July 21, 2022 by Arden Montgomery
Best Wine for Carpaccio
Belissima! Who doesn’t love a delicate savory slice paired with the perfect glass of your favorite wine? The art of charcuterie is all the rage right now, and it’s just a matter of time before the masses catch on to the porcine production’s meatier cousin, carpaccio.
Italian in origin, this delicate but toothsome dish was absolutely designed with wine pairing in mind – perfect for a picnic on the green, an evening event, or a particularly precious treat to grace your coffee table for a night at home. Let’s dive in.
What the heck is carpaccio?
We’re guessing that if you found your way here you already know how to navigate around a platter of carpaccio. Or maybe you were tasked with bringing a bottle to your friend’s soiree where this di fantasia sounding dish is to be the crown jewel of the potluck spread. Either way, it’s good to be up on your culinary comprehension, especially if you want to make a good wine pairing. So here’s a little refresher.
Carpaccio first emerged in 1963 after its Venetian invention at the hands of restaurateur Giuseppe Cipriani. Typically eaten as an appetizer, carpaccio is most commonly composed of thin slices of red meat or fish served raw with a drizzle each of lemon juice, olive oil, S&P, and perhaps a bit of parmesan or truffle.
Here’s a fun piece of trivia: the dish carpaccio was named after Renaissance-era painter Vittore Carpaccio, whose use of muted reds and soft whites evoked a visceral sense of meatiness in his religious paintings.
Contemporary carpaccio preparations often see the slices served with bitter greens such as arugula, and topped with walnuts and feta cheese beneath the obligatory EVOO, salt, and pepper. You will also see vegetarian and vegan interpretations of the classic dish including zucchini, eggplant, and cucumber carpaccio.
Best wine for carpaccio
Because modern carpaccio may feature a wide array of bases, what wine you reach for should be whether it’s fish, meat, or veg making up the main element of your dish.
A seafood carpaccio such as octopus, tuna, or salmon is best paired with light, fruity reds like Pinot Noir. If you prefer white, dryer varieties including Sauvignon Blanc should be your go-to.
A beef, veal, or venison carpaccio prefers a deeper red that will stand up to its savoriness. Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignons are generally recommended. On the lighter side of things, Chardonnays and rich sparkling wines will do the trick.
Of course, the most important thing is that you like the wine you’re drinking, and that you think it goes well with your carpaccio preparation of choice. Here are a few of our favorites.
- 2020 Norris Ribbon Ridge Dry Riesling – $35
This is one of our favorites here at Argaux – a uniquely dry riesling with a fresh, floral, and fruity flavor that’s wonderfully refreshing and best of all sustainably farmed. A perfect pair for carpaccio no matter the base, this Oregon Willamette Valley wine is thematically matched as well. Oregonian Riesling crops first took root in the 1960s, right around when carpaccio was making its own debut. We think a classic beef carpaccio with arugula is this wine’s ideal mate.
- 2021 Origin Santa Cruz Mountains Rosé – $32
A positively divine Syrah Rosé grown responsibly and with love in the coastal mountains of central California. Santa Cruz and the surrounding county have a history rich with farming, fishing, and craft culinary traditions that magically match this viticultural terroir with your carpaccio of choice. Try it with this salmon carpaccio with asparagus and artichoke.
- NV Gaston Chiquet Champagne Brut ‘Tradition’ (half-bottle) – $34
From women winemakers at the Gaston Chiquet vineyards comes this classic pink champagne fronting stone fruit, apple, and vanilla with each smooth and creamy sip. The Brut beauty is strictly a seafood-only pair when it comes to carpaccio platters. With this bottle in hand, octopus, oysters, and ahi carpaccio are definitely on the menu.
- 2018 Chateau des Antonins AOC Bordeaux Supérieur La Réserve du Couvent – $60
Bright red and bold, the Cab Sauv-dominant Bordeaux may be decanted the moment it reaches your doorstep for a hearty experience, or sequestered away until 2032 when you may enjoy its aged and velvety tannins. Best sipped alongside a complementary red dish, this might be the bottle you reach for when a venison carpaccio is on the table.
- 2019 Francois Carillon Bourgogne Chardonnay – $30
If you are a fan of cheese-heavy carpaccio preparations, this is the wine for you. Typically recommended for pizza, pasta, and other bready-cheesy fare, this classic Chardonnay carries its own notes of citrus salinity and buttery brioche that set it up for fame with formaggio. A friend to fish as well, try this wine with octopus carpaccio with parmesan.
- 2013 Le Ragnaie Brunello di Montalcino DOCG – $89
A deep, floral and savory wine, Le Ragnaie comes to us from the homeland of carpaccio itself, promising an authentic experience between each bite. Fruity flavors that are introduced by an aroma of cured meat in the nose, this wine brings its own body to the table and can perk up any veggie-based dish you desire – like this mushroom and arugula carpaccio. Traditionalists however will be equally delighted by pairing this aged Italian bottle with a classic beef carpaccio preparation.
Feeling overwhelmed? No worries. Argaux offers a range of gifts, services, and individual bottles from small-batch wineries to suit any palate – even if you don’t know what you like yet.
If you’re more about vision than varietal, check out our Natural Wine Tasting Set or our Women in Wine tasting set to see what can happen when ladies take the lead in the wine world.
Learn what soil’s got to do with it with our Old World vs. New World tasting set, or travel kits including ‘Gaux to California, Italy, and Champagne.
If you’re just getting started on your viticultural journey, ask about our Blind Tasting Kit that teaches you how to taste wine while you’re tasting it!
And if you need a special recommendation, hit up our Pocket Somm for a personalized shopping experience, whatever your needs may be.