Saltimbocca served with Risotto alla Milanese from Ristorante Lorenzini in BernSaltimbocca served with Risotto alla Milanese from Ristorante Lorenzini in Bern

What to drink with Risotto alla Milanese?

Saltimbocca with saffron risotto: This classic pairing harbours a few pitfalls when it comes to choosing a wine. Let us show you how to pick the right one.

First, we need to talk about side dishes, which are often overlooked. You may have carefully selected a wine to accompany the star of the evening, typically a piece of meat or fish, only for this supposed ideal match to turn out a total misfit, causing spinach to feel horribly furry on the tongue, making asparagus taste bitter or clashing with the artichokes. What a pity!

This is why it is worth considering the «contorni» before choosing the wine. A common example: Saltimbocca di vitello, veal cutlets with cured ham and sage, a simple, delicate and flavoursome trio. When it comes to wine, it is quite uncomplicated and pairs well with almost any red. However, Italians like to serve it with a creamy Risotto alla Milanese, which is scented with saffron. This significantly complicates the wine selection process.

Saffron is derived from the pistils of a special type of crocus which are roasted over a gas or wood fire. The resulting spice has a unique, pungent aroma. It’s truly delicious, until it meets the wrong wine. As a general rule, when selecting a red wine to pair with a saffron dish, opt for one that is rounder and smoother. Avoid wines with high tannin content, as they can create disharmony on the palate and leave a harsh, metallic aftertaste. Instead, choose smooth, well-balanced wines of the kind that abound in Italy: a Merlot-based cuvée from Tuscany, for example, a Chianti classico, a Syrah with plenty of fruit and body, or an all-rounder like Barbera. Feel free to try a white wine too: Aromatic varieties such as a Gewürztraminer from South Tyrol make for an exciting pairing. With these pairings, Saltimbocca will happily embrace its destiny.

«Saltimbocca di vitello, veal escalope with cured ham and sage, goes best with a versatile Italian.»

Signature Pierre FesseletSignature Pierre Fesselet
Pierre Fesselet, Customer Advisor Field SalesPierre Fesselet, Customer Advisor Field Sales

Pierre Fesselet
Customer Advisor Field Sales

A modern Sardinian

«I love Sardinia! The island is ideal for enjoying an extended summer, whether in spring or autumn. Montessu exemplifies the pinnacle of what Sardinian wine can achieve at this point in time. A contemporary wine with notes of berries, spicy and smooth, which goes beautifully with the aromatic sage-spiked veal cutlets.»

A rare Piemontese

«A revelation from my last trip to Piedmont, crafted from Albarossa, a local grape variety. With its deep colour and rounded body, this wine possesses the necessary intensity to complement the distinctive aroma of sage, and its lively acidity truly makes the saffron shine.»

Tuscan revelation

«The small DOC of Cortona in southern Tuscany is renowned as a bastion of Syrah production. The Rhone Valley grape variety thrives magnificently here, as demonstrated by this Antinori wine. Thanks to its rich aromas, balanced acidity and rounded body, it makes for the perfect pairing with the Roman classic.»