Emilia-Romagna, and its capital, Bologna, is one of the great food regions of the world, but, the fact is, no one really knows the history of the international mega-dish that is Spaghetti Bolognese.
There are many differently made ragu's (meat sauce's) from the different region's of Italy and none are quite the same as Britain's (2nd) favourite Italian dish.
It should also be noted that a ragu from Bologna would be served with tagliatelle and most certainly not spaghetti!
However, the dish has become so wildly popular around the world that the people of Bologna are learning to accept it as part of their culinary heritage, even though, it isn't. It is great for marketing their hometown, however!
As everyone seems to have a different way of making their Bolognese sauce (more tomato, less tomato, pork, bacon, mushrooms etc etc), there are many options for pairing with wine, but we at 9 Elms Wines believe the following three are great. We are looking for wines with great acidity, and a medium to full body:
Classic: Tomaso Gianolio Barbera d'Alba Superiore - A classic from Piedmont and a family run winery that has been producing since 1930. It has notes of dried berries, savoury Italian spice and a little more weight. This gem is one for the meatier Bolognese recipes being fuller and juicier with the capacity to stand up to the stronger flavours of this type of sauce.
Sommelier's Choice: Capannelle Chianti Classico Riserva - Capannelle is a wonderful producer based in the village of Gaiole, and they use only the traditional Sangiovese grape in the production of their Chianti. It's a full flavoured wine that has everything you want for this match. A herby, dark cherry fruit complexity, outstanding length, and great acidity balance the richness of the ragu.
The Wild Card: Navigator Lodi Zinfandel - Although this wine is from California, Zinfandel is actually the same grape as Primitivo which is famously grown in southern Italy. It is sweeter and richer than the other two but still with a freshness that would make this a great match. The characteristic spice, pepper and jammy fruit balance the dish beautifully. For those of you who like a bigger style of red wine, this is the choice for you.