Wine pairing with mushroom risotto

I make a lot of risotto’s but struggle with a wine pairing.

Its a big hearty dish that i also add goats cheese to for extra creaminess, the problem is it doesnt seem to work with a big red, the pairing is to much. Ive tried some sharper whites and thats not bad but still not right.

I think the best thing would a lighter more acidic red, not my usual style so im looking for some suggestions. Its a casual dish for me so only want a basic $15-25 bottle, nothing to fancy.

Any other options welcome, i know that a bubbly would work with the creaminess but i only like bubbly if its good and that is not really around at this price point

NEBBIOLO, in any way, shape or form! Barbera d’Asti a distant, but excellent, second choice…

I might consider an aged bordeaux from a less ripe year - something with those tertiary characteristics of forest floor, mushrooms, earth… As for price a petit chateau.

You got it right to start with! Forget the Barbera.

Agree with nebbiolo. Also consider a cold vintage Oregon pinot.

and match

Nebbiolo is a no-brainer. But I’ve also had dolcetto with this dish, and it has been an excellent pairing. I could also see Rossese di Dolceacqua being a good match.

Depending on the goat cheese, I could see that potentially causing problems. Some goat cheeses are too acidic against a red wine. You might try just Parmesan and see if that makes the matching easier.Alternatively, try a little Gorgonzola Dolce – barely a tablespoon per serving. That gives creaminess and a little bite to the risotto but isn’t so powerful as to scare off wines.

With mushrooms and just Parmesan, I think a cabernet, young or old, would also work well.

My thought exactly. Of course, I hate goat cheese, so that probably colors my opinion. I usually finish my risotto with parmesean or romano or asiago or gouda or some combination thereof. With such a preparation, I’ve found that pretty much any rustic red will work well.

We had a dinner with Chateau Climens and Brane-Cantenac last night, and one of the courses was risotto with 2001 Brane. I thought it was an interesting pairing.

I certainly use a little parmesan to finish. but the target is little enough that you can only just taste it. If the goats cheese is very strong, then I’d be looking to Loire, probably something with some age on it. It might also be fun to try a white hermitage, but I’ve no idea if that would work having never tried those flavours together.

As others have pointed out, Mr. Klapp nailed it.

By the way, John, your Gorgonzola Dolce idea is making me hungry. If you have a recipe you’d be willing to share, I’d be super appreciative of a PM.

For three servings, I use a sauce pan that’s about 8" across and has 1 1/2" sides. You want a reasonable amount of surface area or the stock won’t reduce as much.

  1. Heat up some good chicken stock until it is simmering but not boiling. (Zabar’s here in NYC has a really thick stock, obviously made with bones. Avoid stocks with a lot of spices, as you will be reducing the stock and these could come to dominate the flavor. Whole Foods’ stock in the waxed cardboard cartons is pretty good, too, though not as thick as Zabar’s. Swanson’s in cans will work if you can’t find anything else.)
  2. Saute some diced onion in butter and/or olive oil (maybe one small onion for a cup of rice).
  3. Remove the onion from the pan, add a little butter and oil and warm up.
  4. Put in one cup of arborio or other risotto rice and stir in the butter and oil to coat.
  5. Turn up the heat under the pan a bit and splash in ~1/2 cup of dry white wine, ideally one with good acidity (cheap French and Italian wines typically do). Stir the rice in that, reduce the wine and then lower the heat. (Coating the rice with the fat and then cooking in a thin, acidic liquid helps thicken the final risotto, as I recall.)
  6. Ladle in enough hot stock to slightly more than cover the rice and adjust the heat so it’s just slightly bubbling. Stir a bit.
  7. Keep ladling as the stock is reduced so the rice is always just covered. Stir every couple of minutes.
  8. Many recipes say to cook the rice for 17-18 minutes. I used to find that a good guideline but now find it typically takes more than 20 minutes. It will vary with the humidity (hence the dryness of the rice), the shape of the pan (hence the reduction rate of the stock). Test for texture. It should be slightly al dente – not mushy.
  9. Have some grated Parmesan ready: 4-6 tablespoons for a cup of rice.
  10. When the rice is almost done and you’re almost ready to turn off the burner, stir in the Parmesan thoroughly, then 3 tablespoons of Gorgonzola Dolce. It should turn to cream almost immediately. Turn off the burner (and if your stove is electric, take the pot off the burner).

For a bit of color, you can sprinkle chopped chives or parsley. Or I sometimes slice some raddichio and add that ~3 minutes before the end. (Any longer and it will turn gray.)

This will yield two ample servings of a rich risotto and leave one portion leftover.

I find the slight bitterness of the soft, young blue cheese is a good foil for tannic wines like nebbiolo.

I do not necessarily disagree with any of the cheese ideas expressed here, but if you have a top-notch rice (Carnaroli, for instance), rich stock and some good mushrooms, why would you consider adding anything other than a dusting of parmigiano? The rice itself should provide all the creaminess that you could want, if cooked properly. The cheese can mask the mushrooms and possibly do the wine no favors…

This might be heathenistic, but I find risotto made in my pressure cooker is about 85% as good as risotto made the officially correct way. It also tends to work a touch better if one is using dried porcinis or other dried mushrooms.

And its much easier, if one is accustomed the quirks of cooking under high pressure. I’m the only one in my household/family that is comfortable with it. Everyone else is suspicious, because of an unfortunate split pea soup accident in a different era. The technology, seals, release valves etc. are much better now, so its perfectly safe as long as you pay attention.

Very good point that all folks who frequently make risotto should take to heart.

Just my opinion, of course, but I don’t think risotto is worth making if you’re not shooting for that upper 15%. And if you’re not going to include cheese, as implicitly recommended by Bill, then you should really be shooting for the top 2%. Properly done, risotto can be one of the most wonderful dishes. flirtysmile

I’d heard that.



I made a mushroom risotto about a month ago (minimal gran padano) that paired well with a 1998 Vieux Telegraphe. I think Cotes du Rhone in general do well here.