Recently I've been making a spaghetti dish where wine is the protagonist. The cooking of the spaghetti is finished in a sauce (whose cooking already started, too) made with red wine, oil, garlic and chilli pepper, so that they absorb much of it. When they're done, I add black olives and soft-texture cheese with an intense taste, not salted and slightly bitter, and mix up. Finally, the whole thing goes in the plate where minced pistachio nuts are waiting.

I've come to the conclusion that I prefer a fortfied wine in here. Moreover, due to the pistachio nuts, I want a sweet aftertaste, but at the same time it should match the spicy flavour given by other ingredients. What are my European choices? I'd prefer cheap enough suggestions (maximum around 10 euros a bottle) but more complete overviews are welcome.

You can see here the cheese at issue. Instead the wine I've used so far is Rosso Gasperini (yes, I know this isn't fortified, the thing is I believe a fortified one would fare better).

  • Hi, and welcome! What wine are you using in your sauce? Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 13:50
  • Also, the cheese, can you tell us a bit more, please. Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 13:52
  • winefolly.com/tutorial/10-darkest-full-bodied-red-wines try this site for starters to your question. Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 13:54
  • @dougal: Thank you. I've added some links. Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 14:30
  • Hi am thinking about the slightly bitter taste that the cheese gives - but beforehand, do you think that the bitterness and the lack of salt is an issue. Great info by the way - interesting articles. Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 16:49

2 Answers 2


Please allow me to recommend a nice red classic Italian wine called Chianti.

From this Wine and Cheese Pairing Guide we can see that Chianti is paired well to the Pecorino Romano Cheese and nuts. I know that you are using a Columella's Caciofiore cheese that is "considered a sort of "ancestor" of the Roman pecorino cheese, prepared with rennet based on cardoon."

Columella's Caciofiore can be considered a sort of "ancestor" of the Roman Pecorino Cheese, prepared with rennet based on cardoon. Columella talks about this cheese in his treatise "De Rustica": "It is better to curdle the milk with lamb or kid rennet, although it is also possible to curdle it with the cardoon flower or with safflower seeds or fig latex. Anyway, the best cheese is made with as less treatment as possible". (Lucio Giunio Moderato Columella, "De Rustica", 50 AD). Today, in the Roman Countryside, "native country" of the cardoon and the artichoke, some producers still use the cardoon flower as rennet and prepare raw milk pecorino cheese with an ancient taste.

The Chianti red wine could be substituted with a Sangiovese red wine.

If the olives or spices are over powering the taste of your dish you may wish to use a Merlot Wine.

If it is a fortified wine you are after, would like to recommend a fortified Madeira Wine.

Fortified wines, like port, sherry and Madeira, also go very well with rich cheeses. A classic match is English Stilton and port, but other blue cheeses also taste lovely alongside a glass of sweet, flavourful port. - Pairing red wine with cheese.

  • Thanks! Indeed I have used a Chianti, fantastic. However, under suggestion of this Italian site I used a Gasperini and I appreciated the result. Though, I would like to go for a liquorous wine now, which will be even better, in my opinion. Do you have some in mind? Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 16:23
  • @VincenzoOliva How exactly do you define a liquorous red wine: a fortified red wine, a red wine mixed with a liqueur or liquor or something else?
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 16:37
  • Oops, I see that maybe the use of the word differs from Italian to English. Yeah, fortified red wine. Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 16:49
  • How is Chianti and Sangiovese an answer to this question? They are not fortified. Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 23:22
  • @SteveS. Read the complete answer.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 23:32

The only answer would be an aged Madeira or Port. I think either would be an excellent accompaniment to the foods are your choosing. Make sure they are fairly old. 10+ years old at least. The older the better...

Best wine I ever had was a 1780s Madeira. Each bottle alone was over $10,000 and a glass at the restaurant was $1000. I know the restaurant owner and he let me have a taste. It was sublime!

  • I think the question was about the wine as an ingredient, not an accompaniment.
    – David
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 16:32
  • Either way... he asked about FORTIFIED wine not a regular wine Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 16:34
  • Sure - but as an ingredient, I really don't think "the older the better" applies at all, and actually cooking a rare wine should probably be a shooting offense ;)
    – David
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 16:37

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