Italian food and wine go together like milk and cookies. Most common Italian dishes go very well with red wine, but there are also specific Italian dishes that go perfectly together with white wine. And an added bonus, Italian desserts and sweet dessert wines pair well together too!
Pairing Italian food and wine correctly will help enhance the flavors, textures and experience dramatically if done right. Acidity, sweetness and tannins in the wine are important things to consider, as well as the ingredients of the food you are about to eat. There are several Italian dishes that are actually made with red or white wine as an ingredient of the dish!

Traditional Italian Food Ingredients

The list of Italian ingredients is pretty well-known, but it helps to know the ingredients before choosing which wine to drink with the dish. Specific herbs, spices and base ingredients will impact selecting one wine variety over another. Herbs & Spices – garlic, oregano, capers, basil Liquids – olive oil, balsamic vinegar, red wine, white wine Starches – pasta, rice Other ingredients – porcini mushrooms, tomatoes, truffles Italian cheeses – Parmigiano-reggiano, pecorino and mozzarella

Common Wines From Italy

You can often select a great wine to go with a dish by selecting a wine that is from the same origin as the dish traditionally comes from. Pairing an Italian wine with an Italian dish is an easy way to pair the two together and likely have a positive outcome. Truffles and Barbaresco are an amazing Italian dish and wine pairing. Another famous Italian food and wine pair is Tuscan roast of veal (also known as Ossobuco) and a nice Chianti Classico. Keep reading below for more detailed & delicious Italian pairings. Here are some of the most popular wines from Italy that you can experiment pairing with Italian wines on your own based on your preferences.
  • Barolo
  • Chianti Classico
  • Amarone della Valpolicella
  • Brunello di Montalcino
  • Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
  • Montefalco Sagrantino
  • Valpolicella
  • Arneis (Roero Arneis)
  • Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio Riserva
  • Fiano di Avellino
  • Gavi
  • Greco di Tufo
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Lambrusco
  • Moscato d’Asti
  • Prosecco

Pairing Wine With Traditional Italian Recipes

When considering the common ingredients used in each of the following dishes, and the flavor profile of those dishes, we’ve tried to list a few choices for each traditional Italian meal. The hope is to enhance both the food and the wine by selecting the proper pairing to get the best experience possible. Here are some other fantastic Italian pairings:

Pairing Wine With Pasta And Red Sauce

Tomato or red wine based sauces tossed over pasta are often seasoned with garlic, basil, and oregano. The best wine for pasta with red sauce is typically a medium bodied red wine. A few excellent wines to drink with pasta and red sauce are montepulciano d’Abruzzo, sangiovese, chianti, grenache or a Rhone blend. Bolognese sauce is a meat based red sauce that is topped over tagliatelle al ragù and to prepare lasagne alla bolognese. A bolognese based disn pairs best with a highly acidic wine like a Barolo.

Pairing Wine With Pasta And White Sauce

When pairing a wine with a cream based pasta sauce, like fettuccine alfredo, you can’t go wrong with a buttery chardonnay. That is a classic pairing that you won’t regret! If you have a white clam sauce, such as Linguine alle Vongole in Rosso and Spaghetti con le Vongole, choose a wine that matches the brininess and minerality of the sauce like a pinot grigio, Sauvignon blanc or a sparkling white like a verdicchio.

Ravioli Wine Pairing

Ravioli can be tricky to pair wine with, because the filling in the ravioli can change what you should drink with it. The sauce over the ravioli can also impact what to drink with it. Typically a medium red wine or a bold white wine will go best with ravioli, but it is best to choose based on the type of ravioli. Mushroom Ravioli – Pair with an earthy Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir. Lobster Ravioli – Pair with a bold white wine like a Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, or Grüner Veltliner. Meat Ravioli – Pair with most any red wine, but a nice merlot will be delicious with meat ravioli. Cheese Ravioli – You can pair a white or red wine with cheese ravioli. Pick a chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, or a malbec to drink with 4 cheese ravioli.

Pizza Wine Pairing

Some classic Italian pizzas like neapolitan pizza and margherita pizza pair excellent with a garnacha or dry rosé. It goes excellent with the fresh basil and buffalo mozzarella. Try to stick to lighter reds if possible when eating pizza. You can also experiment with a pinot noir or chardonnay with a white cream based pizza.

Lasagna Wine Pairing

Lasagna can often be a very complex dish with strong flavors and depth from the layers of ingredients. The cheese, meat, noodles and vegetables will need a red wine that can cut through those flavors. A Chianti, Barbera or Zinfandel will hold up nicely and complement a lasagna perfectly.

Carbonara Wine Pairing

Not necessarily a red or white sauce, Spaghetti Alla Carbonara is a classic Italian dish made out of olive oil, eggs & Parmesan. You can drink a white or red with this dish. For red wines, choose a fruit forward wine with a little acidity with it, like a pinot noir, barbera or montepulciano. For white wines, choose something to complement the buttery and cheese flavors like a pinot grigio, chardonnay or riesling.

Risotto Wine Pairing

Choose an earthy red like a nebbiolo or pinot noir to drink with risotto. Or you can pair it with an oaky chardonnay or pinot grigio.

Polenta Wine Pairing

Polenta is a northern Italian dish made of coarsely ground corn. Pair polenta with a merlot, beaujolais or a nice rose.

Gnocchi Wine Pairing

Gnocchi is a dumpling style lump of dough, made into a pasta-style dish. Often accompanied with a pesto, olive oil or other Italian style sauces, this popular dish goes best with a light bodied red or white wine. Choose a white wine like pinot grigio or pecorino. For reds that go well with gnocchi, a chianti or barbera are perfect.

Eggplant Parmesan Wine Pairing

Eggplant parmigiana is a baked dish with a tomato sauce base and melted parmesan cheese on top, often with bread crumbs and deep fried before baking as well. You will need a wine with a high acidity to match the tomato sauce. Pair a barbera or sangiovese to complement this dish perfectly.

Pairing Wine With Italian Desserts

For Italian desserts like tiramisu, pair it with the traditional Tuscany style dessert wine called Vin Santo “Holy Wine”). What is better than a nice Italian dessert with a unique Italian dessert wine to end your meal? Hopefully this list was helpful and thanks for visiting our website!
Pairing Wine With Risotto
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Author Seema Pal 10-12-2022 Risotto is a delicious side dish or first course in a meal in Italy. It is an exquisite cross between comfort food and fine dining. The classic recipe includes arborio rice, broth, butter, parmesan cheese, garlic, … Read More

Pairing Wine With Lasagna
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Author Seema Pal 10-12-2022 Lasagna is one of Italy’s most famous pasta dishes, and one that has become a favourite across the world! When one thinks of lasagna, we think of warmth, comfort and of course delicious layers of cheese. … Read More

Pairing Wine With Spaghetti
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Spaghetti is an Italian staple. It can be made combined with a huge variety of sauces and proteins, so naturally, it can also be paired with a huge variety of wines. Most pasta sauces are either tomato-based or creamy, so … Read More

Pairing Wine With Eggplant Parmesan
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Eggplant parmesan is a comforting Italian dish, made from breadcrumbed slices of eggplant (also called aubergine, depending on where you are from) covered in melted cheese and marinara sauce. It is similar to a vegetarian version of lasagna and is … Read More

Pairing Wine With Ravioli
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Ravioli is a classic Italian dish, composed of pasta parcels stuffed with cheese and any variety of fillings, though meat and spinach are among the most common. They are almost always accompanied by a pasta sauce, which will be either … Read More

Pairing Wine With Carbonara
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Carbonara is a classic Italian pasta dish, traditionally made with cured pork, hard cheese and black pepper. The original style calls for a sauce made of egg yolk and cheese, but outside of Italy, cream is used too.  Whatever variation … Read More

Pairing Wine With Polenta
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Polenta is essentially a type of porridge, made from boiled cornmeal. It is very simple and has been eaten for a very long time. It is a staple of Italian, Swiss and Balkan cuisine, particularly in Northern and Central Italy. … Read More

Gnocchi Wine Pairing
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Gnocchi are a type of Italian dumpling typically made from potato, flour, and egg. These are traditionally served with a tomato or cream-based sauce.  Like with any pasta dish, choosing the best wine pairing will depend on which type of … Read More

Pairing Wine With Chicken Cacciatore
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Chicken Cacciatore is a rustic Italian comfort dish. Cacciatore means hunter in Italian, which gives a nod to the humble roots of this classic meal. Chicken Cacciatore is chicken that is braised with some vegetables, typically a sofrito, and then … Read More

Pairing Wine With Pizza
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One of the great things about pizza is it’s fun, casual and doesn’t take itself too seriously. With all of the different styles and toppings there is something for everyone to enjoy. While you may not immediately think of pairing … Read More

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