A traditional dish of the Apulia region, Orecchiette with Turnip Greens, has a history in the area that goes all the way back to the 12th century. The handmade orecchiette, made from durum wheat semolina, salt and water, are aptly named as they resemble small ears – the meaning of orecchiette in Italian. The turnip green is a typical vegetable of southern Italy and is cultivated before flowering to ensure that it is tender.
Puglia is also a region that is known for its wine production, known for producing successful wines such as Negroamaro, Primitivo and Malvasia Nera (from Lecce e from Brindisi) along with other autochthonous varieties, such as Nero di Troia, Susumaniello, Ottavianello Bombino Bianco, Bombino Nero, Moscatello Selvatico, Pampanuto (also known as Verdeca).
A delicious pasta of the Apulian cuisine, Orecchiette con le Cime di Rapa (orecchiette Pasta with Turnip Tops) is one of those must-try dishes when visiting Puglia; yet, is also one that can be prepared at home and found in some of the best restaurants around the world. But which wine to pair? Here is wine sensory analyst Luca Maroni’s advice.
Wine Pairing – Orecchiette with Turnip Greens and a Negroamaro blend
The Pumo Salice Salentino Cantine San Marzano
“As always the quality of Cantine San Marzano’s wines is didactic and/or archetypal. The ultimate in native grape varieties of Puglia, and not only because of the diffusely exceptional concentration of this production range.”
Pumo Salice Salentino, a classic Salento blend of Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera di Brindisi, is an intensely perfumed wine with hints of cherry and plum. Bright ruby red color with garnet hues, intense bouquet with hints of cherry and plum, spicy and with notes of Mediterranean herbs. On the palate it is a full-bodied, robust wine with pleasant freshness on the finish.
Wine Pairing – Orecchiette with Turnip Greens and a Bianco d’Alessano
Cupa Bianco d’Alessano I Pàstini
“A glass of excellent viticultural quality and exceptional enological clarity from I Pàstini. The Cupa Bianco d’Alessano stands out for its persuasiveness and balance of flavor.”
The second wine indicated by Luca Maroni for pairing with orecchiette con le cime di rapa is a Bianco d’Alessano vinified in purity with a straw-yellow color with greenish reflections in youth, exhibiting delicate floral and white fruit aromas, including pear and peach. Fresh, mineral, long on the palate. It displays an important body, and is a structured, well-balanced wine with an exceptional potential for aging.
Wine Pairing – Orecchiette with Turnip Greens and a Negroamaro rosé
Negroamaro Rosato Salento Vecchia Torre
“Vecchia Torre confirms itself among the most distinctive and virtuous wines of the region. Each glass is clear, with clean aromas, a concentration of flavors, and above-average roundness on the palate. These are rosés of exceptional, enological executive clarity.”
Negroamaro Rosato Salento, in particular, the last wine suggested by the sensorial analyst for a perfect pairing with orecchiette con le cime di rapa, has a soft cherry pink color, paired with an intense and delicate bouquet with hints of cherries and raspberries. On the palate it is soft, and savory, with a fruity persistence.