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Zuppa di Cipolla al Vino Rosso + Bava’s “Gionson” Nebbiolo #ItalianFWT

This month the Italian Food, Wine & Travel - #ItalianFWT - blogging group is celebrating the Nebbiolo grape. Jeff at Food Wine Click invited us to gather around the table and share thoughts of the Nebbiolo varietal 'beyond the Bs', that is beyond the traditional use in Barbaresco or Barolo.

He wrote: "So go dig up a Nebbiolo based wine other than Barbaresco or Barolo and join us. Pair it with some food, or just write about the wine. Don’t write about wine, have you been to a place where Nebbiolo is grown? Tell us about it!" You can read Jeff's invitation in its entirety: here.

The Nebbiolo Posts
The posts below will go live on Saturday, Feb. 4. Our group will get together for a chat on Twitter 10-11am that day to discuss our finds.  Join us at #ItalianFWT on Saturday morning!

For some reason I didn't catch in his original invitation that we could seek out a Nebbiolo that was produced outside of Italy. If I had noticed that, I might have poured you a Martin & Weyrich Nebbiolo out of Paso Robles. But, instead I uncorked a Nebbiolo produced in northern Piedmont - where Barbera is king! - made by the Bava Brothers.

2013 Bava "Gionson" Nebbiolo

The Bava Brothers certainly have a sense of humor. Just look at their wine's name: Gionson. They joked that they wanted a "real American name" and decided to name their wine after Johnson & Johnson Band-Aids. 'Gionson' is the phonetic pronunciation of Italian!

These grapes were harvested from the Cadodo Vineyard at the oldest estate of the Bava family, Tuffo di Cocconato. That area has been producing wine since the 17th century and is renowned for its white soil.

Light brick in the glass, I found this a little bit sparse and more savory than sweet. Its lively acidity demanded food and I opted to pair it with a rich, filling soup.

Zuppa di Cipolla al Vino Rosso

This soup hails from the same region as my wine. I generally try to post wine-pairing recipes whose culinary heritage matches the location of the vines. And this one was a hit!

  • 1 T  butter
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 6 to 7 organic red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 t freshly ground salt
  • 1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 C dry red wine
  • 6 C broth  (I used a homemade beef broth)
  • 1 C freshly grated parmesan

Melt butter in olive oil in a large souppot or Dutch oven. Add the onions and cook until they are softened and caramelized. Stir occasionally to ensure they cook evenly.

Season with the salt and pepper, then deglaze with the red wine. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Cook for 30 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, drop the grated parmesan by the tablespoon onto hot skillet. Cook until melted and crisp at the edges. You can crisp just one side or flip them over and create a cheese "cracker." I tried them both ways.

To serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls. Float the cheese crisps on the top. Serve immediately.


  1. Gorgeous food, as always! I'm laughing about the American as inspiration! That's fun.

    I'm curious about Nebbiolo from Paso Robles...thanks for the tip.

  2. How funny how they came up with their name. I haven't tried any nebbiolo outside of Italy, but after our chat yesterday it seems they demand some of the big price tags as Italian wines do.

  3. I love your recipes, you are such an artist. The wines sounds delicious, I bet it paired beautifully with the soup.


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