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What Type of Wine Do You Drink With Italian Food?

What Type of Wine Do You Drink With Italian Food?

Pairing wine and food can create an exquisite dining experience. When selecting your wine pairings, be sure to choose one that enhances rather than overshadows the flavors in your dish.

Chianti wine pairs well with tomato-based Italian dishes, while Chardonnays may reveal papaya, mango and pineapple tropical fruit flavors depending on their vineyard location and climate. Pinot Grigio (or Pinot Gris) is an aromatic white wine which pairs perfectly with light sauces and risottos.


Chianti is an elegant yet robust red wine, perfectly complementing dishes featuring tomato-based sauces such as bolognese or marinara. Additionally, this wine is often selected for pizza toppings.

Chianti wines are typically composed of Sangiovese grapes, though some versions are 100% Sangiovese. Depending on the vintage, other local grapes like Canaiolo or Colorino may also be added for variety and complexity.

Cabernet Sauvignon, commonly referred to as a Cab, is a full-bodied red wine that complements many Italian dishes well. Often featuring black currant notes with mint or blackberry undertones. Try pairing your Cab with meaty lasagna or spaghetti topped with red meat ragu for an excellent pairing experience.

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a light red wine that pairs well with Italian dishes, featuring vanilla, jammy and fruity berry notes from its grape. It's also widely used as an ingredient in metodo classico sparkling wines as well as used for creating risotto and pasta dishes.

Pinot Noir's bold flavors pair beautifully with rich cheese sauces in pasta dishes like cacio e pepe and quattro formaggi ravioli, while its acidity provides the ideal partner to creamy risottos like polenta and mascarpone; its acidity helps balance out both fat in cheese and richness in sauce for an optimal experience.


Prosecco is an affordable and accessible alternative to Champagne. Crafted with Glera grapes grown in Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions of northeastern Italy using the Charmat method, Prosecco makes for a delicious sparkling beverage.

Prosecco wine production techniques allow it to only stay in contact with its lees for short amounts of time, which allows its fruity characteristics to shine through. You can find both dry and extra-dry varieties with low to moderate alcohol levels.

Prosecco pairs well with Italian-style cheeses as an antipasti platter, or can even work well as part of a light brunch meal when served alongside smoked salmon blinis. With its delicate flavors, Prosecco works especially well when served alongside seafood pasta dishes.


Merlot may not receive as much praise as its more celebrated counterparts Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, but it makes an excellent pairing wine. Boasting soft tannins and fruitier aromas, Merlot pairs perfectly with dishes like chicken, pork, duck, hamburgers and tomato-based pasta dishes.

Merlot pairs well with veggie-centric dishes that might prove challenging for Cabernet Sauvignon to handle, such as fennel, peppers and mushrooms. Merlot's earthier characteristics will complement these ingredients perfectly.

A merlot with cherry or chocolate notes makes an ideal accompaniment for dessert, so choose one and enjoy!

Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio is one of the most beloved Italian wines. It pairs beautifully with seafood and chicken dishes alike, as well as pasta dishes featuring light sauces.

Pinot Grigio wine combines citrusy acidity with fruit flavors like pear, white nectarines and melons for an approachable beverage that's great for pairing with food. Depending on how ripened the grapes are, notes such as lime or green apple may emerge; eventually it can even develop honey, acacia and mild creamy white-fruit aromas over time (via Real Simple).

Pinot Grigio from northern Italy is typically harvested early and unoaked wines are produced. However, in regions such as Alsace and Oregon grapes can be left to fully ripen producing richer full bodied wines with stone fruit notes and higher alcohol levels.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is an exceptionally versatile wine that pairs perfectly with many dishes including grilled chicken, white fish, herb-forward sauces like pesto and chimichurri, and pasta dishes. Oaked Sauvignon Blanc also makes an exceptional match!

As with other white wines, Sauvignon Blanc can adapt well to different climates and terroirs and can produce tart, crisp styles in cooler regions or fruit-forward ones in hotter areas. Oak aging gives this variety an additional unique character.

For an elegantly traditional taste of Sauvignon Blanc, explore France's Loire Valley region (Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume) for its minerality and fresh grapefruit characteristics, or head down south to New Zealand where Sauvignon Blanc is the most widely planted varietal for herbal and grassy notes as well as juicy grapefruit flavours with lively acidity levels.

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