Moussaka is one of the most traditional Greek dishes, made as a casserole. It is made from aubergines which are thin sliced and made as layers, mixed with either lamb mince or beef mince and topped off with a creamy sauce that is a mixture of yogurt, eggs and cheese.
Since Moussaka is a rich, creamy dish with lots of red meat, naturally a red wine would be a great pairing, however we do have some white wine options to go along with our meal. We would need to have a wine higher in acidity but with enough body and richness to complement the meat and the sauce in our dish.
Wine Characteristics To Pair With Moussaka
|Acidity||Medium to High|
|Tannins||Medium to High|
|Body||Medium to full bodied white, Medium to full bodied reds|
|Tasting Notes||Citrus, green fruit, butter, red fruit, black fruit, cream|
Sweetness – Due to the components of the dish, we would naturally look for a dry wine to go along with the dish.
Acidity– Higher acidity level will help cut through the creaminess and the richness of the dish and make the dining experience feel a lot more delicious and refreshing.
Tannins – For the red wine choices we would look for wines with a medium to high tannin level to help break down the beef or lamb mince, but not to overpower our dish.
Body – Moussaka can be quite heavy, and choosing a wine with a light body might make it look weak compared to the dish. Therefore we would opt out for a medium to full bodied wine, for both white and red choices.
Tasting notes – For the white wine choices, we would need to have a bit of green fruit and citrus fruit to give us freshness, but also butter and milk to go along with the sauce.
For the red wines, we would go for a slightly darker fruit flavor profile to complement the beef and the lamb but also for some creaminess for the sauce.
Best Red Wine To Drink With Moussaka
Moussaka is typically made with lamb or beef as we mentioned previously and for these obvious reasons, red wine will make a great and sophisticated pairing. Red meat with red wine usually gives an amazing symphony of flavors on the palate. Here are a few of our favorites to try for yourself.
Agiorgitiko From Nemea, Greece
If we were to follow the old saying of “What grows together, goes together” we would go for a Greek wine to complement our Moussaka. The first pick would be Agiorgitiko from Nemea. The appellation is located in the Peloponnese region where vineyards can be found at higher altitude which conserves the freshness and the acidity of the wine.
The tannin level is slightly higher and they usually have a fuller body. The taste profile is that of a darker fruit with just the right touch of oak. They most often go through something called MLF (Malolactic fermentation), which gives the wines creamy, buttery aromas and flavors. For all these reasons we would suggest Agiorgitiko, for a full Greek experience.
Zinfandel from USA
Typically grown in California, the best coming from Lodi, this wine has a great structure with velvety tannins. It is packed with red and black fruit aromas but it is most often slightly spicy and creamy due to oak and MLF. Originally from Croatia, it has been widely planted in Puglia and called Primitivo, it was brought to the USA where it has settled and it was given the name Zinfandel.
Mavrotragano from Greece
Another Greek gem, indigenous to the island of Santorini, its name is pretty self explanatory. Mavro meaning black and tragano meaning crisp, it gives full bodied, dark fruit oriented wines. It has a moderate acidity and lots of complexity. It is almost always aged in oak and with a bit of bottle age on top of that this wine will have a lot of character, you will love it with your Moussaka.
Aglianico from Italy
Grown in the far south of Italy, mostly in Basilicata and Campania it is a wine that commands respect. High tannin level in youth, high acidity, full body and dark fruit character, with a bit of age this wine will make a wonderful experience with your main course.
Best White Wine To Drink With Moussaka
If reds are not your favorites, worry not, we got you covered with a couple of good choices.
Chenin Blanc from France
One of the most known grapes in the world, planted extensively in France and South Africa it produces complex wines with a stellar acidity. If you manage to get your hands on a bottle from Savenniers in the Loire Valley you will not be disappointed. Full bodied, high in acidity, huge flavor complexity and just the right amount of oak.
Sauvignon Blanc from USA
We have here a herbal, slightly green wine on the nose which is usually produced in a Fume Blanc style in the USA. These wines are usually barrel fermented and barrel aged which gives it an enormous richness with a creamy, milky palate and a full body. It will complement the aubergines and the sauce on top of your moussaka.
Marsanne-Roussanne from France
This traditional blend from the Rhone valley makes great, age worthy wines. Marsanne gives wines with a fuller body and an oily texture while Roussanne gives acidity and freshness to the wine. They are usually blended in the appellation of Crozes-Hermitage and Hermitage, where they are also barrel aged to add on the complexity.
Best Wine To Drink With Moussaka
The list below will point to you an order of wines which will work the best with your Moussaka.
The wines have a good structure, lots of intensity and acidity complemented with herbal and creamy aromas.
- Agiorgitiko from Greece
- Zinfandel from USA
- Chenin Blanc from France
- Sauvignon Blanc from USA
- Marsanne-Roussanne from France
- Mavrotragano from Greece
- Aglianico from Italy