’s.
Piotr Pietras MS: Truffle flavors can dominate delicate, neutral white wines and, the other way round, they can be overpowered by very floral, perfumed whites or bolder, concentrated and youthful reds. So, I would stay away from excessive fruitiness.
One of the main things I would keep in mind is the development of wine.
I’d try to find the one with some [bottle] age, so it can express earthy, mushroomy aromas – to reflect the savoury character of truffles – while still being able to complement/stand up to the main element of the dish (fish, meat, vegetable or even chocolate).
What sort of wines would you recommend with specific truffle dishes?
PP: It all depends on the main element of the dish.
If it’s red meat, for instance, I would recommend 20+ year-old Barolo or Bordeaux because of the earthy, mushroomy character of the wines – that can stand up well to the intensity of truffles – as well as their tannins and acidity that would cut through the texture of the meat.
If it’s fish-based dish, I would either go for some softer, yet balanced and well-aged red from Cote d’Or or nicely-evolved, textured dry Riesling from Alsace or Rheingau/Pfalz. This variety is so versatile, especially after 10-15 years of ageing, when it starts to reveal its aromatics and complexity in a beautiful way.
Many people ask what to serve with truffle risotto. Here I would go for something slightly bolder and creamier and, at the same time, fragrant enough to balance this savoury dish. I had a great experience with mature Marsanne-based Hermitage Blanc, for example. Elegant, not-too-oaky, aged Chardonnay from Burgundy or California should do the job, too.
What wines definitely do not match well with truffles and can you explain why?
PP: When pairing with truffles, I would definitely exclude light, neutral white wines such as Italian Pinot Grigio and Cortese or Muscadet from Loire. That’s because these are too delicate and don’t have that aromatic, savoury element to stand up to truffles.
As for the reds, I would be careful with youthful, fruit-driven, powerful reds – for example – Barossa Shiraz, California Zinfandel or Mendoza Malbec. These wines will work very well with many other dishes, but truffle-based ones need something more subtle and more savoury.
A few wine suggestions from our database
DeLoach Chardonnay OFS
A lovely golden color in the glass, is a balanced, complex wine that reflects the best characteristics of each of the vineyards that contribute to the final blend. Aromatic notes of lemon meringue and spiced apples are complemented with notes of caramel. Flavors of green apple, ripe pear and almond paste are accented with notes of cinnamon and a touch of oak. Medium bodied and has a long finish that pairs well with spiced lamb chops or ratatouille.
2017 is an early vintage. Harvests started on August 29th, the grape clusters were dense and compact thanks to excellent flowering in late May. Favourable climate conditions gave charm and generosity to the wines. 2017 is a classic style of vintage that can also be enjoyed in its youth.
Michele Chiarlo Barolo Cerequio Riserva
COLOUR: Bright garnet with light orange hues.
NOSE: Complex, intense with great charm, with balsamic notes, violet, small black fruits, truffle and fine spices.
TASTE: Rich and powerful at first, but extremely elegant with a texture of silky, enveloping tannins; great harmony and long-lasting flavour.
La Croix du Casse
A slightly traditional style, offering singed sandalwood and balsa wood notes, with black tea and bergamot flavors up front, followed by gentle plum and cassis fruit. The lightly smoky finish hangs on well, with a fine-grained but lightly firm structure. Drink now through 2022.