Wondering which wines pair best with the quintessential Italian pasta? Read my quick guide.
According to estimates, there are somewhere around 350 different types of pasta. From spaghetti to tagliatelle, linguine, penne, bucatini, pappardelle, rigatoni, orecchiette, tortellini, trofie, … well you name it. Indeed, pasta comes in all types of shapes and sizes.
If you think such an array of different types is exaggerated, you might be right. But don’t you think pasta is like pasta. The different shapes and textures are actually quite crucial to make the different types of sauces shining. For example, thicker types of pasta are better for heavy sauces. Leaner types of pasta instead work better for light sauces.
And while you certainly agree pasta and wine are a match made in heaven, once again finding the best wine to match your pasta dish is quite important to the whole experience.
But what are the best wines for a plate of spaghetti?
As usual, the answer is it depends. Even more important than looking at the type of pasta, it’s how the pasta is prepared that determines which wine will be the best match.
Below is a short introduction to the wines that best match the different styles of spaghetti (pasta) dishes.
Best Wines with Spaghetti
If you are looking to pair wine with spaghetti, the good news is, there is a long list of wines that would work wonderfully with everybody’s best-loved pasta. Which means, there is a good chance you can select a bottle of your favourite variety.
The most classic way to make spaghetti is with tomato sauce. To match the typical acidity in the dish, a likewise acidic wine will be the best match. Which could be a medium-bodied Chianti, Nebbiolo, Syrah (or Shiraz), Primitivo, Zinfandel or Merlot if you want to go for a red. Likewise, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling or an acidic rosé would work well.
Spaghetti with light, olive oil-based sauces such as spaghetti alio e olio (spaghetti with garlic and oil) and spaghetti carbonara call for well-balanced crisp dry whites such as or Sauvignon Blanc. If you prefer red, a light Pinot Noir would also work.
Meanwhile, another classic, spaghetti with pesto alla Genovese, definitely calls for a light-bodied unoaked Chardonnay, contrasting the dominating herbaceous flavour. As an alternative, try Verdicchio or Soave. If you prefer red, a light bodied Valpolicella or Chianti would work.
Seafood spaghetti with a mild and fresh flavour call for a likewise fresh white like Pinot Grigio, Soave, Chablis, or a light rosé or even Prosecco.
Looking to add meat (think meatballs, ground beef, or chicken), a medium to full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti Classico, Barbera, Primitivo, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Riesling, or white Rioja are the best choices.
For a plat of mushroom spaghetti, you can’t go wrong with a medium-bodied Chardonnay.
Spaghetti with spicy sauces definitely ask for a crisp dry white to contrast the heat like Riesling. If you prefer red, Primitivo or Zinfandel would also contrast the heat very well. If your spicy sauce includes fish, like a classic spaghetti fra diavolo (shrimp and spicy red sauce), the best fit would be a sparkling rosé or Lambrusco.
Spaghetti with vegetables typically come with light cheese-based creamy sauces. To match the freshness of the vegetables along with the fattiness of the cream sauce, a Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, or Riesling would work excellently.
Are you ready to indulge in a large plate of spaghetti with your favourite wine?