To find a wine to match Steak Pizzaiola, I decided to go to the country that the dish is from, Italy. The steak would pair best with red wine and the tomato sauce needed a wine with some acidity and sweetness. I went to one of my favourite wine regions, Veneto in North West Italy. The wine I chose was Vincini Amarone Della Valpolicella 2012. Valpolicella is a medium bodied wine made from Corvina grapes but when the grapes are partially dried to concentrate the sugars before they are pressed the wine is known as Amarone and is full bodied. Amarone is more expensive than Valpolicella and is classified as DOCG, which means that the wine producers have followed strict regulations when making the wine and a committee has guaranteed the geographic authenticity of the wine and its quality. You can expect to pay between £50-£80 for a fine Amorone wine so I was looking forward to trying this inexpensive version.

I decanted the wine for three hours to allow it to breath and was expecting a luscious aroma of dark black fruit, particularly cherry when I removed the decanter lid. However, the nose was surprisingly lifeless and the prominent aroma was acetone. I wondered if I had made a mistake in buying an Amarone in a supermarket. In the glass, the colour was deep ruby and at 14.5% alcohol volume you would expect good legs and I wasn’t disappointed. The rim of the wine had a brown hue, indicating an older wine. However, at 5 years old this was a young Amarone but it was beginning to age. On the palate, the first thing that hit me was prune, then sour cherry followed by tones of ripe soft red fruit, a mixture of strawberries and raspberries. It didn’t have a long length but was smooth with astringent tannins. The tannins needed food to stop drying my mouth.

I served this dry Amarone Della Valpolicella wine with Steak Pizzaiola, mini roast potatoes and British Speciality Mushrooms, which contained Maitake, Eryngii, Shiitake and Oyster mushrooms. The Wine was wonderful with the homemade tomato sauce, made with tinned chopped tomatoes, garlic, onion, fresh oregano and seasoning. It brought out the flavour and sweetness of the tomatoes superbly. The ribeye steak was not too rare as high tannin wine does not pair well with blood in meat. The marbled fat in the steak matched the wine exquisitely bringing out the cherry flavour further, completely offsetting the tannin and rendering the wine silky smooth. The mini roast potatoes also matched beautifully and the wine brought out the earthiness of the mushrooms.

When the steak and tomato sauce were cold I tasted the Amarone with the cold cut and it was delicious. This would serve as a luxurious and indulgent lunch.

I purchased Amarone Della Valpolicella 2012  from Asda and am going back to buy more so that I can age it for a few years. The label promised dark chocolate but this is a character in older wine and I am looking forward to appreciating this if it develops.

Amarone Della Valpolicella 2012 was reduced from £14.98 to £9. On the Asda website it is priced at £14.98 so if you want the lower price you will have to actually go to Asda.

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