Matching wines with pasta immediately makes you think Chianti, Sangiovese and Pinot Grigio. And why not? Italian pasta comes to life when paired with its national soulmate, Italian wine. But if you want to experiment with fresh flavours and local wine pairings, read on for inspiration.
Wine with Pasta & Tomato Sauce
Let’s start with the most popular, and most common style of pasta sauce – tomato.
The combination of tomatoes with complementary ingredients like basil, extra virgin olive oil, Parmesan cheese and garlic gives you the perfect palette (and palate!) to pair with aromatic, flavoursome red wines or crisp dry whites like Pinot Gris or Albariño.
The acid in tomatoes pairs well with slightly tangy wines.
For reds try a raspberry-like Tempranillo. However try to avoid big, ripe reds like Barossa Shiraz or McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon as the acid in the sauce may make them taste harsh and could enhance the tannins.
Our pick: One Off Hawke's Bay Albarino 2017
Wine with Pasta & Seafood
One of the most enjoyable and simple pasta dishes is spaghetti with prawns, chilli and garlic.
This fresh, flavoursome combination comes alive with zesty, crisp white wines like Riesling, Marlborough Chardonnay or Rosé.
Salmon, depending on whether it’s smoked, cooked or roasted can be a lovely match with the red fruits and smoky flavours of Central Otago Pinot Noir.
Wine with Pasta and Pesto
The garlic and cheese notes of pesto combined with the herbal freshness of basil makes a lovely match with light-bodied, soft reds or crisp dry whites. Try Sangiovese or a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
Wine with Lasagne
Lasagne combines the soft texture of baked sheets of pasta with rich, hearty ragu (meat sauce) and béchamel sauce, topped with a crunchy cheesy crust – so delicious and one of Italy’s most famous pasta dishes. Lasagne is traditionally an ideal match with flavoursome, rustic red wines. The Italian red wines Chianti or Barolo make a noble match for lasagne, as does Primitivo (also called Zinfandel), or warm-climate Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon from regions like the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale.
Our pick: Ca'boscari Salento Primitivo 2015
Wine with Pasta and Creamy Sauce
For pasta served with rich, creamy sauces like carbonara, there are a multitude of possible wine pairings. Cream sauces with mushrooms make a great match for either rich, full-bodied white wines like Chardonnay, or fresh, vibrant reds like Sangiovese. Pasta with cream sauce and seafood is delicious with light, fresh reds or fruit-filled whites like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Prosecco and Arneis.