Pairing wine with truffles. Seems easy, but there are some tricks to bring out the best in both the wine and the delicate taste of the truffle. There are several species of truffles, but they fall into two main categories: white and black. Within these two categories, there are many distinctions having to do with aroma, flavor and quality, all based on terroir - the environmental factors in which the mushrooms grew - heat, cold, humidity, sun, rain, soil - these all play a role in the quality and taste profile of truffles, just like in wine.
White truffles are more delicate (and harder to harvest) than black. They do better when shaved on top of a prepared dish, while black truffles are more robust, hold up to the heat of cooking and do well with richer and more powerful dishes.
While we believe that you should drink whatever you like with whatever you like to eat, there are some wines that pair particularly well with truffles, so we've put together a few tips for pairing wine with truffles and other food.
1. Truffles like a wine higher in acidity and lower in tannins. Tannins come from the grape skins, stems and seeds, so while red wines are fermented with their skins (and sometimes the stems and seeds), white wines generally aren't - giving reds more tannins than whites. So you'll want to lean towards brighter wines, often whites like gewürztraminer, pinot gris or sauvignon blanc, but also reds including pinot noir, syrah, tempranillo, malbec and zinfandel.
2. Older wines nearly always go well with truffles. And white wines can be aged, just not as long as reds. Chardonnay can be wonderful anywhere from two to 10 years and some up to 20. Sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc and viognier can age well up to seven years, while Merlot and zinfandel can do well with two to five years. Reds that age very well are port, cabernet sauvignon, sangiovese, malbec and syrah. Having said that, aged wines are not a must to enjoy truffles or truffle oils in your cooking.
3. When pairing truffles with food and wine, go for something that isn't too aromatic or too full bodied or complex - you want the truffle and its flavors to be prominent, not your wine. You'll also want to be mindful of the flavors of the entire dish you're serving. You can opt for simple dishes with bright clean flavors or rich, creamy dishes with cheese, butter or meat.
For those occasions you want the taste of truffle, but don't want to spend $20 and upwards per gram, try these recipes with truffle oil.
Easy Truffled Mac and Cheese - Chardonnay or Profile Two
Truffle Popcorn - Pinot gris or Profile One
Truffle Oil, Mushroom, and Onion Grilled Burger - Pinot Noir, sangiovese or Profile Four
Mushroom Bruschetta with Triple Cream Brie, Sage and Truffle Oil - This recipe can go either white or red because of the rich earthiness of the double mushroom flavors and the buttery cream of the brie. For the whites, try Chardonnay, viognier, sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, albariño or Profiles One and Two. For the reds try pinot noir, malbec, merlot or Profiles Four or Six.
Creamy Tagliatelle with Bacon, Mushrooms and Truffle oil - Pinot noir, chianti, merlot, malbec, sangiovese or Profiles Four or Four Five
Truffled Butternut Squash Soup with Crispy Sage - Chardonnay, viognier blends, sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, gewurztraminer, albarino or Profiles One and Two
Mashed Cauliflower with Garlic and Truffle Oil - Sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, pinot grigio or Profile One
Spring Pea Pasta with Truffle Oil, Lemon and Mint - Sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, pinot grigio, Profile One or our Profile Nine rosé.
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