Wine Pairings for the Bestia Menu

While it is true that an Italian origin can be traced to just about everything on the Bestia menu, lighter Mediterranean influence permeates throughout. Chef’s food is layered and balanced and the dishes range from subtle to powerful.

Pairing wine with the food at Bestia doesn’t need to be complicated, but it should be noted (upon interest) that the same progressive streak that marks the menu also dots the wine-list.  Our Wine Director Ryan Ibsen and his team are working to chip away at preconceived notions about what will pair the best.

Here are some of the pairings that many are surprised to learn work best with some of Bestia’s most loved dishes…



Roasted marrow gets mixed into a buttery, slightly herbaceous spinach gnocchetti and is finished with crispy breadcrumbs and aged balsamic.

Most often, the Roasted Bone Marrow seems to conjure the need for red wine, when in fact it is a dish that is begging to be cut by a fresh, savory white wine. The decadence of this dish works best with plenty of acidity, just enough sweetness to work with the balsamic, and a savory nature that highlights the subtlety of the gnocchetti itself. The wine that Ibsen reaches for most often with this dish is Bernhard Ott’s Gruner Veltliner ‘Der Ott’ from the Wachau region in Austria.



Mussels & Clams. Made with an intense but balanced spicy Nduja sausage. Fennel seed and preserved lemon (amongst other aspects) bring something powerful and lingering to the table.

Anybody who has had an opportunity to experience Bestia’s Mussels and Clams knows that it is not a dish for the faint of heart. The optimal pairing here is going to be served well chilled, have plenty of fresh, light, airy acidity and just a lick of residual sugar to swing back at all the spice. Most often the wine team at Bestia reaches for Kofererhof’s Kerner from the Valle Isarco in the Italian Alps or any number of classical Riesling Kabinetts from Germany.



Lamb Neck covered with a lemony, vinegary salsa verde and accompanied with a fresh, minty salad.


No one would be wrong to suggest that red wine is often the most suitable pairing for lamb. Our lamb neck, however, is a very bright dish, and its origins are arguably from further east than Italy. But, because it’s still lamb (!), you’ll want a wine that helps approach the earthy, tender character of the meat while not contradicting other aspects of the dish. Ibsen recommends a full, dark, dry rosé that is still fresh around the edges –  an “almost red wine” like Torre dei Beatti’s Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, a montepulciano-based rosato from Umbria that keeps the overall whole in balance.



The Bittersweet Chocolate Budino Tart is perhaps Bestia’s most beloved end-of-meal ritual, which may not be entirely fair to the other five or six delights on offer at any given time.


When it stands alone on the table, Ibsen says that Quinta do Infantado’s Twenty-Year-Old Tawny is a virtual show-stopper of a wine pairing. It’s lean, elegant and balanced, and much like Genevieve’s dessert, it toes the line in terms of never going overboard on richness or sweetness, all the while mirroring the flavor of the dish beautifully. The Budino seldom sits alone and it’s often ordered side by side with slightly subtler desserts. When this is the case, the wine team likes to pour a Vin Santo from Lucignano in Chianti, which has all of the nutty, tawny character of the port but with a less powerful golden, honeyed nature that bends to both the tart and whatever else is on the table.


Our Wine Director, Ryan Ibsen.

The ultimate goal of Bestia’s wine program is to compliment and work with the food, rather than overpower it. There are far fewer slam-dunk Barolo and Brunello pairings than many would (understandably) expect. While there is always something for everyone, the hope is that you will open your mind to pairings that may initially seem less than typical, because they might just lead to a surprising or ultimately experience-enhancing event.