Top pairings | 6 of the best pairings for spaghetti bolognese

Pairings | Pasta, rice & noodles

6 of the best pairings for spaghetti bolognese

Given the arguments about how to make a bolognese sauce it’s hardly surprising there should be a difference of opinion about what wine to serve with spaghetti bolognese but here’s what I would go for:

Best red wines with spaghetti bolognese

* a medium-bodied Italian red such as an inexpensive Chianti, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or a simple Sicilian red. It’s the acidity in Italian reds that makes them so refreshing

* Italian grape varieties such as barbera and sangiovese made elsewhere

* inexpensive Languedoc or Roussillon reds

* Zinfandel. Always good with tomato-based pasta sauces

Can you drink white wine with a bolognese sauce?

Absolutely especially if the sauce is made with white wine or includes milk like Anna del Conte's ragu then you’ll find it will work really well. I suggest a dry Italian white such as Verdicchio.

What about beer with bolognese?

Maybe another surprise but if you use beer rather than wine to make your bolognese sauce and include bacon and a little smoked pimenton for a smoky note you’ll find it’s a terrific pairing. Try a Belgian-style blonde ale or an amber ale.

Note: these drinks will work with other pasta dishes served with a bolognese sauce. It’s the sauce you match not the pasta shape.

For wine pairings with other pasta sauces see

Wines to match different pasta sauces

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Comments: 6 (Add)

Roger the Pedant on August 15 2020 at 19:20

Nice point about matching the sauce and not the shape of pasta, but don't forget that to some extent sauces and pasta shapes are related - shells with creamy sauces for example. So whilst there is no direct link its not entirely unrelated.

Bill on April 21 2020 at 22:36

I would agree that a nice acidic Italian wine would be preferable. That being said, my recipe called for a dry white wine and milk. I used a nice Michigan Pinot Gris with good acidity which worked well. (2018 MacDonald Vineyards Pinot Gris, Old Mission Peninsula).

Jess on March 19 2020 at 00:20

I’m a red wine lover, converted from beer drinker. My partner is a white wine lover.

I always use red wine in my bolognese I make, not just because I make the best one, but because I like how the red wine improves the dish by making the sauce a much deeper red.

If I wanted to surprise my partner with a red wine sauce, but have a white wine for drinking, what would you suggest? Buy a white wine fruity and acidic?

James Morris on October 10 2017 at 17:27

Why inexpensive? Presumably the power of the sauce might overwhelm more complex wines?

Helena Kyriakides on June 21 2016 at 21:43

Like your suggestions. How about keeping it local with wines from Emilia Romagan? In Bologna we eat Bolognese sauce (ragù) with Tagliatelle and love to keep the pairings local. Those from Bologna would probably pair a sparkling or still local Barbera or what they call a Rosso Bologna - usually a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. In the summer, a still Pignoletto Superiore DOCG gets the heads up too and those from Modena would probably pair a Lambrusco Salamino di Santacroce which would work well too.

Stefano from Trieste (Italy) on October 15 2013 at 08:32

your suggestions are always very interesting and usefull.
I agree with you when you indicate Verdicchio that is one of the most full bodied white wines of Italy.
I can suggest some whites such as Friulano from COLLIO or COLLI ORIENTALI DEL FRIULI, macereted on the skins that pair very well a bolognese sauce or a pair with a TERRANO from Carso a red with medium body and a great acidity.

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