Which Wines Pair With Pasta?

Pasta is a popular choice whether eating in or going to a restaurant. There are many types of pasta and pasta sauces and a variety of drinks you can have with a pasta dish.

Wine is one of the most popular choices, but there are many pasta sauces, and not every wine goes with every sauce. In this article, we will take a look at wine and pasta pairings.

Introduction to Pasta and Wine

Pasta is native to Italy and wine is usually enjoyed with the dish in this country. However, you don’t pair the wine with the type of pasta but with the sauce.

To get the best pairing, the flavors of the wine need to complement the sauces and not overpower them. Let’s look at the different sauces and the ideal wine pairings.

Which Wines Pairs with Marinara Sauce?

Marinara sauce is one of the simplest pasta sauces. It is made from tomatoes, garlic, herbs such as basil or oregano, and onions. Sometimes, capers, olives, and wine are added. 

Pasta with marinara sauce is best served with red wines, particularly with dry red wine. One of the best choices is Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a full-bodied wine with rich tannins, fruit flavors, and high acidity.

Cooking tomatoes reduces the acidity of the tomatoes and brings out the sweeter flavors, so the dish needs an acidic wine for balance. Other good choices are Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, and Malbec.

If you dislike red wine, pair pasta marinara with an acidic white wine such as dry Riesling, Pinot Grigio, or Sauvignon Blanc. Without the acidity, the dish will be bland. 

Don’t choose a sweet wine, whether it is red or white. With the sweetness of the tomatoes, you will have too much sweetness for a savory dish.

Which Wine Pairs with Pasta Puttanesca?

Puttanesca sauce has intense flavors. It is made from onions, garlic, chili flakes, canned tomatoes, anchovies, black olives, and capers.

It pairs best with acidic and earthy red wines such as Pinot Noir, Chianti Classico, Primitivo, Beaujolais Cru, Barbera, and Nero d’Avolo. The acidity balances the saltiness of the capers, anchovies, and olives.

It is more difficult to pair white wine with puttanesca sauce. Because the sauce is rich, you need a white wine with a broad flavor to be able to stand up to the dish otherwise the wine will taste bland.

Italian Falanghina has enough flavors to stand up to the sauce. It is herbal, stone-fruit centered, and has a bit of smokiness. A crisp and herbal Verdejo from Spain also pairs well. The acidity of the wine gives freshness to the dish and balances the saltiness.

The tomato leaf aromas of the wine go well with the tomato in the sauce. 

Which Wine Pairs with Arrabiata Pasta?

Arrabiata sauce is rich and spicy. It is made simply from garlic, tomatoes, and dried red chili peppers, cooked in olive oil. The best wines to pair it with are crisp white wines with high acidity, such as Vermentino, Pinot Grigio, Gavi. and Verdicchio.

The acidity balances the heat from the chilis. These wines bring out the flavor of the tomato sauce without overwhelming it. The light, citrus flavors match the spiciness of the sauce. 

A dry rose wine or a light red, such as Sangiovese, Chianti, Valpolicella, or Dolcetto will also pair well.

Sometimes, meat can be added to this sauce and in this case, you could drink a heavier red wine with the dish. Barbera and Zinfandel are good choices. The tannins in these wines will cut through the richness of the meat sauce and complement the spices. 

Which Wine Pairs with Spaghetti Carbonara?

Spaghetti Carbonara is a popular pasta dish. The sauce is made from Pancetta, Pecorino cheese, Parmigiano cheese, eggs, garlic, and butter. The best wines to pair with this pasta dish are fruity red wines such as Montepulciano, Barbera, Chianti Classico, and Pinot Noir.

They are able to cut through the creamy white sauce without overwhelming the pancetta, cheese, or butter. 

If you prefer to drink white wine, choose a full-bodied wine such as an oaked Chardonnay. Viognier, or Muscat. If you choose a light-bodied white wine, the richness of the sauce will overpower the wine.

The more acidic the wine, the better, as it mitigates the fatness in the sauce. The Italian white wines Frascati Superiore, Cannellino di Frascati, and Bellone are also good choices.  

The sparkling wine, Cava, is also a good choice as the bubbles will degrease the sauce and balance the sweetness. Prosecco, however, isn’t such a good choice as it is too light and would be dominated by the richness of the sauce.

Which Wine Pairs with Clam Pasta?

The sauce for clam pasta is made from clams, shallots, garlic, white wine, red pepper flakes, and parsley. 

As with most seafood, white wine is the best choice. As clams are briny, wines with lots of minerality and a little earthiness are best. Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio, which are acidic, pair well. Dry roses will also work, such as Bardolino and Cotes de Provence.

The acidity helps cut through the richness of the sauce, particularly if you have added cream to it. Wines, like Riesling, with a touch of sweetness, can help to balance the briny flavors of the clams.

Which Wine Pairs with Aglio e Olio Pasta?

This pasta originated in Naples and is a simple recipe with just four ingredients, pasta, olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes.

The intensity of the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes are complemented by a refreshing dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc. You could also pair it with a light red wine such as Chianti, Primitivo, or Sangiovese.

Don’t pair it with a full-bodied red wine as it will overpower the flavors of the pasta.

Which Wine Pairs with Spaghetti Bolognese?

This is probably one of the best-known pasta dishes and a great favorite among many. The sauce is thick, meat-based, and full of juicy tomatoes. The meat used is usually beef mince. Beef generally pairs with red wine, and this is the case with spaghetti Bolognese.

Wines with high acidity and powerful tannins, such as Chianti Classico, are good choices. The tannins break down the fattiness of the meat and the acidity cleanses the palate.

Alternative choices include Merlot, Malbec, Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, Nero d’Avola, Vinsobres, Barolo, and Dolcetto.

White wine doesn’t usually pair well with beef but if you don’t like red wine, you can choose a full-bodied white wine to pair with your Bolognese such as an oaked Chardonnay.

The buttery notes will soften the spiciness of the dish and bring out its creaminess. Pinot Grigio has a citrus-like quality that is perfect because it can help to cut through the heaviness of the sauce.

Which Wine Pairs with Pomodoro Pasta?

Pasta Pomodoro is another tomato-based sauce made with olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic, basil, and fresh tomatoes. Because fresh tomatoes are used rather than canned, the dish is light. 

A white wine with a reasonable amount of acidity, such as Pinot Grigio or Verdicchio is a good choice as the acidity balances the sweetness of the tomatoes. 

If you prefer red wine, choose an Italian wine as they are usually high in acidity. Nebbiolo and Sangiovese are good choices. 

If you decide to use a lot of basil, both in the sauce and sprinkled on top, serve a light-bodied red wine such as Pinot Noir so that the wine doesn’t overpower the herbaceous flavors of the sauce. 

Which Wine Pairs with Pesto Pasta? 

Pesto sauce is made by crushing basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and Parmigiano cheese in a food processor. 

Because of the strong herb element to the sauce, pair the dish with a herb-driven wine such as Sauvignon Blanc, Vermentino, or Catarratto. However, the oakiness of Chardonnay won’t work well with the complex flavors of the pesto sauce. 

If you prefer red wine, avoid tannic, full-bodied, and fruity wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Choose a herbal red like Cabernet Franc which has enough green notes to complement the basil in the sauce. 

Which Wine Pairs Well with Alfredo Pasta?

Alfredo pasta is a rich dish made with butter, milk, heavy cream, and Parmigiano cheese. Sometimes, chicken is added.

If you do add chicken to the dish, the best choice of wine is Chardonnay as it brings out the buttery flavor of the meat. Pinot Grigio is a good choice whether or not you add chicken. Its flavors of lemon, lime, honeysuckle, and green apple blast in between bites of the creamy sauce.

Other choices include white Burgundy, Blanc Fumo, Pinot Grigio, and Soave.

Which Wine Pairs Well with Truffle Pasta?

This is a very rich dish. The sauce is made with truffles, garlic, heavy cream, white wine, and Parmigiano cheese. It is an expensive dish, so you don’t want to serve cheap wine with it. 

Barolo is a good choice of wine because, like truffles, it is mushroom-like and earthy in texture. 

If you prefer white wine, try Trebbiano d’Abruzzo which offers earth flavors together with acidity to balance the creaminess of the sauce. 

Which Wine Pairs Well with Pumpkin Pasta?

This pasta dish is quite unusual but it is delicious. The sauce is made with pumpkin, garlic, milk, and mascarpone cheese. 

An aromatic white wine is a good choice. Try a dry Chenin Blanc, dry Riesling, or Torrentes. These wines have floral and citrus notes such as kaffir lime which boost and balance the sweetness of the pumpkin.

Viognier and Pouilly-Tousse also go well as they don’t have much acidity.

Which Wine Pairs Well with Pasta Gricia?

This pasta dish from Lazio in Italy consists of a sauce of Pecorino Romano cheese, black pepper, and guanciale, a cured meat made from the cheeks of a pig. 

You need a fresh and crisp white wine to cut through the richness of the pork. Trebbiano is a good choice and its acidity pairs well with aged cheeses like the Pecorino in the dish. 

Which Wine Pairs Well with Scarpariello Pasta?

You may not have heard of this dish. The sauce is made from Pecorino Romano cheese. Parmigiano cheese, tomatoes, chili pepper flakes, and garlic.

Scarpariello pasta is excellent served with Rose de Noir brut. This sparkling wine has fruity notes of strawberry and raspberry, and its acidity balances the sweetness of the tomatoes. 

Which wine Pairs Well with Penne alla Vodka?

This penne pasta dish is made with vodka, heavy cream, crushed tomatoes, and onions. Sometimes small slices of meat like sausage are added or a vegetable such as peas.

A bright and fruity red wine with some acidity balances the richness of the sauce. If you prefer white wine, Sauvignon Blanc is a good choice. Its acidity and citrus flavors contrast nicely with the richness of the sauce. 

Final Words

As you can see, there is a wide range of pasta dishes and different wines to select with the various sauces. Hopefully, you now have an idea of the best pairings. Try some and see what you think.

Happy eating and drinking!

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