Like in any other cuisine, it is also essential in the Italian cuisine to pair the right food and wine. Both need to be in balance; otherwise your meal can completely be spoiled.
So what wine should you choose when you are cooking a delicious Italian dish at home or going out to dinner at an Italian restaurant?
Below you will find great suggestions on how to pair Italian food and wine:
First of all, make sure not to serve pistachios or olives before dinner, because these can destroy your wine flavors. Also peanuts, walnuts, or cashews should be avoided. A good Italian cheese is a better option to start your dinner.
There are a number of red and white wines, that go really well together with an Italian Minestrone soup. A Barolo, Chianti or Valpolicella from Italy are a good red wine-match, but you could definitely also try Cotes de Provence or Bandol, red wines from France.
Sauvignon Blancs from the Californian Nappa Valley, New Zealand or Australia are pleasant white wine pairings with Italian soups.
Pasta has not a lot of flavor in itself, so pairing the right wine with your pasta dish really depends on the sauce that you are serving with the pasta.
In general, red wines from Italy are the best match for tomato-based sauces. Chianti, based on the famous Sangiovese grape, has a full flavor and pairs really well with the acidity in tomatoes. Pinot Grigio also matches really well with tomatoes.
For pasta meals in a cream sauce, you need a wine that is able to compete with the rich flavor of the dish. A Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc will bring a balance in this Italian meal.
A Sauvignon Blanc is also an excellent companion for pasta with seafood.
Pairing wine with lasagna is a bit more complex than with pasta, because of all the rich and complex flavors in this delicious Italian dish. In general, you would want to pick a heartier Italian red wine, such as Barolo or Barbaresco.
According to the Italians, pizza and wine is an impossible wine pairing. In this Southern-European country, no one pairs wine with pizza, but with a cold beer.
However, if you still would like to have a wine with your pizza, then Chianti, Barbera, Shiraz and Zinfandel are good options.
The above suggestions should be considered as a guide, your own preferences and experiences should be leading and those will make sure you will have a perfect, well-balanced Italian meal!
Other wine articles
If you are interested in wine from various regions in the world, then please refer to my other wine articles:
- Wines from California
- Wines from Idaho and Oregon
- Pairing Food and Wine, The Perfect Match
- Develop Your Own Wine Palate - Things To Notice When Tasting Wine
- Cava - The Spanish alternative for Champagne
- Prosecco - a fine and affordable alternative to Champagne
- Moselle wines - Germany's top wines