If you are anything like me, you must definitely share my love for wine, the wine just makes every meal taste better when you do the right pasta pairing of course!
When planning a delicious meal to share with friends or family, pasta is a perfect choice, but you do need to be careful to choose the right wine to make that dinner party a wonderful experience.
There are two major types of pasta: fresh pasta and dried pasta, but there are actually over 400 variations of those two kinds, and those variations are mainly shape varieties. (Not unlike wine!)
Being honest though, pasta is pasta, the only reason for pasta tasting different is the sauce, so when you pair your pasta with wine, you're not really pairing the pasta but the sauce.
When you choose a tomato-based pasta, then your wine of choice should be a medium-bodied red wine. Why is this? Well, tomato-based sauces are very strong-flavored, they are powerful, and usually, they are also mixed with red meat. See below for a wine and pasta pairing cheat sheet to help you choose the best combo!
Here's what you'll find out:
Wine, like food (including pastas) are subjective. You may find that you love a pairing that doesn't align with the graph above. However, I'll outline why the wine and pasta pairings listed are an awesome reference point.
Pasta & Pork Bolognese
The best wine of choice for this dish would be a Merlot, Sangiovese or classic Italian Chianti, which are characterized by fruity notes of cherry followed by delicate spicy notes of black pepper; they can have full, harmonious, dry, sapid flavors, slightly tannic. The grape varieties can differ in characteristics, but this is a general go-to for Bolognese.
• Merlot recommendations
• Sangiovese recommendations
Shrimp and Pesto Fettuccine
The best wine of choice for this dish would be a Pinot Grigio which has straw color, sometimes intense; to the nose, the bouquet is lasting and fruity, rich in sensations and persistent. The palate is dry, balanced and soft, thanks to its full body high acidity with flavors of green apple and nut. The grape variety is Pinot Grigio (grey), and could also be paired with a nice Viognier.
• Pinot Grigio recommendations
• Viognier recommendations
The best wine of choice for this dish would be a delicate, light-bodied red wine that has an aromatic bouquet of black cherries and spices, with well-rounded tannins. The grape varieties to lean towards would be Grenache and a number of Red Blends. Red Blends can be all over the map when it comes to the finished bottle. Be sure to read up on the style of blend to make sure it's on the lighter side and doesn't over power the carbonara sauce.
• Grenache recommendations
• Red Blend? recommendations
Spaghetti Alle Vongole (Spaghetti with Clams)
This classic Italian dish of spaghetti with clams will definitely benefit from a wine of choice such as a Chardonnay with yellow color, with fresh oak and precedes to a warm, full, fruity bouquet and a stylish, elegant flavor. A vibrant Grenache Blanc would also make a wonderful pairing to seafood pasta such as this. Both grapes can be fruit-forward which are also welcome qualities with pasta and clams.
• Chardonnay recommendations
• Grenache Blanc recommendations
This full-flavored pasta dish with strong, punchy flavors is best paired with a Barbera, a bold Pinot Noir or a Cabernet Sauvignon. The indigenous Italian Barbera ensures this delightful spicy mellowness and black cherry richness with gentle tannins and fresh acidity. Full-bodied wines are a great wine pairing to a hearty pasta such as spaghetti putanesca.
• Barbera recommendations
• Pinot Noir recommendations
• Cabernet Sauvignon recommendations
This list was compiled with, as you can see, some Italian wines, both red and white, hoping you enjoy these pairings!
About the Author: Sara O Brown is a working mom, lives with her dentist husband and her adorable dog, Casper. She is passionate about traveling and cooking. She has been a regular contributor for Find Rare Whisky.