6 Unexpected Chianti Classico Pairings That Will Completely Upgrade Your Meal

There’s nothing quite as inviting as a well-dressed table piled high with overflowing platters of delicious food, low-flickering candles, and a just-opened bottle of Chianti. It’s a blessedly common sight in Chianti Classico, the heartland and highest point of Tuscany’s Chianti zone in central Italy. Here, a unique combination of clay and sandstone soils, towering altitude, and just-right ranges of temperature, sunlight, and ventilation produces wines of extraordinary flavor and depth. Some of the best are made at Lamole di Lamole’s verdant estate, which is nestled in a high-lying valley set atop one of Chianti Classico’s highest points.

Here, especially well-draining, ocher-colored earth sets the stage for perfectly ripened Sangiovese grapes. World-class organic vineyard practices in turn transform them into elegant and sumptuous wines with startling character and vitality. These sophisticated bottles beg to be served with foods that accentuate their complex flavor profiles, which can feature notes ranging from earthy red cherry to sharp espresso.

But what, exactly, should one serve with Lamole di Lamole wines? When it comes to food pairings, there’s an age-old saying: “If it grows together, it goes together.” Indeed, Tuscany and the rest of Italy boast an impressive bounty of sun-ripened fruits and vegetables, richly flavored meats and cheeses, finely calibrated oils and vinegars, and more. Traditional Italian foods are an obvious match for Chianti Classico. But one needn’t limit menus to dishes hailing only from this corner of the world. Italian ingredients shine brightly in delicacies from across the globe, which in turn illuminate new ways to enjoy Chianti.

Want to see what we mean? These fantastic Lamole di Lamole Chianti pairings are great places to start.

The wine: Lamole di Lamole Chianti Classico DOCG

The dish: Soy-Braised Eggplant With Thai Basil

With notes of red cherry, warm spices, and oaky vanilla, this intense expression of Chianti Classico boasts a full body and bright acidity. Comprised of 85 percent Sangiovese and a 15 percent blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, the Sangiovese is aged for one year in large, old oak casks while the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon rest in smaller second- and third-use barrels. The resulting wine, expressive and full-bodied, is a go-to pairing for Italian eggplant Parmesan and its heavy blanket of garlicky tomato sauce and gooey mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. But a similar alchemy takes place when Chianti Classico is paired with Asian-inflected braised eggplant enriched with pungent garlic, soy sauce, herbaceous Thai basil, nutty sesame oil, and umami-rich fish sauce.

Both eggplant dishes are rich and velvety in texture, requiring a wine with acidity strong enough to cut through it. Chianti Classico more than fits the bill. When preparing soy-braised eggplant, we suggest ditching the globe eggplants ubiquitous in Italy in favor of longer and more slender Japanese eggplants. They’re more tender and have fewer seeds — perfect for sizzling in a hot wok.

The wine: Lamole di Lamole Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG

The dish: Lamb and Mushroom Korma

Earthy and savory thanks to its 95 percent Sangiovese grapes, the Classico Riserva delivers aromas of violets and dark-skinned berries, plus notes of dried black cherry, star anise, and cloves. Combined with bracing acidity and firm tannins, it’s just the thing to pair with earthy mushroom-based dishes like an Indian-inspired lamb and mushroom korma.

Classico Riserva’s medium body and oaky character — developed during the 24 months it spends in oak barrels before an additional three-month aging in the bottle — give it the heft required to stand up to the korma, which is mild and creamy thanks to silky coconut milk and tangy Greek yogurt. The Classico Riserva’s baking spice notes are also a fantastic complement to the dish’s hits of ginger, cumin, and coriander. Fatty ground lamb lends a deeply savory character that further enhances the Classico Riserva’s earthy notes.

The wine: Lamole di Lamole Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG

The dish: Milanese-Style Ossobuco with Cannellini Beans and Fennel

Made only with best-quality grapes of the vibrant color, size, and skin density worthy of a coveted “Gran Selezione” stamp from local wine authorities, Lamole di Lamole’s Chianti Gran Selezione is a truly exquisite bottling. All fruit hails from the single vineyard of Campolungo, a gorgeous site with westward exposure that sits a bed of sparkling galestro and albarese quartz, which infuses vines with noted elegance and structure. Thirty months in oak barrels combined with an additional three- to six-month aging in the bottle result in a wine that’s rich and decadent with notes of wild berry, espresso, and cloves. The tannins are exquisite now, but only evolve and improve with age — don’t be afraid to hold onto bottles for a good while.

Once you’re ready to pull the trigger and uncork, pair pours with classic Milanese osso bucco, a long-stewed dish of veal shanks enrobed in caramelized tomato paste, minced garlic, white wine, and sage. The dish’s slow-cooked, roasted notes and deep, meaty flavor are an ideal complement to the Lamole di Lamole Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG’s generously full body and structured tannins. The addition of creamy cannellini beans pepped up with a zesty gremolata of chopped parsley, garlic, and lemon peel land a fresh, sharp punch.

The wine: Lamole di Lamole Chianti Classico

The dish: Charred Beef Bulgogi

The famous Korean dish bulgogi packs a symphony of sweet and savory notes. Paper-thin slices of well-marbled, boneless sirloin or tenderloin steak marinate in a pungent mixture of juicy pear, onion, garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, and ginger before taking a spin on a sizzling-hot grill. Charred slivers are then wrapped with aromatic perilla leaves, and the resulting bundles are then topped with other goodies like short-grain rice, long green hot peppers, hunks of raw garlic, and carrot and cucumber sticks. A sweet, smoky dish such as this requires a bright, streamlined wine to complement it. Enter Chianti Classico, which enhances rather than competes with the dish’s intense flavors.

The wine: Lamole di Lamole Chianti Classico Riserva

The dish: Chimichurri Chicken

There’s little that the classic Argentinian sauce chimichurri won’t improve, but this bright, invigorating blend of fresh herbs, garlic, red-pepper flakes, and red-wine vinegar is particularly excellent on chicken. Birds benefit from the chimichurri in two ways: First, the chicken is marinated in half of the green, garlicky stuff, which infuses it with a robust, even flavor. Next, after a stint on the grill or in the oven, juicy meat is dabbed with the remaining chimichurri for a sharp, tangy punch. Pair it with Classico Riserva, whose vibrant flavor profile of sage, spice, and firm tannins is a match for the chimichurri’s acidity.

The wine: Lamole di Lamole Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG

The dish: Roasted pumpkin and blue cheese quiche

Yes, quiche is often relegated to restrained brunch or light dinners, but who says this classic French dish can’t be over the top? Funky, spicy blue cheese lends a pungent bass note to a filling, custardy quiche, while roasted pumpkin amplified with sticky maple syrup offers a punch of sweetness. Flaky, buttery pastry — homemade, preferably — brings it all together. The dish is excellent alongside glasses of the structured rich tannins of Lamole di Lamole Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG, which delightfully heightens the quiche’s spiced notes.

With Lamole di Lamole wines, there’s no limit to your food pairing potential.

This article is sponsored by Lamole di Lamole.