Earthy medium-bodied red wines, such as Pinot Noir, Barbera, Ripasso Valpolicella, and Barbaresco, pair best with Mushroom Risotto due to their rustic and complementary flavours. Meanwhile, full-bodied whites like Chardonnay complement the creamy texture of Mushroom Risotto while adding a splash of refreshment to this classic Italian dish.
Pinot Noir is a lighter-bodied red wine that typically has a lower tannin content than other red wines. This makes it a great match for the earthy, umami flavours of mushroom risotto, which can be overwhelmed by a more robust wine.
Pinot Noir has a complex flavour profile where you’ll immediately notice red and black cherry, raspberry and wild strawberry flavours, followed up with notes of forest floor, spice, and earthiness. The silky fruit flavours serve up a refreshing balance against the savoury flavours of mushroom risotto. The earthier flavours complement the rich, savoury flavours of mushroom risotto, creating a harmonious pairing.
Additionally, Pinot Noir has a refreshing acidity that helps cut through the risotto’s richness and refreshes the palate between bites. Mushroom Risotto is full of butter, olive oil, parmesan cheese, salt and carbohydrates which can clog up your taste buds. The velvety and rich fruit flavours, along with the acidity of Pinot Noir, rips through the creamy fats of Pinot Noir, allowing each bite of your Mushroom Risotto to taste as flavourful as the first.
Finally, the texture of Pinot Noir is also a good match for mushroom risotto. It has a silky-smooth mouthfeel and light tannins, which complement the creamy texture of the risotto.
Barbaresco & Mushroom Risotto Pairing
Barbaresco is a red wine from the Piedmont region in northern Italy. It is made from the Nebbiolo grape and is known for its elegant and complex flavour profile.
With proper maturity, Barbaresco features a lush bouquet of black cherries, crushed red fruit, violet and roses. Meanwhile, you also get notes of tobacco, white truffles, smoke espresso, licorice and tar. The earthy flavours of the mushroom risotto complement the rich, dark fruit flavours of the Barbaresco wine.
Barbaresco is expensive and full-bodied, so to maximize the value of the pairing, I suggest pairing the wine, where Mushroom Risotto is a side dish with something meaty, such as grilled steak, rabbit stew or a roast goose. The addition of a heavy meat dish to your Mushroom Risotto will soften the tannin in a younger Barbaresco, preventing it from overwhelming the softer flavours of your Mushroom Risotto.
Barbera & Mushroom Risotto Pairing
Barbera is a straightforward, juicy and light (to medium) weight red that is versatile due to its higher acidity and lower tannin content. Fruity and tangy, Barbera has a plummy cherry richness with a herbal rustic Italian charm.
The acidity of Barbera, along with its fruity flavours of cherry, raisin, plum and raspberry, helps to cut through the rich, creamy texture of the risotto, refreshing the palate between bites. Meanwhile, the earthier flavours of mushroom, herbs, spice, minerals, black pepper and smoke of Barbera complement the earthy flavours of the mushrooms in the dish.
For a delicious and spunky red wine, Barbera is inexpensive, and the creamy texture and earthy nature of Mushroom Risotto, along with its salt content, will sharpen the wine’s flavour allowing it to taste even more grand and velvety.
Oloroso Sherry & Mushroom Risotto Pairing
Oloroso Sherry is a fortified wine that is produced in the Jerez region of Spain. It is known for its nutty, caramelized flavours and full-bodied texture, which makes it an excellent pairing with mushroom risotto.
The nutty and caramelized flavours in Oloroso Sherry complement the earthy flavours of the mushrooms in the risotto. The wine’s full-bodied texture pairs well with the creamy texture of the risotto, creating a rich and indulgent pairing. The dryness of Oloroso Sherry also balances the creaminess of the risotto, making it a perfect match.
Meanwhile, the nutty flavours of walnut and almond in Sherry complement the parmesan cheese in many Risotto recipes. You’ll also find notes of mushrooms and smoke, which further complement this dish. In contrast, the dark fruit notes of raisins, dates and figs, along with hints of maple syrup, chocolate, molasses and burnt sugar, add a touch of complexity to this pairing.
Finally, Oloroso Sherry’s high alcohol content makes it a great wine to pair with rich and savoury dishes such as mushroom risotto. Its high alcohol content helps cut through the dish’s richness, refreshing the palate between bites.
White Burgundy & Mushroom Risotto Pairing
White Burgundy is a Chardonnay produced in the Burgundy region of France. Unlike the popular Chardonnay sold to the masses, Burgundy does not follow consumer tastes trends; rather, it relies on tradition and expressing the terroir.
With White Burgundy, you’ll often find a creaminess that mirrors the texture of Mushroom Risotto. You’ll also find balanced notes of vanilla, toast, apple, almond, and pear that won’t overpower the dish.
While I am recommending Burgundy, I also recognize it is expensive and unsuitable for everyone’s budget. In reality, Chardonnay from any region will be great with Mushroom Risotto, provided you find a Chardonnay that is of good quality and not overly oaked to the point where it smells like rancid popcorn.