Lasagna is one of the most popular Italian dishes both in restaurants and at home. It is made from stacked layers of lasagna sheets, which alternate with fillings such as beef ragu or a vegetable mixture, and bechamel sauce.
Cheese is generally grated on the top, giving the dish a delicious creamy texture. Lasagna is perfect when it is served with a glass of wine but which wine goes best? Well, it all depends on the type of lasagna you male.
You want a wine that complements the dish and not all wines pair well with the different fillings. You won’t want to serve the same wine with a meat lasagna as with a vegetable lasagna.
If you add pesto to your lasagna or spices, you will want a bolder wine. In this article, we will take a look at the best wines to pair with the different types of lasagna.
Tips on Pairing Wine with Lasagna
You don’t want a wine that overpowers the taste of the lasagna and nor do you want the dish to overpower the wine. You want to be able to taste both the food and the wine with perfect balance.
Keep the following tips in mind.
- Choose a wine that has more acidity than the lasagna.
- Avoid wines with high tannins and aged oaked wines as the flavors will overpower the lasagna.
- Red wine is the best pairing for meat-based lasagna, while white wine pairs well with vegetable-based lasagna. However, there are exceptions to the rule.
1 – Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied, acidic red wine. It has dark fruit flavors of black cherry, blackcurrant, and blackberry, with green bell pepper, spice, and tobacco notes.
Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with a beef ragu and a tomato sauce lasagna. The bold flavors complement each other. Because the wine is acidic, it balances the rich flavor of the sauce.
2 – Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is a light to medium-bodied red wine which has bright acidity and silky tannins. It has complex flavors, including cherry, raspberry, mushroom, and forest floor.
Because this red wine is light-bodied, it can be paired with a mushroom lasagna which is unusual for red wine. It is also a good match for pesto lasagna. Because the wine is mildly acidic, light, and smooth, it doesn’t overpower the pesto flavor.
If you are having pesto, you want to taste the basil, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese to shine through. However, the wine is still bold enough to not be overpowered by the pesto.
Pinot Noir also pairs well with a lasagna that has a creamy bechamel sauce. The acidity stops the sauce from being too greasy.
3 – Primitivo
Primitivo is a bold red wine with medium levels of acidity and medium tannins. It has flavors of ripe dark berries such as blackcurrant, raspberry, and blackberry, as well as licorice and black pepper.
It pairs well with a beef ragu lasagna as it is powerful enough to stand up to the bold flavors of the dish. If the lasagna is spiced, the wine is a good choice as the peppery flavors of the wine match the spices.
You could also serve Primitivo with a vegetable lasagna with bold vegetables such as eggplant, onions, and mushrooms, in a tomato sauce. The acidity will cut through the sweetness of the tomatoes.
If you use a strongly flavored cheese in your lasagna, such as mature cheddar or even gorgonzola, Primitivo has the ability to stand up to the cheese. In fact, they are a marriage made in heaven.
4 – Merlot
Merlot has flavors of plums, black cherries, blackberries, cocoa, and herbs. It can be either light or full-bodied. Full-bodied Merlot pairs well with meat and tomato lasagna while the light-bodied versions are great matches for a lasagna made with a mushroom and bacon or pancetta ragu.
5 – Sangiovese
Sangiovese wines vary in taste depending on where they are produced. The flavors range from earthy and rustic to round and fruit-forward. However, they always exhibit cherry flavors with subtle tomato notes.
Sangiovese wines pair well with a meat and tomato ragu lasagna as they have plenty of acidity to balance the rich and somewhat sweet tomato sauce. If you add lots of garlic and a strong cheese to your lasagna, this wine has the ability to stand up to these bold flavors.
6 – Grenache
Grenache is a full-bodied wine and it has bright acidity. The flavors are fruity, with raspberry, black cherry, and strawberry dominating. You can also taste spices such as star anise, cinnamon, and black pepper.
Because of the peppery flavors in the wine, it pairs well with a heavily spiced lasagna. If you like a bit of chili in your lasagna, this is the wine for you.
Grenache is also a good accompaniment to a lasagna with an eggplant and tomato ragu. The wine complements the sweetness of the tomato sauce and lessens the bitterness of the eggplant.
7 – Zinfandel
Zinfandel has a wide range of flavors including jam, blueberry, boysenberry, cherry, plum, cranberry, licorice, and black pepper. Because it has a smokey taste, fruit aromas, and a light sweetness, it pairs well with a meat and tomato ragu.
However, look for reasonably priced Zinfandels as the more expensive ones have a solid oak flavor and a higher ABV which can dominate the lasagna.
8 – Chianti Classico
Chianti is a medium-bodied wine, with high acidity, tartness, and fruity flavors of cherry and berries. It is also earthy and has an aroma of herbs.
Lasagna can be a greasy dish but the acidity in Chianti Classico cuts through this and lessens the oily texture. Because of the smoky, earthy, fruity, and herby flavors of this wine, it pairs well with both meat and vegetable and tomato lasagnas.
It has the ability to stand up to strong flavors such as porcini mushrooms, garlic, herbs, onions, and bell peppers.
1 – Vermentino
Vermentino is a dry white wine and can be a little oily, with flavors of grapefruit and other citrus fruits, with a crushed rock minerality and salty overtones. On the finish, it has a bitter taste similar to grapefruit pith or sometimes, bitter almond.
Because of the bitter taste, it is the perfect match for cheese-heavy lasagna. It also pairs well with strong lasagna sauces such as pesto. It isn’t, however, the best choice of wine for a sweeter meat and tomato lasagna because the bitterness of the wine may dominate the tomatoes.
2 – Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc is a dry white wine with citrus flavors, especially lime, as well as green apple, passion fruit, peach, and gooseberry. It is also herbaceous, with notes of freshly cut grass and green bell peppers.
The lightness of the wine and the herby flavors pair well with a lighter lasagna made with vegetables.
3 – Riesling
Riesling offers orchard fruit flavors such as nectarine, apricot, apple, and pear. It is an acidic wine and will balance a rich cream-based lasagna with strong cheese. A good choice of lasagna is one with a porcini mushroom and cream sauce.
4 – Prosecco
Prosecco is light and fruity with medium to high acidity and fruity flavors and aromas of lemon, green apple, and pear.
Because Prosecco is slightly sweet and highly acidic, it pairs well with a classic tomato-based lasagna. However, because the tomatoes are sweet, choose a dry Prosecco.
Rose Prosecco is very dry and is a good match for a lasagna heavy on cheese as it can minimize the greasy taste you can get when you eat a lot of cheese.
5 – Chablis
Chablis is a dry white wine that has white flower and citrus aromas with flavors of citrus, pear, minerality, and saltiness. It is dry, with a certain amount of minerality and crisp acidity.
Because of the flavor of Chablis, it pairs well with vegetable lasagna. It isn’t a good match for a spicy lasagna or one with meat and a tomato sauce as these dishes would overpower the flavor of the wine.
Bellavista is a sparkling rose wine made from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Blanc. It has a fresh, savory, vanilla, and fruity aroma. It is a wine that is often served with fish as it complements the seafood taste.
You may not have thought about having a fish lasagna but it is made in Italy, often for Christmas dinner, so you will be cooking an authentic Italian dish. A good mixture of fish and seafood for your lasagna is squid, cuttlefish, sea bass, scampi, and shrimp.
This wine would also go well with a vegetable lasagna as it is not heavy, though not a meat and tomato ragu as it would overpower the wine.
We hope that you will now be able to choose the best wine to pair with your lasagna, be it meat, fish, or vegetable. In general, meat-based lasagnas match red wines while vegetable lasagnas pair with white wines.
When it comes to fish lasagna, a sparkling rose is the best choice but you could also try a dry white wine. Lasagna is such a delicious dish that it seems a shame not to enjoy it with a glass of your4 favorite wine.
Try some of our choices and see how you go. Happy eating and drinking!