Originally Published: February 8, 2016

The Italian Wine & Food Pairing Class is a 6-course dinner hosted by an Italian Master Sommelier, Marco Lori. The dinner is a unique way to explore the marriage between food and wine: what are the characteristics about food and wine that make them either a match made in heaven or a one-time kiss and goodbye? I recently took this unique wine tasting dinner in Rome, and rounded up the top 10 things I learned…

  1. Certifications: There are only around 50 Master Sommeliers in Italy and Marco Lori is one of them. He has the title of Sommelier Executive Wine Master, a certification that takes over 5 years to obtain!
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You didn’t think you got to drink ALL the wine on a wine tasting, did you?!
  1. Age-worthy: Humans started making wine over 8,000 years ago, but it didn’t always taste so good. Ancient Romans used to add water to their wine to dilute it because the taste was so tart.
  1. Upfront and uncomplicated: There are over 1,200 grapes that grow indigenous to Italy, but only a handful of them make it out of the country. While in Italy, order something off the wine list that you’ve never heard of before. You might find your new favorite bottle!
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With so many different types of wine, you’re sure to find your favorite in Italy.
  1. Viva Italia!: All of Italy’s 20 regions produce wine. Italy is currently the world’s largest wine producer, with production levels higher than France!
  1. What’s in a name?: Chianti is an area in Tuscany, not a grape. The grape grown in Chianti is called Sangiovese, which is a popular grape grown all over Tuscany. Sangiovese is also grown in Montepulciano, a town in the south of Tuscany. However, Montepulciano is also a grape that is typically grown in the region of Abruzzo… this stuff can get complicated.
  1. The perfect pairing: In Italy, we have many rules about food, but we’re not so strict when it comes to pairing it with wine. Yet there is one pairing that will always apply: red sauces are best with red wine and white sauces always with white wine.
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Red sauce and red wine.
  1. Rosé all the way: There are actually foods that are impossible to pair with wine such as sour pickles and artichokes. When in doubt, a rosé is a good bet.
  1. Corky character: Pecorino is not just a tasty, salty cheese used in many pasta dishes, but also a type of wine. The wine was named pecorino because the sheep (pecora) are known to eat the grapes used to make the wine.
  1. More bubbles please!: Prosecco recently surpassed Champagne in production numbers, and Italy produces and sells approximately 400 million bottles of Prosecco a year.
  1. Well-balanced: When combining food and wine you are looking to enhance both the food and wine, not to cover up one or the other. Your goal is to make the perfect fusion between the two, resulting in an extraordinary experience.
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Food and wine should be perfectly combined.

Want to experience perfect pairings for yourself? Join our Italian Wine & Food Pairing Class in Rome for an unforgettable evening!

For more incredible Italian wine facts, look no further than our illustrated guide…

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