The Best Wine and Pasta Dish Combinations

White wine goes with fish, red wine with meat. I used to follow this principle when buying wine. But then I decided to study the question of what wine goes better with this or that pasta, and I found the answers. I am sharing them with you. After all, even the famous French or Italian wines paired with an inappropriate sauce have all chances to seem very mediocre.

Pasta is simply a canvas for serving the accompanying ingredients. There’s nothing better than a delicious pasta dish with a glass of chilled wine. To enhance the experience of the dish, the pasta should be served with wine that complements the flavor of the sauce. Red tomato sauces, thick and creamy white sauces, pesto – the wine you pair them with will take them to the next level.

The best advice for pairing wine with pasta is to ignore the pasta and pay attention to the sauce. Pasta is just a “canvas” to convey the accompanying ingredients and flavors.

Not an expert at matching wine to pasta? Not a problem. Here I’ll tell you everything you need to know about pairing wine with pasta. But let’s agree right away. I’m not claiming that the following are the only correct wine combinations. These are just options and examples that many people like and are accepted in most wine to pasta pairings. But there is only one 100% way to know which wine is best – open the bottles and start sampling the pasta. Enjoy.

Wine and Pasta Combinations

This guide presents a variety of Italian pasta dishes and the types of wine that go with them. Although these suggestions bring out the best flavor of each dish, feel free to experiment and find a pairing that you like best. Let’s take a look at a few wine and pasta pairing options.

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The Best Wine and Pasta Dish Combinations on photo
Wine and Pasta Combinations infographic

πŸ… Wine to tomato-based pasta dishes

What wine goes well with pasta with tomato sauce:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon,
  • Zinfandel,
  • Grenache,
  • Merlot,
  • Sangiovese,
  • Rosso di Montalcino.

Tomato-based sauces are highly acidic and often pair with rich red meats. Since pasta dishes with tomato sauce are acidic, it’s best to pair them with a medium strength red wine. Wine that does not match the acidity of the sauce will make it taste bland. An example of the ideal red wine for tomato sauce would be cabernet sauvignon or zinfandel.

πŸ§€ Wine to cheese-based pasta dishes (including a wine that goes with pasta carbonara)

What wine goes well with pasta and cheese:

  • Chardonnay,
  • Riesling,
  • Pinot Noir,
  • Sangiovese,
  • Pinot Bianco

Almost any wine pairs well with cheese, so the options for pairing it with cheesy pasta dishes are endless. But to give you an idea of what will complement the cheese, we can say that a good light white wine, such as Chardonnay, will perfectly accentuate the creaminess of the cheese.

Pasta carbonara is a very filling dish, so it’s better to choose a refreshing wine. Valpolicella with its bittersweet cherry flavour and refreshing finish is ideal for this dish. Lighter red wines, such as Pinot Noir, are also ideal. It pairs well with pasta with hard cheeses (including Parmesan), such as Spaghetti Carbonara.

Also, light, floral red wines are another great partner to pair with tart, rich hard cheese pasta, especially if the sauce includes mushrooms or vegetables with rich flavors.

🍀 Wine for seafood pasta dishes

What wine goes well with pasta and seafood

  • Pinot Grigio,
  • Grenache Blanc,
  • RosΓ©,
  • Chardonnay Verdicchio,
  • Muscadet,
  • Chablis.

Many classic Italian recipes often contain anchovies, clams or other seafood. The Mediterranean setting is an integral part of Italian cuisine on the coast. Perhaps this is why Italians produce such delightful white wines with high acidity, often with a refreshing bitterness. Naturally, mild to medium white wines are appropriate for most seafood-based pastas, as long as they don’t have tomatoes in them. If the sauce has tomatoes in it, then you should consider Rosato (rosato – Italian rose wine).

If we’re talking about dishes with calamari or spaghetti with shrimp – white wines of medium density go well with such dishes. In order not to overpower the freshness and flavor of the seafood they usually pair the dish with a dry white wine, for example Pinot Grigio.

🌱 Wine to dishes with pasta pesto sauce

What wine pairs well with pasta with pesto sauce:

  • Verdicchio,
  • Soave,
  • Gavi,
  • Merlot,
  • Sangiovese,
  • Teroldego

Light to medium-temperature white wines pair well with most dishes with pesto sauce. The main element of these dishes is herbs: parsley, cilantro, mint, basil. So dry wines such as Verdicchio, Soave, or Gavi complement the earthiness and “greenness” of the pesto sauce.

For red pesto, choose a medium-bodied red wine such as Merlot or Sangiovese.

πŸ₯• Wine to a vegetable pasta dish or meatless pasta (Vegetarian Pasta)

Which wine pairs well with meatless vegetable pasta:

  • Soave,
  • Sauvignon Blanc,
  • Chardonnay.

Who doesn’t love a pasta primavera dish with fresh vegetables? To accentuate the freshness of the vegetables and enhance their flavor, choose a dry and floral white wine, such as Soave or Sauvignon Blanc.

🌢️ Wine to spicy pasta dishes

Which wine pairs well with spicy pasta:

  • Asti,
  • Lambrusco,
  • Reisling,
  • Zinfandel,
  • Vouvray.

The wrong wine paired with spicy food can overpower a dish and ruin its flavor. That’s why you should pair pasta with spicy sauces like arrabbiata, aglio olio e pepperoncino and puttanesca with the right wine. You can choose a dry white wine like Reisling or a light red like Zinfandel.

What to keep in mind before choosing a wine to go with the pasta on this list

I have shown some wine recommendations. Of course, since wine is such a subjective thing, the final choice will always be up to you and your personal tastes. Write in the comments which wine you prefer to choose with your pasta. I would appreciate your feedback.

Remember – Excessive alcohol consumption is bad for your health. Drink wine in moderation.

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