5 Tips on Wine & Pasta Pairing

By April, 11 2024

When it comes to crafting exceptional pasta pairings, we abide by two guiding principles:


1. “What grows together goes together.”
2. Create a congruent pairing, where the flavours in the wine match those in the dish.


After scouring the shelves of The Bottle Store in Al Ghadeer, we’ve unearthed some versatile wines for pasta pairing, each a standout choice for wine enthusiasts.


This may be obvious, but pairing Italian wines with Italian cuisine is traditional, and pasta seamlessly fits into this category. Italy’s wine styles and dishes have evolved together for generations, with wine being an integral part of the meal rather than wine drinking being a stand-alone activity. Italian wines typically boast well-integrated flavours, creating a balanced harmony that enhances the dining experience without overshadowing the food. This characteristic makes them ideal for food pairing, allowing the flavours of the dish to shine while providing subtle nuances and palate-cleansing acidity and tannins.


To create a successful pairing, it’s crucial to focus on complementing the flavours in the sauce as that’s where the most flavour in a pasta dish comes from. Identify the dominant flavor or character of the sauce and select a wine that harmonizes with it.


Herbaceous & Citrussy Pastas

For herb-infused pasta dishes like those featuring pesto sauce, opt for a light and refreshing match like Ricossa Gavi. This wine generally has notes of lemon, green apple, and some lightly herbal notes like fennel. Similarly, seafood pastas like spaghetti vongole pair well with this style of wine, too, as their citrusy notes complement the lemon zest and juice often found in these dishes.


Tomato Based Pastas

When enjoying tomato-based pasta dishes like Bolognese or lasagna, reach for a Chianti. Chiantis vary in quality, but even an entry-level selection can elevate the dining experience. We particularly savored the Villa Saletta Chianti from The Bottle Store; it truly stood out among the Chiantis we’ve sampled recently.


Cream & Cheese Dominant Pastas

Opt for full-bodied white wines for pastas rich in cheese or cream, such as Alfredo, Carbonara, or Risotto. Look for wines from the warmer southern regions of Italy, where the hot climate yields richer wine styles. We paired ours with a Chardonnay from Planeta in Sicily, which mirrors the creamy characters of the dish and possesses enough flavour strength to complement it.


Mushroom & Truffle Pastas

If mushrooms take centre stage in the dish, as in truffle risotto, opt for an aged red wine as they develop earthy mushroom notes over time. Finding an aged wine right off the shelf can be tricky, but look for something eight years or older. Look out for Barbera or Barolo, too, as these wines take on mushroom notes with age.


Red Meat Pastas

For pasta loaded with big chunks of tender red meat, like a braised beef ragu, consider pairing it with a full-bodied Southern Italian red like Rinforzo Salento Primitivo. This type of wine boasts a robust flavour profile to stand up to the dish, while its subtle dried-fruit sweetness complements the caramelized richness of the beef and jus.



The Wines we tasted

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