Veal Marsala is Veal covered in a rich mushroom, herb, minced garlic/shallot, and Marsala wine-based sauce. In Italy, Veal Marsala is rarely served with pasta, whereas in America, you’ll tend to find it with pasta. The addition of pasta will not affect your wine pairing as pasta is neutral compared to the veal and the creamy sauce. We love light and earthy red wines that complement the mushroom flavours of Marsala sauce, such as Pinot Noir, Dolcetto and Chianti. Toasty whites that complement the nutty/vanilla flavours of the Marsala wine, like Chardonnay, are also excellent with Veal Marsala.
Pinot Noir & Veal Marsala Pairing
Similar to Lamb, Veal is from a young animal, and as such, it is extremely tender with a delicate texture and flavour. Thus, you’ll want a lighter red wine that will complement the sauce, as the Veal will inherit many of the flavours of the sauce. Pinot Noir has an earthy component that meshes well with the mushrooms used in the Marsala sauce.
The bright wild strawberry and cherry flavours of Pinot Noir are refreshing and add vibrancy to the tender veal flavours. Meanwhile, the crisp acidity of the wine ensures the tender cuts of veal are not overwhelmed by any overpowering tannin.
Chardonnay & Veal Marsala Pairing
Marsala wine used in the sauce has a nutty and vanilla flavour that is further enriched by an oaked Chardonnay that shares similar toasty notes of vanilla. Meanwhile, the tropical fruit flavours of Chardonnay, along with its crisp acidity, keeps the wine refreshing by cutting through the creamy sauce, all without overpowering the subtle and tender flavours of the veal itself.
Another fine choice is Pinot Grigio. While it lacks the toasty vanilla notes of an Oaked Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio offers a dry and crisp nature that zips right through the Marsala sauce and brings out the tender meat flavours found in the veal.
Off-Dry Marsala & Veal Marsala Pairing
As Veal Marsala is made with Marsala, it only makes sense that the most complementary pairing would be a glass of dry Marsala. Marsala is a tricky wine to find, and in my own research, many Veal Marsala recipes call for sweet Marsala. Thus, it is perfectly acceptable to use a cheaper bottle of Marsala for the cooking, such as a Fine, but then pair it with a more expensive aged and off-dry Marsala like a Superiore Riserva.
The problem with using the sweeter Marsala with your pairing is that it will compound the sweetness of your dish, whereas an Off-Dry Marsala will bring it down a notch. This allows you to taste all the wonderful flavours of your Marsala sauce. A Superiore Riserva is also aged for at least four years, allowing more flavours like morello cherry, dried fruit, honey, licorice, apple and walnut to shine through.
Dolcetto & Veal Marsala Pairing
Dolcetto is a light and juicy blackberry flavoured red wine with a medium amount of tannin. While fun and vibrant, expect a rustic edge that you’ll always find in old-world Italian reds. This rustic charm complements the herbal, garlic and mushroom flavours found in the Marsala sauce.
While I give this rating a 3.5 out of 5, I assure you will not be disappointed in this pairing. Not everyone loves Dolcetto or the rustic notes found in Italian reds. Dolcetto comes with a lot of confusing issues in that one bottle might be smooth and fruity, and another might not be as much of a crowd-pleaser as it is more earthy and harsh. Dolcetto is a wine that requires
a bit of experimentation to appreciate, thus, my review of 3.5 is more of a warning with Dolcetto if you are dipping your toe into uncharted territory.
Chianti Classico & Veal Marsala Pairing
Similar to Dolcetto, Chianti Classico is an Italian red wine with lots of acidity, but balanced with firm tannin. This tannin comes in handy when it hooks up with the Veal, softening the flavours of the wine and allowing its strawberry and cherry flavours to dance across your tongue. You’ll also find rich flavours of mulch, violet, and green olive that complement the herbal, mushroom, and garlic notes in the Marsala sauce. The smoky and spicy notes on the finish further seal the deal as it allows you to taste both the wine and the meal in one perfect marriage of harmony.
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