Pairing Wine with Pasta Dishes

The best advice on pairing wine with pasta is to ignore the pasta and pay attention to the sauce.

Tomato-based pasta sauces: Medium-bodied red wines

Tomato-based sauces are powerfully tasting and highly acid – and are often blended with rich, red meats. Because of the acidity in tomatoes, a relatively tart red wine with middle-weight body (like a Pinot Noir) is your best option.

Cheese pasta: Full-bodied white wine and light-bodied red wine

It’s hard to find a wine that won’t pair well with cheese. A white wine with some creaminess to it, like an oak-aged Chardonnay, is going to highlight the creaminess in the cheese. Also, floral red wines are another awesome pairing partner with tart, intense hard-cheese pasta, especially if there are mushrooms or root vegetables in the sauce.

Pesto pasta: Light-bodied white wine

While most of us are familiar with the classic pine nut and basil pesto, pesto can be any combination of greens and nuts: basil-walnut, parsley-pistachio, peanut-cilantro, hazelnut-mint, etc. The trick to matching these different pestos with wine is by simply acknowledging the green is the centerpiece of the dish. As soon as you do, whatever wine you choose should in some way be a harmonious, congruent pairing with the green. For the most part, you’ll find that herbaceous wines (like Sauvignon Blanc) are suited best.

Vegetable pasta: Light-bodied white wine

A light-bodied white wine with lemony and floral notes is a great choice to highlight the springy freshness of all the veggies.

Seafood pasta: Might-bodied white wine

Being surrounded by the Mediterranean is an essential part of coastal Italian cooking. Italian middle-weight white wines are the only choice.

Wine & Traditional Italian Dishes

Chicken and Eggplant Parmigiana: These Italian dishes are the ultimate comfort food and whether you’re eating this Italian cuisine at home or at a restaurant, you’ll want to make sure you find the right wine. You will want to go with a light and fruity white wine that’s also a bit dry.

Lasagna: Featuring creamy cheese, Tuscan herbs and tomato sauce, lasagna encompasses elements that work with both red and white wines. The rich flavors of lasagna go beautifully with red wines such as Italian Chiantis and Merlots, although if you prefer white make sure it is dry. Pinot Grigio is a common choice followed by a dry Chardonnay.