Friday, April 3, 2020

Stracotto di Manzo al Vino Rosso + Brachetto d'Acqui #ItalianFWT

Cindy of Grape Experiences is hosting this month's #ItalianFWT bloggers. You can read her invitation here. She's asked us to focus on Brachetto d'Acqui. If you're reading this early enough, feel free to join us for a live Twitter chat on Saturday, April 4th at 8am Pacific time. Follow the hashtag #ItalianFWT and be sure to use it if you chime in so that we can see what you're tweeting. In the meantime, here are the posts that will be live between Friday, April 3rd and early Saturday, April 4th. Cin cin...

Stracotto di Manzo al Vino Rosso 
+ Brachetto d'Acqui

I decided to push the envelope a little bit and pair a slow-braised meat with a sweeter sparkling wine: Stracotto di Manzo al Vino Rosso +Brachetto d'Acqui. I thought that the decidedly piquant garlic in the meat would counter the sweetness of the Brachetto d'Acqui. However, the two wine-drinkers at my table - that'd be me and Jake - were split down the middle.

I liked it; he gave me a little nose wrinkle when I asked him what he thought. But he happily poured himself another glass as we ate cookies and played board games with the boys. This shelter-in-place order has been good for lots of family time around the table!

In My Glass

I have shared a Brachetto d'Acqui once before - back in June 2017 - when I poured the Braida di Giacomo Bologna Brachetto d'Acqui DOCG 2014 and paired it for a dinner from start to finish: salumi platter to gelato! Beyond that, my experience with the wine is extremely limited.

So, I aimed to counter the sweetness of the wine with the garlicky-goodness of the meat. I was only partially successful. Jake didn't care for the pairing. Oh, well...I liked it!

A little bit about the grape...Brachetto originates from the Piemonte region of northern Italy though it is known as the Braquet grape of southern France where along with Cinsault, it makes some nice Rosés around the Côte d'Azur.

A little bit about the winemakers...Marenco dates back to the early 20th century when patriarch Michele dreamed of planting a vineyard in the heart of the Bagnario Valley. Giuseppe, Michele's son, gradually acquired land and selected indigenous grape varieties to cultivate. Guiseppe built his winery in the center of Stevi, near the train station, so he could send his wines directly to his customers. 

Today, Giuseppe's daughters, Michaela - along with her husband Dr. Giovanni Costa -, Patrizia, and Doretta continue the family business with enthusiasm and dedication. The three women personally supervise and every step of the production process - from grape to glass.

This wine - Marenco's Pineto Brachetto d'Acqui - has a light ruby color that leans more pink than red. It's sweet on the nose and the tongue with heavy aromas of roses and vanilla in the foam. Low in alcohol with delicate bubbles, this wine is easy to drink.

On My Plate

Stracotto di Manzo al Vino Rosso is essentially an Italian pot roast where the chuck roast marinated overnight in red wine, then braised for hours.


  • 2 pound roast (I used a chuck roast)
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 4 T olive oil, divided
  • 1 C diced carrots
  • 1 C diced celery
  • 5 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 4 to 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 C beef stock
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper


Heat 2 T olive oil in a large pot. Add the carrots and celery and cook until the carrots are fork tender. Add in the garlic and red wine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced by a third. Let the mixture cool completely.

Season the roast with salt and pepper, on both sides, then place it in a lidded container. Pour the cooled wine over the meat to marinate. Let the meat marinate overnight, turning every 6 hours or so.

When you're ready to cook, heat 2 T olive oil in a large lidded pot or a Dutch oven. Remove the meat from the marinade and cook to give it a nice sear, approximately 2 to 3 minutes on all sides. Once it's nicely browned, place it flat in the pot and pour the marinade and all the veggies into the pot on top of the meat. Pour in beef stock and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and let the meat braise for 3 to 4 hours. Turn the meat over every hour or so while it cooks. Before serving, remove the pot from the heat and let the meat rest for 15 to 20 minutes before slicing.

I served the Stracotto di Manzo al Vino Rosso with some braised beans and a baby kale salad.


  1. Hmm...I've been wanting to explore savoury with this wine...glad to read of your experiences. BTW, Braida's brachetto is stellar!

  2. Different palates like different things, right?!? Be interesting to see if instead of doing the plate like this, cook the meat the same and top with a savory berry/fruit sauce, cherries for instance. Would it bridge the meat and wine... maybe I'll try it.

  3. I love that you are open to trying new pairings. I have been thinking about what savory dish Brachetto might work with. Stracotto sounded good. Maybe something with cumin, curry, tumeric? What do you think?

  4. I think perhaps an dish with Asian spices would be better suited to this wine. Perhaps one with a little heat to it? This bottle seems to have been a popular choice this month.

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  6. I went sweet with the Marenco Brachetto d'Acqui, but applaud your courage to try savory. It's all about experimenting - now more than ever!

  7. Was thinking the same as Wendy -- maybe something a little spicy, or potentially something with a hint of sweet like BBQ might be better? I'm now curious to play with this in a more savory context too, although pairing it with cookies and board games sounds like a great time!

  8. I'm with Jake on this one. I've tried a variety of sweet wines at the dinner table and I've never been happy with the results. Apertif or dessert, yes!

  9. Gotta love an Italian pot roast with a glass of Brachetto - way to go with the "thinking out of the box" idea! Cheers!