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What Wine To Drink With Your Easter Meal, from Appetito’s Vino Expert

Andrew Cotto|

Gianluca Rottura at his Manhattan wine shop, In Vino Veritas.

Gianluca Rottura has a life-long relationship with Italian food and wine. Having grown up in the restaurant industry, with his family owning one of the country’s most renowned Italian restaurants in New York City, as well as owning familial farms in Italy, it was a logical next step for him to further explore food’s spouse: Wine. Since 1997, his wine store, In Vino Veritas, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, has specialized in smaller, boutique wineries, most family-owned. In Vino Veritas focuses more specifically on Italian wines, having been one of the few places anywhere in the world to introduce certain Italian wines to new markets outside of the local areas in Italy. Gianluca has taught wine classes and seminars for decades and empowered people to not only get over their unnecessary fear of wine, but to fall in love with it in a deeper, more meaningful and informed way. His first book, Wine Made Easy, written over 20 years ago and recently updated, is an accessible and fun way to learn about wine. His second book, Ma, What Are You Cooking? The In Vino Veritas Cookbook and Food Guide, contains 120 recipes with wine-matching suggestions, while also serving as a love letter to the author’s mother, family, and culture.

We at Appetito welcome Gianluca, with his passion, expertise and skill as an educator, as our in-house wine guru. Look for regular contributions that focus on the regional wines of Italy, though he will start with his suggested pairings for our Roman "Feaster."

Easter is one of my favorite holidays, and experiencing a few in Italy were among the best moments of my life. Considering Appetito's classic Roman menu of roasted lamb and potatoes, with peas and pancetta on the side (all approved by me!), also factoring in this special holiday, I suggest some heavy hitters for wine pairings. These suggestions will complement any traditional Easter menu featuring lamb.

Piemonte's Barolo or Barbaresco, both made with Nebbiolo, are incredible and elegant choices. Taurasi is nicknamed the Barolo of the South and has a similar flavor profile to Barolo and Barbaresco but with darker attributes; the volcanic soil in which the Aglianico grapes are grown give the wine rusty notes, strong tannins and minerality.

Another choice for a celebratory dinner could be Amarone. Made from drying the same grapes for Valpolicella until they lose about 40% of their water, rendering them somewhat like raisins, the resulting wine is bold, bittersweet and, you guessed it, exhibiting notes of raisin.

Brunello di Montalcino is well-known and for good reason. It’s the larger-berried clone of Chianti’s main grape, the noble Sangiovese. Hefty and impressive, Brunello will certainly make a statement on your Easter table.

For a fennel and orange salad (that Italians, as should you, eat after the main course), I recommend a Sicilian Grillo or an Inzolia. Both match well with the vibrant flavors of these combined winter foods that make you wait anxiously for summer. 

Whichever wines you chose, Buona Pasqua and Buon Appetito! 

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