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What Wine Goes With Pasta? Pairing Guide

What Wine Goes With Pasta? Pairing Guide

Pasta is a hearty, filling dish. However, pasta just isn’t complete until it’s served with a glass of wine. 

Depending on the type of wine, it can refresh the palette or elevate the pasta dish. If pasta is paired with the wrong wine, a delicious dish can turn disgusting dish. 

That’s why you must be careful when pairing wine with pasta. Nevertheless, you should drink a glass of wine with a wine that enhances the sauce. 

Do You Drink Red or White Wine With Pasta?

Both red and white have different flavor profiles. Some red wines work better with pasta dishes, while white wines pair well with pasta. So both red wines and white wines can be served with white wines. 

Pasta tossed with homemade tomato sauce pairs well with dry white wines, but sweet wines will ruin the pasta dish.

In contrast, if it is spaghetti Bolognese, it will pair well with medium-body red wines with a moderate amount of tannins.

However, pasta with meat sauce does not pair well with complex wines aged in oaked barrels, so avoid oaked wines at all costs. 

What Wine Goes Best With Red Sauce Pasta?

Tomato sauce is very acidic. If the wine’s acidity does not match the acidity levels in the tomato sauce, the wine will taste flavorless. Therefore, medium-bodied red wines are better.

Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are excellent pairings for red sauce pasta. 

What Wine Goes Best With Cream Sauce Pasta?

Cheese and cream sauces pair perfectly with several wines.

Full-bodied white wines have a strong butter-like feel with a mildly tart flavor that complements cream-based pasta perfectly. 

Choose white wines aged in oak barrels for cheese or cream sauces.

The wine has a naturally creamy texture, and the slightly tart flavor cuts through the rich, creamy sauce and cleanses the palette. 

You can also serve light-bodied red wines with cream or cheese-based pasta.

These red wines have a fruity flavor and floral aroma that works pairs well with cream-based sauces made with pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano. 

Overall, Chardonnay, Grenache, Viognier, Pinot Noir, Trebbiano, and Gamay work well with cream-based sauces.

What Wine Pairs With Pasta?

Pairing any wine with pasta is simply unfair. When choosing wine pairings, you need to pay attention to the type of pasta. 

Every wine does not go with every pasta. Different wines pair well with seafood pasta, while others pair well with creamy pasta. Overall, you need a wine that amplifies the pasta’s flavor. 

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir has robust earthy notes. The complex flavors pair well with tomato-based dishes like marinara or a meat-based tomato sauce. 

However, Pinot Noir is as versatile as pasta. It also pairs perfectly with pesto. Furthermore, you can serve a fruity Pinot Noir with cream-based pasta. 


Chardonnay is extremely popular. It pairs perfectly with creamy pasta. Moreover, Chardonnay enhances the flavor of cream-based sauces more than any other type of pasta dish.

Chardonnay can also pair well with spaghetti carbonara. However, make sure it is a young or mature oaked Chardonnay. Young Chardonnay wines also work with vegetable lasagna, mushroom pasta, and pesto pasta. 


Riesling may not be your first pick for a hearty pasta dish, but it complements pasta so well. Paired with a mushroom sauce, you will notice Riesling has rich notes of pear and peach and subtle floral notes. 

Riesling also works and will also pair beautifully with puttanesca sauce. Riesling is slightly sweet, so it’s best to pair it with warm, robust, and creamy sauces. If your pasta contains meat, Riesling pairs best with chicken or pork. 


Sangiovese is compared to Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. However, Sangiovese is not as robust as Cabernet Sauvignon or as subtle as Merlot. 

Sangiovese is a fruity, tannic wine that pairs well with tomato sauces. The cherry and violet notes bring a bright acidity that cleanses the palette. Serve Sangiovese wine with lasagna, spaghetti, and meatballs, or spaghetti Bolognese. 

You can also serve Sangiovese wine with pasta sauce tossed with basil pasta. The fruity flavors will enhance the flavors of the basil and garlic in the pesto. 


Merlot is a famous red wine with a smooth viscosity and fruity profile. However, it does not have the astringent flavor that is common in tannic wines. 

The sweet flavor of Merlot pairs perfectly with tomato-based pasta like lasagna. The sweetness balances out the lasagna’s acidic tomato sauce and savory, cheesy flavor.

 However, never serve Merlot wine with a cream-based pasta sauce. Merlot wine does not have enough acidity to cut through the rich, creamy sauce. 

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is a popular, versatile red wine that pairs well with most pasta dishes. There are so many types of Cabernet Sauvignon it’s best to pay attention to the primary and secondary flavors.

Generally, Cabernet Sauvignon has a warm spice flavor that resembles coffee and vanilla. However, it also has notes of black currant. Some varieties of stone fruits. 

Nevertheless, it’s best to choose a high-quality tannic Cabernet Sauvignon. The bitterness from the Cabernet sauvignon will balance out the acidic tomato sauce. 


Zinfandel is a rich red wine that is reminiscent of Cabernet Sauvignon because of its high levels of tannins. Zinfandel works best with spicy pasta sauces. The bitter and acidic flavors of the Zinfandel balance out the spicy flavor. 

You can serve Zinfandel with spicy tomato-based sauces. You can even cream sauces with Zinfandel. The wine will not disrupt the flavor of the cream-based pasta. 

Final Thoughts 

Wine pairings can be complex. Yes, there are general rules about pairing wines and pasta. However, pasta and wine pairings all come down to personal preference. 

Nevertheless, nothing compares to enjoying the perfect wine with the perfect pasta. 

You can serve pasta with any of the wines on this list. However, you can also experiment with different red wines. As long as the wine compliments the flavor of the pasta dish, it will be a stellar pairing.