As Neven takes a trip to Italy this week, it’s an obvious assumption that I would hitch a ride.

When it comes to food and wine pairing, the Italians don’t need to travel far because vines grow in harmony with the local foods making it a perfect match.

This week, it’s all about vines – the wines vines, but also the tomato vines – because this ingredient shines through in both recipes.

In particular, we’ll be paying attention to the acidity because we want to match the acidity in the tomatoes with acidity in the wine for balance.

I suggest kicking off the evening with a nice light Italian rosé. It’s so food friendly but also a great apéritif to welcome guests anytime of year.

It really comes into its own with Neven’s three tomato and mozzarella salad. There is a beautiful sweetness in the three varieties of tomatoes – the yellow and red cherry tomatoes and the vine-ripened tomatoes but also, lots of acidity.

Remember to always pair acidity with acidity. And with a dish like this, with high acidity, you want your wine to be equal or higher in acidity or else it will just make the wine taste bitter or flat.

You also want is to be nice and fresh to match the freshness of the salad.

Our main course also has a tomato-based sauce and when you cook those tomatoes, they take on a different depth of flavour which becomes more suited to red wines. But you still want the acidity in the tomatoes to pair with a good acidic red wine and Chianti is a classic combination.

This Tuscan wine has to (by law) be made with 80% of the Sangiovese grape and as well as its high acidity, it has a smoky, spicy profile that will complement the traditional rustic red sauce but also cut through the creaminess of the white sauce. In fact, if you have the bottle open, you could throw in a splash with the passata while its cooking.

La Prendina Estate, Pinot Grigio

Marks & Spencer, €10.50

La Prendina Estate pinot grigio.

First we’re heading to northern Italy and this pinot grigio has all the characteristics that we want to pair with our tomato and mozzarella salad. It’s delightfully fresh and crisp with good acidity. Lovely and light, it has notes of pear, for some sweetness as well as dried herbs but also has a touch of lemon. This citrus flavour means it hits the right note for the acidity. An elegant and balanced wine that is also a great welcome drink. Similarly it can be enjoyed chilled on its own as an apértif.

11 Minutes

O’Brien Wines, €18.95

11 Minutes.

Some people just aren’t red wine drinkers and although it is the classic combination with the cannelloni, I wanted a rosé with a bit more body that could potentially carry you through the meal. 11 Minutes is a very elegant wine with bright, fresh strawberry and raspberry flavours. However, the Trebbiano grape within this blend adds a bit of spice while the Caménére adds some structure. So it has a bit more oomph for richer dishes.

Chianti Classico DOCG Campomaggio

Simply Better at Dunnes Stores, €12

Chianti Classico DOCG Campomaggio.

You could go for a playful young Chianti but both my red wine suggestions are a little bolder. Chianti Classico must be aged for one year in oak casks and this maturation leads to full-bodied tasty wine but it isn’t overpowering. The fruit flavours that shine through – cherry, strawberry and blackberry are nice and ripe with a hint of balsamic giving it that zippy acidity. It is then complemented by really silky smooth tannins which give it this lingering finish. Very good for its price point.

2016 Corte alle Mura Chianti Riserva

Lidl, €9.99

2016 Corte alle Mura Chianti Riserva.

A Riserva is an even bigger wine as it is aged for a minimum of two years. This wine would work well with steak or game but because its blackcurrant flavours are still quite soft and ripe, its lighter than most Riservas. So it will pair with the cannelloni while simultaneously suiting the person who enjoys a satisfying red. The oak aging gives those classic vanilla notes and it has a real rustic feel. Smooth and easy to drink with good acidity, it would also work with a nice cheeseboard after your meal.