There has always been a harmonious, almost musical relationship between food and wine. When dishes are paired with wines properly, there’s a synergy of complementary tastes and textures that elevate a mere meal into a concerto. With every bite, the flavors of each ingredient play a note —and if a recipe is elaborate and multidimensional, full-on musical chords. The same goes for wine; with each sip, your palate tastes a note — and if the wine is a complex one, you’ll taste a chord of many notes. Gastronomic “music” happens when the chords of food and wine intermingle and harmonize — and a wine that’s well rounded can pair with any culinary chord that comes its way.
Enter Mezzacorona DiNotte, the meticulously crafted red blend from northern Italy. It may have been a recommended Valentine’s Day wine in the past, but it’s actually quite a versatile wine to pair with food for any occasion throughout the year. That’s because with a complex structure — yet smooth texture — it can attune with many dishes, be it a succulent savory entrée or a sugary sweet dessert.
“Di notte” is Italian for “at night,” which is one appropriate time to enjoy a bottle — with dinner. Despite this nocturnally inspired name, Mezzacorona DiNotte wasn’t produced overnight. Each bottle is the result of patience, as its grapes within have grown over time in the Trentino-Alto Adige region, spanning from the shores of Lake Garda to the inward sloping foothills of the Dolomite Mountains. It’s the soil here that really gives the grapes their character, as it’s comprised of decomposed sedimentary rock and limestone, with alluvial deposits from glaciers and the Adige River.
The Mezzacorona estate has been growing and cultivating grapes in this small Italian wine region for over a century, with their generations-deep experience and mastery on how the area’s microclimates produce and affect different terroir zones. The fierce Mediterranean sun warms up the valley, encouraging the grapes to ripen, while the dramatic peaks of the Dolomites provide the shade necessary to protect them from dehydration. The surrounding cool air and balanced humidity from the geography of nearby lakes, rivers, and mountains aid in the grapes’ inherent ability to hold their acidity and flavor until harvest time.
Three grape varieties are in play in every delicious bottle of DiNotte. Internationally known Merlot grapes are united with two indigenous ones, Teroldego and Marzemino, after they’re all hand-picked for their unique juices. The Teroldegos and Marzeminos go through a classic vinification process with selected yeasts for 12 to 13 days, in a temperature range of 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Then the Teroldegos and Merlots are aged for six months, separately, in three-year-old French oak barrels — slightly toasted for a hint of sweetness, spice, and vanilla notes.
Their result of this patience, craft, and labor of love is a rich, elegant red wine teeming with a full-bodied texture that’s simultaneously bright and floral, soft and juicy, deep and aromatic. It hits your palate with a chord of Teroldego’s bold flavors of red currants, blackberries, and blueberries, the soft tannins and floral notes hailing from the Marzemino, and Merlot’s hints of vanilla and cocoa. Its complex, well-rounded structure plays an accompaniment with your taste buds that are primed to ameliorate any direction, which is why it’s perfect to pair with many hearty meals — spicy fare, savory sauces, grilled and roasted meats, or delicious dishes like this blistered tomato and baked feta pasta.
This blistered tomato and baked feta pasta recipe (full recipe below) is culinarily harmonious in itself, with an eclectic list of ingredients working together. It calls for the sweetness of cherry or grape tomatoes, the boldness of garlic and shallots, the sharp umami flavor of feta, the spiciness of red pepper flakes, and a zesty splash of citrus acidity from lemon. As each bite meets your taste buds, a chord strikes, and each sip of Mezzacorona DiNotte easily accompanies it with its versatile structure and multifaceted flavor profile. Its softness complements the boldness of the garlic and feta, while its fruitiness complements the heat.
And DiNotte can continue to flow after the main course as well, so save room for dessert! Because this wine’s adaptability has virtually no bounds, it’s perfect for after-dinner cheese plates and, of course, chocolate, may it come in the form of a truffle, a brownie, a molten lava cake — or even just squares from a bar. Creamy chocolate is complemented by DiNotte’s acidity, while the bitterness of dark chocolate harmonizes with its sweeter fruit and vanilla notes.
Regardless of dessert choice — or entrée, appetizer, or any other dish for that matter — remember that a meal is just a meal without the perfect wine to raise the experience. That’s because cuisine, like music, can be so varied, especially with the hearty fare of complex flavor profiles. It takes a versatile, well-rounded wine like Mezzocorona DiNotte to balance out and smooth out that intricacy in a harmonious way. So open yourself a bottle of DiNotte — whether with baked pasta, prime rib, or even chocolate cheesecake — and elevate your meal into a symphony.
Blistered Tomato and Baked Feta Pasta
- 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1 shallot, quartered
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed (optional)
- 1/2 cup EVOO, divided
- Kosher salt
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 (8-ounce) block feta
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 10 ounces pasta
- Zest of 1 lemon (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large ovenproof skillet or medium baking dish, combine tomatoes, shallot, garlic, and most of the olive oil.
- Season with salt and red pepper flakes and toss to combine.
- Place feta into center of the tomato mixture and drizzle top with remaining olive oil. Scatter thyme over tomatoes. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until tomatoes are bursting and feta is golden on top.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water before draining.
- To skillet with tomatoes and feta, add cooked pasta, reserved pasta water, and lemon zest (if using) and stir until completely combined. Garnish with basil before serving.
CAMPAIGN FINANCED ACCORDING TO EU REGULATION No. 1308/13
This article is sponsored by Mezzacorona DiNotte.