Pasta with Aubergines and Two Italian Reds

The pasta sauce appears very simple with few constituents and not too much effort in the cooking, but the result is a remarkably powerful and complex flavour. The simplicity means that every ingredient counts, especially the aubergines, tomatoes, a lot of garlic and a carefully calibrated shot of chilli. If your intended consumers don’t like garlic, don’t compromise, cook something entirely different.

This was obviously an excuse for some Italian wines and we tried two.

Bricco Rosso Suagna 2007 is 13.5% and £6.50 from the Wine Society. It comes from Piedmont and is a seriously structured wine – a blend of grapes (unspecified), raised in oak and aged. It is a powerful but civilised mouthful. We liked it a lot despite a hint of jamminess (to which we are very sensitive). Very Good Value

La Ferla Nero d’Avola 2009 fromSicily is something I should have tried by now, but had never got round to. It is 13% alcohol and costs £6.25. The ‘nero’ leads you to expect darkness and depth, in fact it’s fruity and rather light – on a par with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, perhaps a party wine. It is smooth and fruity with only limited structure, little in the way of obvious tannins but with just enough acidity. For us this is ‘easy drinking’ rather than a food wine, but clean honest stuff that would probably do well with plainer tomato sauces.

But the winner here by a large margin was the Bricco Rosso, partly for its inherent qualities, but also because it was better matched to the quite assertive tastes of the sauce.

What is the significance of the very tall, narrow labels? Just the current Italian fashion, perhaps.

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