The dish: Buckwheat pasta, rabbit meatballs, nettles and Grana Padano cheese, $15 as an appetizer, $29 as an entrée

The wine: 2011 Cirelli Montepulciano, Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, Italy, $15 per glass, $62 per bottle

Grape varietal: Montepulciano

The pairing: This dish can certainly work well with a heavier white wine, but since we serve it both as an appetizer on the à la carte menu and as a middle course in the tasting menu, I opt for a rosé, as it also marks the transition in the meal from white, or lighter, pairings to red, or heavier, pairings.



Wine tasting notes: A medium-body rosé with a very savory palate that reminds me of umeboshi, the Japanese pickled plum. Herbal tart red fruit flavors are intermingled with gamy and mushroom-like earthy notes. It’s medium-plus in acidity and medium-minus in tannins. The color is a light rosy ruby hue.

More about the wine: It’s started in ancient clay vessels called Amphora, where the must, or unfiltered grape juice, is fermented, lending the wine a distinct texture and an earthy component that makes it less polished but very appealing.
The grape is grown organically.