Wines to Pair with Scrumptious Sicilian Arancini
The simple perfection of the crisp, warm arancino has turned it into one of Sicily’s most loved street foods. Known likewise as arancino, arancina or even arànciu depending on the area, arancini (plural) are pure heaven with their savory hot fillings, warm sticky rice, and crunchy breaded outside. Their modest beginnings come from medieval times when rice was filled, breaded and fried as way of creating food that lasted and was easy to transport. In fact, the arancino was a typical provision brought on journeys and even into battle by soldiers. Today it’s most likely served with aperitifs or as a snack. Traditionally filled with ragù or with béchamel and ham, arancini are a food chefs love to experiment with, and menus round the world offer variations of the arancino - plumped with mushrooms, bacon, eggplant, octopus, pistachio, ricotta, or even with simple lemon and parmigiano.
Scrumptious eaten alone, these warm delights are elevated when paired with a good glass of wine. Sensorial analyst Luca Maroni has a few good suggestions, such as a Piemonte Doc Rosso Fuori Catalogo 2018 Montalbera which makes for an excellent choice. This autochthonous wine from the north of Italy actually risked extinction until it was rediscovered by a parish priest in Castagnole Monferrato in the 1970s. “Compliments to Montalbera- Terra del Ruché,” notes Maroni who describes this wine as having hints of woody spice, sweet balsam and a long fruity headiness. “The duo of blackberry and vanilla make the Montalbera- Terra del Ruché a perfect pleasure.”
Certainly, another great pairing for arancini, noted by Maroni, is a Lambrusco, a semi-sparkling red wine which ranges from dry to barely sweet, which is made from a selection of grape varieties native to the Emilia-Romagna region. Try a 15.0 Mèstor Lambrusco Oinòe. Its concentration of violet cherry notes pairs nicely with the savory richness of freshly made, crunchy, hot arancini. Cheers!