Wines to match different pasta sauces
What wine should you pair with your favourite pasta? As you might guess it depends on the sauce rather than the pasta shape.
Personally I like to pair Italian wine with pasta wherever possible as it suits it so well and isn't too full-bodied or alcoholic.
Creamy pasta sauces
To offset creamy sauces (eg carbonara or fettucine alfredo) think Soave, Bianco di Custoza, Pinot Bianco, Sicilian whites and lighter Chardonnay or Chardonnay blends.
Six of the best wine matches for spaghetti carbonara
With mushroom pastas serve Soave, Bianco di Custoza, Lugana or Chardonnay, or a light Merlot or Pinot Noir.
Seafood pasta sauces
Seafood (spaghetti alle vongole, spaghetti with mussels, linguine with crab) need crisp dry whites such as Frascati, Verdicchio, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Muscadet or Picpoul de Pinet. A dry rosé is good too. Crab or lobster sauces can take a fuller white such as a good quality Soave or Chardonnay.
The best wine pairings for spaghetti alle vongole
Photo by tofuprod licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Red or tomato-based pasta sauces
Tomato-based sauces include fresh tomato with basil: crisp dry whites such as Pinot Grigio or Verdicchio. Cooked tomato sauces such as napoletana or marinara): Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or a light Sicilian red.
Meat (bolognese, spaghetti with meatballs, sausage-based sauces) is a logical partner for Sicilian and Puglian reds (especially Primitivo), Sangiovese, Rosso di Montalcino and inexpensive Barberas. Zinfandel is good too.
Six of the best matches for spaghetti bolognese
Pesto and other cheese-based sauces
Dry whites such as Gavi, Soave or Verdicchio are best with green pesto - you could also try Sicilian whites and lighter Chardonnays). With red pesto I'd go for a medium bodied red such as Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Sangiovese or Merlot. It’s a colour thing as much as anything
With cheese-based sauces such as four cheese and Gorgonzola): crisp dry whites such as Verdicchio, light Chardonnays or light reds such as Teroldego or Merlot.
Spicy pasta sauces
With hot spicy sauces such as arrabbiatta, aglio olio e peperoncino (garlic, oil and chilli) and puttanesca (anchovies, capers and olives) try either a sharply flavoured dry white wine or a rustic Italian red: a Primitivo or Sicilian red, Zinfandel or Valpolicella Ripasso.
The best wine pairings for spaghetti puttanesca
Photo by being0828 licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
Pasta sauces with pulsesTuscan reds such as Chianti work well with pasta with beans or lentils (Pasta e Fagioli) or try an earthy, neutral white such as Orvieto or Vernaccia di San Gimignano)
Top image by Brent Hofacker at shutterstock.com
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