Cacio e Pepe is a staple of Italian cuisine said to have been invented in the Roman empire. This pasta dish is as simple as it can be with the main ingredients being pasta, cheese and black pepper.
The cheese used is usually Pecorino cheese which is a hard, salty cheese made from sheep milk. This hard cheese usually pairs well with red wine and we have black pepper in the dish which can be paired well with red wine too. However there are some white wine options as well to go well with this dish. We would need wines with medium level of acidity, low to medium tannins for red wines, medium body and a bit of creamy texture to complement the cheese.
Wine Characteristics To Pair With Cacio e Pepe
|Tannins||Low to Medium|
|Body||Medium Bodied White, Light to Medium bodied reds|
|Tasting Notes||White Wine Notes – Citrus, green fruit, butter
Red Wine Notes – Red fruit, black pepper
Sweetness – This classic pasta dish is simply begging for bone dry wines, and we would recommend sticking to wines without any sugar.
Acidity – Medium levels of acidity are just enough for this staple of Italian cuisine. If you go for a wine with a higher acidity level you won’t make a big mistake, however a medium level is just enough.
Tannins – Low to medium levels of tannins should be the range that you should consider, as a higher level of tannins will overpower the pasta.
Body – When we are considering white wines, stick to a medium body, however when it comes to reds, go for a range from light to medium bodied.
Tasting Notes – Citrus fruit aromas with a bit of green fruit and a slight butter aroma and flavor are going to do the trick. When it comes to red wines, stick to a core of red fruit complemented by black pepper aromas.
Best Red Wine To Drink With Cacio e Pepe
Cacio e Pepe is a pasta dish and naturally we would think going for a white wine, but the hard Pecorino cheese pairs well with red wines too. The salty cheese needs an acidic red wine with low to medium tannins to balance the heavy flavor.
We would suggest, if you would go for a red wine, to stick to wines that are light to medium in body, low to medium in tannins and medium to high in acidity.
Barbera from Italy
We would suggest going for this classic Barbera from the Piemonte region. Packed with dense flavors of red and black fruit, with hints of black pepper it will complement the flavors of the Cacio e Pepe. The wines are light to medium in body, high in acidity and low to medium in tannins, just what is needed for this classic italian dish.
Pinot Noir from the USA
We would suggest having a Pinot Noir from California with Cacio e Pepe. These wines are usually quite flavorful, with expressive aromas. Being light to medium in body, medium in tannins and high in acidity, they will work well with Cacio e Pepe.
Gamay from France
The third suggestion is a Gamay from Beaujolais and this is a grape variety with lots of red fruit aromas and a high acidity. Usually very low in tannins, however when grown properly in one of ten crus that are in the region, they have medium tannins and a slightly fuller body.
We would suggest having a Gamay from one of ten crus. Look for a Fleurie or Morgon.
Best White Wine To Drink With Cacio e Pepe
White wines are a good suggestion with most pasta dishes. The acidity of white wines with the freshness that they have works quite well with pasta and that’s the case here too.
What you will need is a wine with a higher acidity level as the saltiness of the cheese makes wines seem flabby if they don’t have a good acidity level.
The body of the wine should be medium and if you got some oak influence it will definitely help the texture and will make this pairing perfect.
Frascati Superiore Riserva from Italy
We decided to suggest a wine that comes from the region of Lazio in Italy, the same region where this pasta dish originates from. Frascati Superiore is made from grape varieties Malvasia del Lazio or Malvasia Bianca di Candia with few more grapes allowed to be blended.
The Riserva wines are aged in oak for a minimum of a year and this adds to the texture of the wine which helps to pair well with Cacio e Pepe.
Chardonnay from France
These fine wines from Burgundy are usually fermented and aged in oak which gives a rounder texture and smoke aromas to complement the citrus and green fruit. They also undergo malolactic fermentation which gives more creamy flavors and this pairs perfectly with the creamy side of Cacio e Pepe.
Riesling from Germany
Rieslings from the winemaking region of Baden tend to be a tiny bit more fuller bodied than the ones from the more northern regions. This allows the wine to be able to stand up to the fuller flavors of the Pecorino cheese, however the acidity of these Rieslings cut through the cheese and cleanse your palate perfectly.
Best Wine To Drink With Cacio e Pepe
We have composed a list of our suggestions for wines to have with Cacio e Pepe. These wines will make your dining experience sophisticated and they will work perfectly with your favorite pasta dish.
- Barbera from Italy
- Pinot Noir from the USA
- Frascati Superiore Riserva from Italy
- Chardonnay from France
- Chianti Classico from Italy