Eggplant Parmesan, or Eggplant alla Parmigiana, is a breaded strip of Eggplant that is often pan-fried then buried beneath oozing cheese and tangy tomato sauce. Incredibly flavourful, Eggplant Parmesan beckons for acidic and juicy red wines like Primitivo, Zinfandel, Barbera or Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.
Primitivo & Eggplant alla Parmigiana Pairing
Primitivo is an Italian red wine that is essentially made from the Zinfandel grape. While not as rich or jammy as a California Zinfandel, Primitivo is an easy drinking red with warm flavours of plum and dried cherries. Due to the lack of tannin, it’s perfect for anything based in tomato sauce, such as Eggplant alla Parmigiana, as tannin heavy reds taste flat when served with tomato sauce.
Primitivo’s syrupy texture also smoothes out the eggplants bitterness, which makes this pairing even more enjoyable. Finally, the acidic kiss of Primitivo is able to zip past the gooey cheese and deep-fried breading that coat your tongue. This brightens up the flavours with each bite, meaning you taste both the wine and the food on the finish.
Barbera & Eggplant Parmesan Pairing
Barbera is a light Italian red, loaded with acidity, and light in tannin and alcohol. Similar to Primitivo, the same principles of pairing an acidic red with an acidic tomato sauce apply here as well. Barbera’s acidity works with the tomato sauce and brings forth a desirable flair from this classic comfort dish. Barbera also has that classic Italian rustic charm of herbal notes, which complement any green herbs you may have added to your Eggplant Parmesan sauce.
Cariñena & Eggplant Parmesan Pairing
Cariñena is a medium-bodied red plush with red fruit flavours of raspberry and cranberry, along with and baking spice notes of cinnamon and star anise. If you enjoy Zinfandel or Merlot, you’ll enjoy the smooth flavours of Cariñena, which come across as lighter versions of these classic red wines. Although, with Cariñena, you do get a savoury smoke and cured meat flavour that makes it exceptional with rich and hearty dishes.
As Cariñena is low in tannin, you don’t have a bitter wine, so it helps smooth out those bitter notes found in Eggplant Parmesan. We also love how the dried herb and baking spice notes blend so well with any herbs in your Eggplant Parmesan sauce. Meanwhile, the savoury smoke flavours add an incredible amount of additional flavour to the sauce, cheese and Eggplant, giving everything a mesmerizing fire-roasted allure.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo & Eggplant Parmigiana Pairing
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is an Italian red wine that features black fruit flavours and smoky-sweet finish. Medium in body, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo has enough heft to handle the weight of Eggplant Parmigiana. This silky red wine is also smooth, meaning it’s acidic enough to go up against a tart tomato sauce without tasting like a tin can.
Relatively inexpensive, a glass of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo goes a long way when paired at the dinner table with Eggplant Parmigiana. Bright in acidity, this Italian red cuts right through the heaps of cheese and breading that is baked on your Eggplant. Thanks to its dark ripe berry flavours and notes of plum, the wine offers a nice contrast to the dense flavours of Eggplant Parmesan. Meanwhile, the smoky, herbal and tobacco notes on the finish make for a satisfying ending when combined with a mouthful of this delicious dish.
Sauvignon Blanc & Eggplant Parmesan Pairing
Whites pair with Eggplant Parmesan too, particularly a grassy and herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc that will complement a zesty tomato sauce baked onto your eggplant. With its brisk acidity, Sauvignon Blanc keeps your mouth refreshed, when normally it would be exhausted from the bombardment of cheese, fried breading and meaty eggplant flavours. I wouldn’t consider a Sauvignon-Blanc full-bodied (unless oaked), but Sauvignon Blanc has enough personality to stand up to the weight of Eggplant Parmesan.
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