August is truly a special month for Italians. Here in Italy, it’s the culmination of summer, and everything just moves a little slower this time of year. People throw open their windows, glide around town lazily on their bicycles, and you can almost always hear music coming from the square. As kids, my sister and I would actually count down until August when our family would pack up the car and head out to one vacation spot or another: the mountains, the lake, or the sea. As adults, we still look forward to August, but for different reasons.
Mid-month there are a few special days here in Italy that nearly everyone observes, especially in small towns. August 15th is “Farragosto,” a day when everyone ignores their car and takes to the streets to bike or stroll; it’s like stepping back in time! And of course, the Night of St. Lorenzo on August 10th is truly special. They call it the “night of the falling stars” and it’s a fun excuse to spread out a blanket and make a wish into the mild summer sky. And, of course, enjoy a casual dinner al fresco with friends.
August may just be the perfect month, if you ask me, and the perfect wine for August is Pinot Grigio. It’s light, refreshing, and pairs beautifully with a wide variety of delicious seasonal food. Here are a few of our family’s favorites to help you usher in the season of la Dolce Vita in your own community.
Shrimp and Lemon + Pinot Grigio
Because Pinot Grigio has a light, delicate flavor, it tends to actually bring out similarly delicate flavors in light seafoods as well. Lemon and other citrus really brings out the crisp acidity of a great bottle of white, as well. Buy the freshest seafood available, and look for “wild caught” where possible. In Italy, we’re lucky enough to be close to the sea which means the dinner menu often isn’t decided until we visit the docks and see what the fishermen have brought in!
Chicken and Capers + Pinot Grigio
When paired with a great bottle of Pinot Grigio, chicken’s relative lack of flavor becomes an attribute! White meat, particularly, is soft enough in flavor that it won’t compete with the hints of fruit in your favorite bottle. Add salty capers and a light butter or cream sauce for a balanced meal.
Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese + Pinot Grigio
White wine deserves a mild, soft cheese to help enhance its earthy, mineral flavors. Buffalo mozzarella is a great choice, and we find that small producers tend to coax the best flavors out of their cheeses. We suggest a serving delicious mozzarella with a few slices of organic tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil alongside your Candoni’s Organic Pinot Grigio.
Pasta with Light Sauce + Pinot Grigio
Pasta Primavera is a springtime favorite in Italy, but it’s just as easy to come by in summer. Pasta with fresh vegetables – eggplant, peppers, tomatoes – and a light sauce of cream or even just fresh olive oil calls for a wine that won’t compete. And the best thing about pasta? It’s easy to make for a crowd. Light, crisp Pinot is the perfect pair.
Not-Too-Sweet-Dessert + Pinot Grigio
Since Pinot Grigio is on the drier side of whites, an overly sweet dessert will drown its more nuanced notes. Skip the chocolate ganache and opt for mascarpone stuffed crepes or custard such as crème brulee; and if all else fails, we just enjoy a cheese plate as a final course!
All these delicious ideas have my mouth watering! The good news is, there are plenty of warm days left in the year to enjoy the cool, clean flavors of Pinot Grigio. And since my father has always been a wonderful cook, I might just suggest one of these pairings for our next family get-together!
We’d love to hear your favorite Pinot pairings. Share them with our wine-loving community on the Candoni Wines Facebook page.