Editor's Note: In the spirit of this month's issue, columnist Angela Ortmann is pairing wines and beers with Italian dishes around town. Check out the previous columns in this series here.


La Gra Italian Wine Bar's Flash-Fried Stuffed Olives, $10.99

We often categorize foods by their flavor profiles, such as salty, sweet and bitter. These key tastes become essential when choosing a wine pairing. The combination of warm Sicilian olives and Gorgonzola in this Italian small plate possesses powerful flavors and textures to play off for wine pairings.


Leonard Kruesch Riesling, Germany, $7 by the glass

Salty and pungent by nature, both Gorgonzola and olives beg for a wine with a touch of sugar. The mild to moderate sweetness of a Riesling delicately balances the stark palate of the dish. Slight herbal qualities in the wine also highlight the inherent earthiness of the food as well.

Coastal Vines Pinot Grigio, Italy, $6 by the glass

Have you heard the saying, "simple is better?" Nothing could be truer when matching food and wine. It’s the best approach when working with a forcefully flavored dish such as this. Easy-sipping Pinot Grigio is a natural fit with clean flavors of juicy white peach and mouthwatering acidity.

Navarro Lopez Old Vine Crianza Tempranillo, Spain, $7 by the glass

Taking to the reds, I knew a rustic, full-bodied wine would stand out. It is important to choose one that still has a substantial amount of ripe fruit, too. This Tempranillo provides the best of both worlds. Featuring dark fruit layered with earth and spice, this red adds a touch of silkiness to the dish while still allowing the tenacious flavored of the Gorgonzola-stuffed olives to shine through.

La Gra Italian Wine Bar & Tapas, 1227 Tammy Ave., Dogtown, ilovelagra.com

STLwinegirl Angela Ortmann gained a passion for all things epicurean by working in the luxury restaurants and hotels of St. Louis and San Francisco. Through her event and consultation business, she is dedicated to enhancing your food and wine experience.