Red wines to pair with Cured meats

Cured meats are the stars of the Italian aperitif. They are a unique dish with many regional and traditional specialities. Due to the wide variety of cured meats that can feature on a good charcuterie board, pairing them with wine can be complicated, especially since the wine needs to enhance the characteristics of each product. Because in Italy the tradition of the wine industry goes hand in hand with the production of intensely-flavoured cured meats, it follows that the best possible pairing is with a red tannic wine that can cleanse and degrease the palate. Discover the best red wines to pair with an aperitif with cured meats.

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Cured meats

The best red wines to pair with cured meats 

Choosing a wine to pair with cured meats is crucial to the food and wine experience, to find the best cured meats and typical salamis traditionally produced in Italy. There are many ideas about how to pair a platter of cured meats and cheeses with a bottle of red wine, even though there is not actually a precise rule to follow. A good cured meat is enhanced by a lively, tannic taste, creating a gastronomic match that can improve a very tasty and salty product. Recommended red wine pairings for cured meats include the elegant Valpolicella Classico Superiore, the full-bodied Lagrein from Alto Adige, Cannonau from Sardinia, or a Sangiovese

The characteristics of red wines that pair best with cured meats 

Cured meats are typically extremely salty and greasy so you need to pair them with a fresh-tasting wine that is not too savoury, to avoid creating a strong mineral concentration on the palate. Cured meat and red wine is considered the perfect pairing but the wine must have specific organoleptic properties to enhance the aroma of the cured meat. Generally speaking, for tastier and sweeter cured meats, the recommended pairing is a firmly structured and robust wine. When the cured meat is more structured, as with wild boar or goose, we need an austere, imposing wine with a tannic taste that can curb the succulence of the meat. If we are talking about traditional pairings, like capocollo, you could also open a bottle of Primitivo for an elegant accompaniment. 

Tips for cured meat fans on how to choose the ideal red wine 

Depending on the seasoning and preparation of the cured meat, and any spices or condiments, it is advisable to choose a still and not too full-bodied wine to avoid creating a pairing too rich in flavours. A secret for tasting wine and cured meats, perhaps with blue cheeses and bread, is to try to find a balance between the wine’s body and the richness of the cured meat: succulence, acidity, oiliness and greasiness are some of the main characteristics to consider, but do not forget to take the origin of the cured meat into account. The soft and appealing length of the aroma in the fattiest cured meats gives them a sweeter flavour that is juicy and harmonious on the palate, and this is often enhanced by red wines that are preferably young and medium-bodied, with a limited tannin content, a rich aromatic profile and intense bouquet. With fatty cured meats, it is advisable to drink a red wine like a Lambrusco di Sorbara, Chianti, Barbera d’Asti, or Rosso di Montepulciano

Which Italian regions produce the best cured meats to accompany red wines? 

Italy is a land with a tradition of producing the tastiest and freshest cured meats, mature cheese, and blue cheeses. Each cured meat has specific origins and it is good to pair it with a red wine from the same area. The Italian regions with the highest production of cured meats are Piedmont and Lombardy, followed by Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Sicily, Puglia, and Campania. The perfect pairing for typical Piedmontese cured meats like bresaola is Nebbiolo, Dolcetto d’Alba, or Barbaresco. With a platter of Apulian cured meats like capocollo or prosciutto crudo del Gargano, the recommended pairing would be a typical local Apulian wine like Primitivo Puglia Elè by Chiaromonte or a Primitivo Muro Sant’Angelo.