Italy’s reds best enjoyed with food
The easiest wine question I got asked over the holidays was about which country delivers the best red wine values.
What surprised me was the response when I said Italy. “Oh, I hardly ever buy Italian wine.”
Seems to me there are people who buy Italian wine, and people who don’t. Sales of Italian wine are strong in Ontario but for some it’s a bit foreign. And maybe too cheap to be trusted. Italian reds have always been inexpensive but recently they have also become good, too.
The trick to enjoying bargain Italian red is to understand that these wines are crafted for food. Their tangy dryness stimulates the appetite and keeps it going throughout dinner.
They are more about vitality than richness or niceness. Drink them with, and as you prepare, supper — but don’t take them to the party.
Pasqua’s Merlot (LCBO No.: 611780) is bright, lively and the perfect partner for a tomato-sauced pasta dish. It echoes the fun of everyday Italian foods. Once opened, transfer it to a smaller bottle so there is less air contact.
Billy Munnelly has been writing about wine for 25 years and is the author of Canada's largest selling wine book, Billy's Best Bottles. Sign up for his free monthly e-letter at