Gnocchi and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Food Pairing

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is one of Italy’s most famous wines. The Montepulciano grapes are grown in the Abruzzo region and are not to be confused with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which is Sangiovese base from Tuscany.


WineCollective recently featured Caldora Montepulciano d’Abruzzo in our June Evolution Red and June Expansion packages. It proved to be exactly what the Italian’s praise in the variety with its classic and well-rounded taste that is easy to drink for an excellent price. At select retail stores, the bottle goes for $16.00 and WineCollective is pleased to offer it for $14.00 to club members.

Here are our tasting notes for the 2011 Caldora Montepulciano d’Abruzzo:

Eyes: Ruby red to purple, regal purple.

Nose: Pronounced nose, fruity and chocolate similar to a tootsie roll with red berries and vanilla.

Mouth: Montepulciano makes soft, deeply coloured wines with black fruit and spice notes. Montepulciano in general has moderate to low acidity, with smooth and soft tannins. Medium to almost full bodied, this has great balance with wild black cherry fruit, plum, and anise. There’s good concentration in the mouth, fine, seamless texture, excellent length of finish and relatively easy tannins. 90 points.


In our review, we recommended that your pair the wine alongside a pork tenderloin and creamy polenta. However, recently, I decided to pair the Montepulciano with gnocchi (Italian potato dumplings) in a tomato-cream sauce. The Italian wine pairs perfectly with Italian tomato pasta dishes and even more so with a creamy addition and sweet flavours. Enjoy our recipe below for both gnocchi and a loaded tomato-cream sauce. Be sure to let us know how you enjoyed the pairing and what might be your new favourite Italian wine.


Gnocchi Recipe 

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Note: Typically prepare 1 potato per person and 1/2C flour per potato.

  1. Clean and peel potatoes before cutting into 1-inch cubes. Cut pieces consistently to ensure even cooking time.
  2. Put chopped potatoes into medium sized pot and fit with enough water to cover. Boil for around 20 minutes until potatoes are tender.Gnocchi-4
  3. Drain potatoes and mash. Allow to cool completely. Wet or 
    warm potatoes will not absorb flour as nicely.
  4. Place flour onto counter working space and create a large hole in the center where you can put the potatoes.
  5. Create another hole in potatoes for egg and add salt.
  6. Use a fork to start bringing Gnocchi-10 ogether ingredients. Once dough begins to form, knead in as much flour as necessary. Too much flour will result in hard dumplings.
  7. Cut dough into sections that you can further roll into long ropes. Cut 1-inch squares from ropes.
  8. Use a fork to make ribs in each gnocchi. Place on a floured baking sheet for up to 45 minutes until ready to cook.
  9. To cook: Boil a medium sized pot of water and add a pinch of salt. Place gnocchi inside and cook until the gnocchi floats to the top (4-5 minutes). Remove will slotted spoon and toss them into sauce to cook together for 2 minutes.

Sauce Recipe

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Note: Chicken or Chourizo both work wonderfully with this sauce and gnocchi. Pan grill and add to sauce after cream.

  1. Warm up olive oil in large skillet. Add onions and tomato puree after onions turn golden brown. Ensure your stove is on low to medium heat.
  2. Grate or chop two cloves of garlic into the sauce as well as 1 full clove. Mix in tomato paste and a touch of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine. Stir well and let it sit for a few minutes.
  3. In the meantime, slice zucchini and tomatoes into desired size and then add to sauce. Do the same with half of a piquillo pepper. These peppers are an excellent blend of spicy and sweet. Perfect for Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.
  4. Let sauce and zucchini cook before slowly stirring in cream which will allow the sauce to quickly thicken.
  5. Throw in cilantro and parsley as well as salt and pepper just before adding the prepared gnocchi. Top with your favourite Italian cheese; try romano, asiago or parmigiano.


WineCollective would love to hear about your food and wine pairings for both the Montepulciano and any other wine we deliver to your front door! Leave us a comment and share some superb pairings with your fellow WC members! Bon appetite!