Veal Marsala pairs best with light and earthy red wines such as Pinot Noir, Beaujolais Villages, Dolcetto and Chianti. A toasty Chardonnay with some nuttiness and vanilla flavours is also excellent with Veal Marsala.
Veal Marsala is a Veal cutlet smothered in a rich mushroom, herb, minced garlic/shallot, sautéed onions, and Marsala wine-based sauce. Mushrooms give the Marsala sauce an earthy flavour, while the herbs, garlic and sautéed onions add earthiness, subtle sweetness and a fresh bright taste to the dish.
Best Wine with Veal Marsala
Pinot Noir & Veal Marsala Pairing
Coming from an young animal, Veal is quite tender with a delicate flavour and texture. Thus, lighter red wines, such as Pinot Noir are a must, as a heavier red, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz pairing, will obliterate the Veal flavours. Furthermore, Pinot Noir is medium to high in acidity, which cuts through the gravy-like richness and creamy Marsala sauce, and heightens the delicate flavours of the Veal.
Bright with flavours of strawberry, cherry and raspberry, Pinot Noir is loved by many for its truffle, mushroom and earthy notes. These barnyard and forest floor notes complement the earthiness of the Veal Marsala sauce, while the silky smooth red fruit flavours of the wine offer a refreshing contrast.
Oaked Chardonnay & Veal Marsala Pairing
The Marsala wine used in the sauce has a nutty, vanilla flavour that is complemented by an oaked Chardonnay pairing with toasty vanilla undertones. Meanwhile, Chardonnay’s tropical fruit, apple, peach, pear and citrus flavours, combined with its crisp acidity, keep the wine fresh by cutting through the creamy sauce without dominating the Veal’s subtle and soft flavours.
Off-Dry Marsala & Veal Marsala Pairing
Because Veal Marsala is cooked using Marsala, a glass of dry Marsala would be the most appropriate accompaniment. Marsala is a difficult wine to come by, and many Veal Marsala recipes call for sweet Marsala. As a result, it’s completely okay to cook with a less expensive Marsala, such as a Fine, and then pair it with a more expensive aged and off-dry Marsala, such as a Superiore Riserva.
The issue with using a sweeter Marsala with your paring is that it will increase the sweetness of your dish, whilst an Off-Dry Marsala will reduce it. The pairing of an Off-Dry Marsala helps you fully appreciate all of the flavours in your Marsala sauce. A Superiore Riserva is matured for at least four years, and this sharpens the delicious flavours of morello cherry, dried apricot, honey, smoke, apple, and almond.
Chianti & Veal Marsala Pairing
Chianti Classico is an Italian red wine is balanced with high acidity and firm tannin. Medium in body, Chianti might be a touch too much for Veal Marsala which is why I rank it a 3.5 out of 5, however, it will still remain a delicious pairing.
The tannin in Chianti Classico is soft, meaning it is ready to drink thus, it’s not a bossy red wine. The tannin also helps to further break down protein molecules, and this allows the Veal to taste even more tender. Meanwhile, the high acidity of Chianti cuts through the gravy-like richness of the Marsala sauce.
Chunky, with large pieces of onion and mushroom, Chianti is right at home as it delivers a rustic edge of smoke, earth spice, and herbs that complement the earthiness of the Marsala sauce. Meanwhile, the vibrant flavours of black cherry, strawberry and plum serve up a vibrant contrast, keeping you refreshed with every bite of Veal Marsala
Dolcetto & Veal Marsala Pairing
Dolcetto is a light and silky red wine with medium acidity and tannin. Featuring juicy flavours of cherry, raspberry and plum, Dolcetto also has an earthy characteristic that complements the mushroom-based Marsala Sauce. Additional notes of Chocolate, licorice, smoke and herbs ensure this red wine complements the rustic notes of garlic, onions and herbs in the Marsala sauce.
While I give this rating a 3.5 out of 5, I assure you will not be disappointed in this pairing. Not everyone loves Italian red wines as they have a rustic quality that doesn’t jive with our North American tastes. Furthermore, old-world wines are confusing to people who are new to wine, and they are often produced to express the landscape it was produced in. Thus, you might buy one bottle that is smooth and fruity, making it a crowd-pleaser. Meanwhile, another bottle could be much more earthier and bitter with licorice and herbal notes.
Thus, for a large banquet in North America and serving Veal Marsala, I’d stay away from Dolcetto and opt for a Beaujolais-Villages (which has a similar price point – but is less rustic and thus a bigger crowd-pleaser). However, if you are enjoying Veal Marsala at home – try it with Dolcetto! If you find a bottle you love, you won’t be disappointed.