Lasagna with Wine

Winter is all about rich, hot, comfort foods!  To my mind, nothing says this better than Lasagna!  Sheets of pasta topped with meat, cheese and sauce is sure to warm anyone's belly.  Not to mention it's delicious!  The great thing about Lasagna is that it can feed a large group of people easily and at an affordable price.  On rare occasions, we serve lasagna for our Christmas dinner instead of the traditional spread consisting of prime rib or ham.  Luckily, family and friends are always happily surprised and often ask for seconds!

Lasagna is a hearty dish that calls for an equally hearty wine.  Although I've tried to pair Italian food with non-Italian wines, they just work together.  Montepulciano is a red-wine grape grown throughout Italy.  The wine is deeply colored, rich, and full of black fruit flavors with spicy, peppery notes.  Often times it is blended with another red Italian grape called Sangiovese.  After taking a bite of the Lasagna and then a sip of the wine, the meat in the dish suddenly takes center stage.  The pepper notes in the wine play of the pepper in the dish.  Italian reds also have excellent acidity.  When sipped on their own, they can be extremely tart.  This is needed when you have tomato sauce that is also high in acid.  With food, the acidity isn't as noticeable and helps to clean the meat and cheese flavors off the tongue, making the next bite taste like the first.  You might also want to try a New World Merlot.  They have substantial fruit and softer tannins that work well with Lasagna.  Additional wines to try with Lasagna are Chianti Classico, Barbera, Sangiovese, Italian red table wine, Cabernet Sauvignon (old world) or Pinot Noir.