Pairing Food With Italian Wine

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If you already have a bottle of Italian wine and you aren’t sure which foods will be best served with the wine, you’ve come to the perfect website! Italian food and wine pairings can be very simple or complex depending on how unique the wine or dish you are pairing is. Italy has been producing wine for over 4,000 years and there are hundreds of different types of wines and dishes originating from Italy.

If you already know what Italian food you will be eating, you learn about what wine to purchase in this article about Pairing Wine With Italian Food.

Pairing Food With Red Italian Wines

A classic Italian red wine will pair very well with most dishes. The goal is to select a food that will accompany the wine and complement the textures, fragrances & flavors of both the dish and the wine. If you aren’t sure what to pair, keep reading below. We’ve tried to list out most every Italian red wine type and some food recommendations for each type.

If you aren’t sure which Italian red wine you will be drinking, some easy choices for food are anything with a red sauce (like spaghetti, ravioli, lasagna & pizza) or red meat (like steak, pork, lamb). Most cheeses also pair well with Italian red wine.

Pairing Food With Sangiovese

Sangiovese can have a wide range of flavor profiles from fruit forward to savory. The dry red wine with a medium body is quite flexible in what types of foods it goes best with. Try to pair Sangiovese with dishes with red sauces and herbs like basil, thyme and oregano. A few of our favorites include Margherita pizza, dried & cured meats like salami and prosciutto, or gnocchi with pesto.

Pairing Food With Chianti

This is one of the most well-known and talked about Italian red wines in the world. Typically grown in the Tuscany region, Chianti is known to be a dry and medium bodied wine that is spicy and acidic. The wine is made primarily with Sangiovese grapes. While we don’t recommend pairing it with liver & fava beans, there are several wonderful choices that will go perfectly with Chianti. 

Pairing Food With Brunello

Short for Brunello di Montalcino, this dry red wine is made with sangiovese grapes. The wine has a high acidity and high tannin levels with notes of cranberries, strawberries, tomato leaves and can sometimes have a damp-earth savory taste. This makes the wine perfect to pair with tomato based dishes like Bolognese and pizza.

Pairing Food With Montepulciano

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo has notes of pepper, red cherry, blackberries, and oregano. The wine has a medium-to-full body as well as a strong acidity which means  you will need to pick a dish that has strong flavors and depth to it. Italian dishes like beef bolognese, tagliatelle, ragu and pizza are all great choices to eat with Montepulciano.

Pairing Food With Barbera

This is typically an inexpensive Italian wine that has notes of cherries, strawberries, plums and blackberries. The wine has low tannins but high acidity and is typically enjoyed relatively young because of that. We recommend pairing this wine with inexpensive Italian dishes like spaghetti, porcini stew, or cheaper steaks like hangar steak or a flatiron steak.

Pairing Food With Nero d’Avola

A lesser known wine that is enjoyed both young and also ages well. The wine is a fruit-forward dry red wine that is full bodied and has medium acidity. This makes this wine an excellent wine to drink with rich red meat like cheeseburgers, meatloaf, beef brisket, and pulled pork.

Pairing Food With Primitivo & Negroamaro

Primitivo is related to the Zinfandel grape, but has higher acidity and is less fruit forward than a traditional Zin will have. The wine is often enjoyed by the Zinfandel lovers nonetheless. Pair Primitivo wines with Eggplant alla Parmigiana, Spaghetti Bolognese, Genoa salami & soppressata. 

Pairing Wine With Negroamaro

Almost exclusively grown in Puglia, this red wine has notes of dark berries like blackberries and black cherries, with a hint of thyme. This wine is excellent with barbeque pork ribs and pulled pork. 

Pairing Food With Valpolicella

Valpolicella is a wonderful everyday Italian red wine. The wine can be somewhat spicy and has hints of black cherry and has high acidity. It is a light red wine with low tannins, so it can be overpowered easily. Drink this wine with spaghetti, chicken parmigiana or pizza. 

Pairing Food With Amarone

This elegant Italian dry red wine is very complex with high tannins & medium acidity. Amarone di Valpolicella is a DOCG wine that is only made in the region of Veneto with Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella grapes. Amarone has hints of cherries, prunes, mushrooms, leather, or tobacco and is very fragrant. Pair Amarone with elegant dishes like roasted duck, Bistecca alla Fiorentina, and Filet De Boeuf En Croûte. We recommend decanting the wine for 1-2 hours before enjoying it as well if possible. 

Pairing Food With Dolcetto di Dogliani

This is a medium-bodied red wine with notes of plum, raspberry and black cherries. The wine typically has low acidity and high tannins. Pair this wine with lasagna, Bruschetta, or Scaloppine al Marsala (an Italian dish with veal). 

Pairing Food With Nebbiolo

Piedmont Nebbiolo is a full bodied dry red wine with high tannins and acidity. On the nose, are light fruity notes of cranberries, licorice, leather and herbs. Because the wine has high tannins and acidity, it goes very well with dishes that have high fat and strong flavors. We recommend drinking Nebbiolo with ribeyes, beef brisket, sausages or meatloaf.

Pairing Food With Barolo

This wine has high acidity and a big body with notes of plums, raspberries, cherries and tobacco. Pair Barolo wines with traditional Italian dishes like risotto al Barolo, Ossobuco, & fonduta (Italian fondue). Other meals like roasted lamb, beef stew and lasagna are also delicious with Barolo.

Pairing Food With Barbaresco

Both Barbaresco and Barolo are made with 100% Nebbiolo grapes. However, the wines are very different and pair best with different types of food. Barbaresco comes from a colder climate than Barolo, which makes the wine slightly softer than a Barolo. So you can pair this wine with slightly lighter foods like gnocchi, Osso Buco and risotto.

Pairing Food With Lambrusco

Not like your other typical red wines, Lambrusco can be sweet, semi-sweet or dry. There are over 60 different grape varieties of Lambrusco. Thankfully, most of them are pretty similar. We suggest pairing Lambrusco with cold cuts like porchetta, mortadella and bresaola. It is also great with oily fish like swordfish, tuna and sardines.

Pairing Food With White Italian Wines

Most of the time when someone hears Italian wine, their minds go to red wine. However, Italy produces some fantastic white wines as well. Some are even very well-known like Pinot Grigio. If you have a bottle of Italian white wine and are wondering which dishes will go best with it continue reading below. Some easy default choices for food with your Italian white wines are seafood (white fish, shrimp, crab, lobster, etc.) or cream-based & oil-based sauces (alfredo, carbonara, Spaghetti aglio e olio).

Pairing Food With Pinot Grigio

This Italian white wine is the most versatile white wine when it comes to pairing with food. When in doubt, Pinot Grigio is most often going to be a good choice when trying to decide what white wine to drink with your meal. The wine has high acidity and low tannins with notes of citrus and peaches. We recommend pairing this with seafood like fish, sushi and mussels. There is also a sweeter version of Pinot that goes well with spicy dishes.

Pairing Food With Vermentino

This wine is often compared to Sauvignon Blanc because of its citrus and green apple notes and high acidity. This wine is excellent with raw seafood like oysters, sushi and ceviche. It is also great with garlic chicken and salads. 

Pairing Food With Verdicchio

This dry Italian white wine has notes of peaches and lemon, with medium to high acidity. The unique wine has an oily texture. We recommend drinking this wine with nuts like almonds and cashews. It is also excellent with white flaky fish and seafood paella.

Pairing Food With Soave

This white wine has high minerality and notes of melon and orange zest. It has a light body but a distinct oily texture and is sometimes described as being slightly salty. Pair this with rich seafood dishes like squid ink pasta, pan seared scallops, and seafood risotto.

Pairing Food With Falanghina

Notes of citrus, honey and peaches, this dry white wine has medium acidity and body. Another great Italian wine for drinking with seafood. Shrimp, scallops, clams and mussels are all fantastic with Falanghina. Pasta with pesto or tomato based sauces are also great with this wine. 

Pairing Food With Garganega

This Italian white wine is often labeled as Soave (more on that above). It’s an easy to drink white wine with notes of peaches, melons and citrus. The best food for Garganega is seafood, like shrimp tagliatelle, pan fried fish, and seared scallops.

Pairing Food With Trebbiano

Trebbiano is actually often used to make vinegar and brandy. However, the wine is also excellent. It has notes of peaches, green apples, lemon and basil. It’s a medium bodied white wine with high acidity. Pair Trebbiano with alfredo pizza, hard Italian cheeses, grilled chicken and seafood pasta.

Pairing Food With Cortese di Gavi

Cortese is a white wine from the Piemonte, or Piedmont region of Italy made with 100% Cortese grapes. The wine has notes of peach, citrus, green apple and has a high acidity. Pair this wine with grilled vegetables, salads and fish.

Pairing Food With Prosecco

Prosecco can come in a variety of sweetness from dry to sweet. So before you choose what to pair with your Prosecco, you need to know the sweetness level. For sweet prosecco, pair it with spicy food. For dry prosecco, pair it with antipasto like prosciutto, salami and capicola. Another great pairing with prosecco is pizza. You can’t go wrong with Prosecco and pizza night!

Pairing Food With Moscato d’Asti 

Best served chilled, this sweet white wine has notes of orange, ginger, citrus and pears. It’s a well known wine that originated from Italy, but now is grown all over the world. Pair this wine with curry, hot wings, or Thai food.

Pairing Food With Lugana Doc

Known for its elegant and complex flavors, this Italian white wine with pineapple, mandarin orange, green apple and citrus flavors. Pair this wine with local Italian dishes, like seafood antipasti, creamy seafood risotto, sarde in saor (marinated sardines), luccio alla gardesana (pike in vegetable sauce). It is also great with Chinese food!

Pairing Food With Orvieto

From the Umbria region in Italy, this white wine has notes of green apple, figs, peaches and pears. It also has a hint of minerality and vanilla. Pair this wine with lemon caper chicken, coleslaw, and salmon.

Best Foods To Eat With Italian Wine

The best bet is to pair your Italian wine with an Italian dish. But there are thousands of different combinations that are all delicious. So it’s best to get adventurous and try out different food and wine pairings to see what you like. Here are some of our favorites, although there are many other great options to try.

  • Pasta
  • Ravioli
  • Lasagna
  • Carbonara
  • Risotto
  • Pizza
  • Seafood
  • Gnocchi

For more information on Italian Wines, you can find Italian Wine DOCs and Italian Wine DOCGs.

Pairing Wine With Carbonara

Pairing Wine With Ravioli

Pairing Wine With Eggplant Parmesan

Pairing Wine With Spaghetti

Pairing Wine With Lasagna

Pairing Wine With Risotto