Pairing advice sought - 60th B-Day Dinner

We’re cooking a birthday dinner for a friend in a couple weeks and I’m looking for the right wine pairings for the dishes.

Starter will be Polenta with Capocollo, Robiola and Ramps. Polenta squares topped with crispy capocollo and melted robiola and garnished with sauteed ramps.

Entree is Port and Red wine braised Short Ribs served over bitter greens and garlic mashed potatoes. After the meat is cooked I pour off the braising liquid from the mirepoix and reduce it for the sauce. Very rich.

Dessert will be Tiramisu

I think I have the dessert nailed with a Bedrock late harvest semillon but will take any and all suggestions.

Thanks in advance!

I’d try a Chianti Classico with a little age for the starter; followed by an older Barolo for the main course.

Really hard to think of anything better than these suggestions. I suppose you could go with a Nero d’Avola with some age for first course (at least 10 years age), and an aged Brunello for the main, but I wouldn’t suggest that those options are any better than Dick’s suggestions.

Go light on the garlic in the mashed potatoes — if any of the diners are like me, garlic will easily kill their palates. Roast the garlic before using – for the love of all that is good, do not use raw garlic in this preparation.

The only thing for sure in this world is change.
The starter has changed from the polenta app to home made flat bread pizzas. One with rosemary, olive oil and sea salt. The other with prosciutto/pancetta added. I suppose the chianti will still work but would accept other suggestions. How about a Rosé? Would that work?

Salad course is a classic caesar.

Main course is still braised short ribs. - Have a 2004 E. Pira Barolo Cannubi Chiara Boschis. Hope it’s good.

Dessert might change from the Tiramisu to Blackberry Panna Cotta.

The caveat is that the birthday girl cannot drink white wine. So the I’m forced into a late harvst zin or port with the dessert.

Thanks for your help so far!

Unless it’s warm and you are eating outside, the rosé will be a bit light. You could try a Rosso di Montalcino instead of the Chianti, but I’d go with the Chianti. Your selection for dessert sounds good. The Barolo is a bit young, but might work.

I like the rose idea you have; a rose bubbly would work very well too.

Braised short-ribs go well with a number of heartier reds so I would just pick what suits you; can’t really go wrong.

Have fun!

I’m hoping for warm. It’s two weeks away so you never know. We’ll be in Livermore CA cooking at their home. Fingers crossed. As for the Barolo, it’s what I can afford and I’m being held to a budget. Hope it shows well. I’ll bring a back-up of something Cali from my cellar as it is very Cali-centric.

Thanks guys!

For some reason I thought “Malbec” when I read the description of the main course. Lots of amazing Malbecs from Argentina with good QPR in the market these days. But you are right, any robust red would work well.


If the sauce is very sweet from the port, I would shy away from an older Barolo. I would move in to a syrah or something a little riper. If it is not sweet Barolo is right on.


The sauce does end up on the sweet side. A reduction of the braising liquid which contains a 750 of tawny port and a 750 of other red. Should I save the Barolo for something else? The last time I made this I paired it with a Pax Cuvee Keltie and thought it worked well. I have a bunch of Syrah in my cellar and could make the switch easily. Thanks George. [cheers.gif]
Anyone have anything else to add? I’ve got 2 weeks to decide.

A couple nights ago I thoroughly enjoyed an Italian Rose with some crispy thin-crust pizza with very similar toppings as those you list.