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What Red Wine Do I Cook With Italian Tomato Sauce?

What Red Wine Do I Cook With Italian Tomato Sauce?

Wine adds depth of flavor to traditional Italian tomato sauce dishes, so selecting the appropriate one for maximum enjoyment! Having fun selecting wine makes for delicious results!

Spaghetti alle vongole and other seafood-based tomato sauces require crisp dry white wines like Pinot Grigio, Verdicchio or light Sicilian reds such as Primitivo which offers rich fruit flavors with moderate acidity levels for best results.


Merlot, an approachable red wine grape variety, is the third-most-popular red wine sold in UK stores. With flavors often recalling cherries and black currants with hint of herbs and baking spices; when aged in oak barrels Merlot may also show notes of chocolate and vanilla - perfect pairing for tomato sauce!

Merlot may get a bad rap thanks to Sideways, but it can produce wines with depth and complexity - one great example can be found on Bordeaux's Right Bank appellations; Israeli winery Yarden's 2016 Merlot Allone Habashan from their Yarden estate stands out as an exceptional example.

Merlot is one of France's most widely planted grape varieties and it pairs beautifully with lighter meat dishes and vegetables. Additionally, Merlot can be found alongside Sangiovese in Tuscany as part of a style called Super Tuscan winemaking process. In warmer climates like California or Washington state it produces full and lush styles which pair perfectly with heartier meat dishes such as rack of lamb or short rib.

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir's light flavor and subtle fruity tones pair nicely with tomato-based sauces, while its lower acidity may appeal to those not keen on bold wines.

An earthier Pinot Noir may contain subtle notes of vanilla that add an additional sweet note to a dish. These types of Pinot can also complement tomato-based sauces with meatballs or marinara-type meals perfectly.

Syrah is another bold wine that pairs beautifully with tomato sauce, especially oil- or cream-based versions. A full-bodied Syrah will help to reduce acidity while simultaneously heightening flavors found in dishes such as arrabbiatta or aglio olio e peperoncino dishes.


Syrah wine's combination of dark fruit, smokey flavors and moderate tannin levels complement this recipe beautifully, adding an attractive spiciness that compliments its dark olive, tomato and spice notes, while simultaneously emphasizing its umami taste in veal demi-glace sauces.

Wine's alcohol can enhance the flavors in a dish, particularly those that are salty or spicy, while simultaneously emulsifying fats and cutting through richness of tomato-based sauces to create a vibrant, balanced flavor profile. For this delicious twist on traditional Italian marinara sauces, simply saute diced onions in olive oil over medium heat until they begin to brown before slowly adding garlic and pouring red wine, simmering it for five minutes until adding tomatoes, oregano and chili flakes for your desired sauce thickness before simmering it again for 20-25 minutes before enjoying your pasta dish of choice!

Cabernet Sauvignon

From rustic Apulian rigatoni ragu barese to hearty tomato sauce lasagnas, any time the tomato-based meal demands bold flavoring, Cabernet Sauvignon is the boldest red wine available that will enhance it beautifully.

Cabernet Sauvignon is an aged dark wine, with vibrant flavors that will elevate any sauce. Savory notes combine with vibrant pops of black currant, fig, berries, boysenberry and boysenberry for a balanced blend. Also present will be notes of tobacco spice vanilla from its ageing in oak barrels.

Conduct a blind taste test to discover how the addition of red wine changes your tomato sauces! You might be amazed at the impact a small amount can make - enjoy responsibly while drinking responsibly!

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