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I am going to write more about wine pairing in future blogs. But to cut to the chase there is a simple rule to help you make a decision. Ignore the age-old advice on colour and think about body instead. What sort of food you will be eating? Will it have delicate flavours, such as an omelette or a salad or a shellfish dish? If so think about lightness of body in your wine choice, say a white like a Sauvignon Blanc or a red like a Pinot Noir. If on the other hand you’re running up a beef casserole or grilling a steak then go for something more robust like a Syrah.

In the blog post Saint Elisabetta of Montenidoli I talked about the estate’s Canaiulo 2016 Rosé that can be found at OAK N4. This is a delicately flavoured and delicious wine that has a savoury finish. Made from 100% red-stemmed Canaiolo grapes with the aromas of white grapes and the richness of red grapes, the wine is bottled as soon as the sugars have fermented to maintain its freshness.

While this rosé lends itself to an aperitif setting it is also a perfect match for this food pairing from the Montenidoli Estate’s website: Black Risotto with Coprino Mushrooms. It is also an interesting example of how Italians still eat regional food. In the days of the horse and cart you couldn’t get fish more than a few miles from the sea because it would spoil. Yet the tradition of eating local still persists. You can’t dismiss this purely as parochiality. We Brits buy beans in the supermarket flown in from Kenya the night before, what does that say about us? Food for thought, indeed.

At Montenidoli we often think of our beloved Venice, her Lagoon, and her superb fish dishes, in particular, risotto al nero di seppia, blackened by cuttlefish ink and with glistening white strips of fish. Montenidoli is far from the sea, and as we thought of our Venetian favourite it occurred to us that we might match it with a country variant, risotto with the ‘ink’ of coprini mushrooms.

Coprini mushrooms sprout in spring and fall at Montenidoli, and we find them among our vines. When coprini are young they’re firm and white; when the caps open, the lamellae become black and frayed. They’re little known in Italy, but are very tasty and work beautifully in risotti, where the older caps supply the black that contrasts with the glistening white of the stalks and the younger caps.

This mushroom can be found plentifully around the home counties and is known as the Shaggy Ink Cap or Lawyer’s Wig. Coprinus Comatus is best eaten before the cap fully develops. But, please do be careful when collecting – and eating – wild mushrooms. If in any doubt ask an expert or simply buy from your local supermarket. I don’t want to lose any of my readers!

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