Wine tasting and wine pairing
10/18/2021 Federico Oldenburg, journalist specializing in wines
12/29/2021 Federico Oldenburg, journalist specializing in wines
2nd of november 2023
Who doesn’t like pasta? This classic food from the Alpine country is suitable for any occasion, and it will certainly be even more enjoyable with the right pairing of wine and pasta. But what is the best wine to pair with pasta? Does pasta go with white or red wine? It may seem like a simple matter, but you will discover a wide range of surprising options below.
Rigattone, fetuccini, spaghetti, farfalle or tortellini are just some of the many varieties of pasta you can find on the market. With ingredients such as durum wheat semolina, water and salt, the Italians have succeeded in creating a myriad of world-renowned dishes. Long, short or stuffed, al dente or more tender, with one texture or another, the concept is always the same: a cooked pasta that offers a fairly neutral flavour and goes with all kinds of sauces that give it personality.
So, choosing a wine for pasta will not depend on the preparation, but on the sauce with which you are going to finish the dish (tomato, meat, cheese...). This is key.
Tomato sauce is a classic for these dishes. Whether using a ready-made sauce or fresh homemade one, there are several ingredients that can be added, so when it´s time to choose a wine, making it one of the most versatile options.
Tomato adds an important taste factor: acidity. It may be watered down, but it is always there to a greater or lesser extent. To attenuate and match this characteristic of the tomato, for this type of recipe you should choose a wine that is not very acidic, so forget about a young white wine. Go for a red Crianza wine with low acidity, either single varietal or blended. For instance, an Ederra Crianza is an excellent choice.
If you opt for a Bolognese sauce or add meat to the tomato, the pairing of pasta and wine changes, as the recipe has a higher fat content. In this case, we recommend a fuller-bodied wine, such as a Legaris Crianza or one with Ribera de Duero Designation of Origin.
When you hear the word pesto, that delicious and intense green sauce made of basil, olive oil, parmesan cheese and pine nuts come to mind. And yes, that is indeed the traditional recipe for pesto from Genoa. But generally speaking, it can be anything with a green leafy vegetable and nuts as the main ingredient. So, a range of possibilities of wines for pasta with pesto sauce opens up.
For a traditional basil sauce, with that powerful and concentrated taste of the aromatic herb and cheese, a white wine with fruity or floral hints is ideal. Legaris Sauvignon Blanc de Rueda with its herbaceous and fresh notes is the perfect wine for pasta with any green leafy sauce.
For a more daring option, try this Raventos de Alella Pansa Blanca, is a perfect wine for pasta with pesto sauce. You won't be disappointed by its intense aroma of white fruit and its Mediterranean origin.
In this case, the combination of wine & cheese will always depend on the type of cheese you use. A fresh cheese sauce is not the same as one made with strong, hard cheeses. In any case, what defines this kind of recipe is its smoothness and creaminess, so the best choice is a silky wine that maintains and enhances these sensations.
A great choice of wine for pasta with cheese sauce is a Rueda wine Verdejo. For example, La Charla, is a Verdejo with an initial freshness and just the right acidity, can become the perfect accompaniment to this type of sauce. Any other options? A Raimat Chardonnay varietal is a well-balanced white wine for pairing pasta with cheese sauce that will also be a hit.
If you love stronger cheeses, you will need a light red wine with floral touches for this combination of pasta and wine with cheese sauce. With these aromas and a very silky mouthfeel, Bruberry is a Montsant’s red wine good wine for harder cheeses.
The typical seafood sauce is another classic of Italian cuisine, which is not surprising considering that much of the country's perimeter is coastline. This type of recipe, either in a sauce or with whole ingredients, requires a wine that brings out these seafood flavours.
For pairing pasta with seafood, a white wine, fresh white with fresh floral aromas is ideal. Try a Bach Viña Extrísima, is a Catalonian wine that will surprise you with the combination of aromas and flavours.
If the sauce has tomato in it, why not try a rosé wine? Although they are often overlooked, you can find delicious rosés that will not disappoint you. Vol D'Ànima de Raimat Rosé is a perfect example of this. Taste this rosé wine with tomato sauce and seafood and you will believe in rosé wines again.
Now is time to choose a wine to pairing Tortellini or Ravioli, which are in a separate category of typical pasta dishes. However, don’t forget that they are always topped with a sauce at the end. The wine for cream pasta (which is usually light) must go with the sauce and the stuffing. There are an infinite number of possibilities of wine pairings with ravioli or tortellini that you can try. Take into account everything we have explained and apply it according to the ingredients. For instance, a red Crianza wine and beef tortellini with tomato sauce are a perfect pairing. Also, a young white wine (like this Ánec Mut White a Penedès D.O.) with cod ravioli with almond sauce are a perfect match.
The great versatility and infinite ways of preparing pasta give you the option of using it in simpler dishes that can be prepared in 15 minutes or in much more complex recipes. Regardless, you always have a wine with pasta for every occasion that will ensure a perfect tasting and pairing experience.
If you follow some of our tips, we are certain you will find the ideal combination of wine with pasta. Remember that at 15 Bodegas’ online wine store we have the wines mentioned in this post and many more. Visit us, discover, choose and enjoy.