Match of the week | Scallops, nduja and Frappato

Match of the week

Scallops, nduja and Frappato

Last week I went to a wine dinner hosted by the Sicilian wine producer Donnafugata at Luca in London. They’re best known for their fabulous passito di Pantelleria dessert wine, Ben Ryé, but in fact it was the cleverly partnered dry wines that stole the show.

I’m picking - with some difficulty - as my match of the week a dish of scallops with the 2017 Bell’Assai Frappato, a charming light graceful red from the Vittoria region. What clinched the match - although it could probably have stood up on its own - was the nduja (spicy Calabrian sausage) purée and nutty Jerusalem artichokes that went with it.

I also loved the bold pairing of a white wine - the Vigna di Gabri - a blend of the local ansonica and catarratto with chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and viognier - with a pasta course of rigatoni with braised lamb and olives (lamb and white wine can work surprisingly well) and the pitch perfect match of the dark savoury 2014 Mille e Una Notte (nero d’avola, petit verdot and syrah) with a dish of ox cheek, caponata and grilled radicchio. The bitterness of the radicchio with the sweetness of the ox cheek was an inspired combination.

Oddly the Ben Ryé (we drank the 2015 vintage) went best with a bergamot sorbet rather than the Sicilian lemon tart for which it didn’t have quite enough acidity but all in all a really impressive hit rate. Good work, Luca!

Incidentally I drank the Frappato again yesterday with a dish of chicken chermoula to which it stood up equally well so it can obviously take a fair bit of spice. It’s just gone on sale in Oddbins at £28 although an online company called Tannico seems to have it for £19.70. Incidentally they recommend you drink it cool at 14°-16°C.

For other scallop matches see Top Wine Pairings with Scallops

I attended the dinner as a guest of Donnafugata and Liberty Wines.

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