Wine pairing refers to selecting wines that complement specific foods, whether this means pairing similar flavors and characteristics or mixing in more discordant ones to achieve balance.
If you're enjoying an Italian pasta dish like Aglio e Olio, pair it with an acidic white wine like Sauvignon Blanc to help cut through any fat and cleanse your palate. The acidity will cut through any grease-laden flavors while stimulating taste buds.
Tomato-based sauces such as pomodoro and arrabbiata pair nicely with medium-bodied red wines such as Chianti or Sangiovese, providing acidity that enhances their tannins while simultaneously adding to the dish's flavors.
Seafood-centric pasta dishes like linguine with mussels or spaghetti with crab meat pair well with crisp white wines such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, featuring refreshing apple and melon flavors and light enough not to overpower the dish.
If you're enjoying a hearty meat-based pasta dish like Tagliatelle Bolognese or Ragu, pairing it with a robust red wine such as Barbera d'Asti or Zinfandel could add the perfect finishing touch. These wines have the right balance of fruitiness and earthiness that stands up well to the richness of these sauces. Cheese-based pasta dishes like four Cheese or Gorgonzola could benefit from pairing it with crisp dry white wines such as Verdicchio or Frascati which cut through richness while counteracting acidity of sauces.
When pairing dishes featuring cream and cheese with wine, a wine with creamy textures such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc should work best.
For pasta with hearty meat sauces like the Apulian specialty Rigatoni Ragu Barese or an irresistibly creamy Mushroom Ravioli dish, wine with more robust structure would be best. A wine such as Chianti or Zinfandel which offers high acidity with strong flavors and tannins would complement such tomato-based sauces, as well as supporting their weighty presence while standing up well against heavier pasta dishes.
Lighter dishes, such as linguine with light pesto sauce or seafood pasta topped with creamy risotto, pair perfectly with dry white wines like Frascati, Verdicchio or Loire Sauvignon Blanc; fragrant Pinot Noir or Merlot wines may also work nicely - showing that "what grows together, goes together". When it comes to Italian cuisine and pairing food and wine together perfectly!
Cheese-based pasta dishes such as carbonara, alfredo and risotto call for wines with enough weight to match their rich flavors; buttery Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio (known in Oregon and France as Pinot Gris) or Sauvignon Blanc would do just fine.
Dolcetto from San Gimignano is another suitable red option, pairing well with tomato-based sauces and homemade pasta dishes. Similar in aroma and taste to Barbera, Dolcetto may also prove worthy.
If you're making mushroom ravioli, pair it with either a Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir wine that is full-bodied and earthy to enhance its flavors. When selecting wine to pair with Italian food, take into consideration where its grapes came from and which vegetables and spices are popular there; sweet foods will increase its strength while salty ones will diminish it.
In this recipe, a creamy white wine sauce and fresh seafood come together for an irresistibly tasty pasta dish. A Pinot Grigio wine featuring notes of apple and pear works particularly well to cut through its richness while providing balance to flavors.
Pinot Grigio can elevate the flavors of fish and seafood ingredients found in dishes, while simultaneously brightening its sauce. Other seafood-centric dishes that pair perfectly with Pinot Grigio include bruschetta, pizza and risotto.
Cabernet Sauvignon pairs perfectly with tomato-based pasta dishes and Italian cured meats such as salsiccia and bresaola; in particular, its acidity compliments those from Piedmont such as Barbera d'Alba and Fiano di Avellino beautifully.