Spaghetti – one of Italy’s finest pastas, enjoyed all around the world in all kinds of dishes and cuisine.
It’s easily one of the most beloved go-to pastas to serve up for a filling yet simple dinner, so you may find yourself serving up some classic spaghetti to your guests for dinner.
However, where a lot of people get stuck is when it comes to the wine. Each wine has its own profile which makes it ideal to pair with certain foods. So, which wine goes best with spaghetti?
Let’s find out!
It’s All In The Sauce
When pairing the ideal wine with your dinner, it’s important to look at the flavors on offer in your meal.
Spaghetti itself is not the main source of flavor in a meal. Sure, it makes up the bulk but that’s because spaghetti is the carb-based pasta that fills up our stomachs.
The flavor of the meal comes from the sauce you serve up with the spaghetti – such as the bolognese or the carbonara.
The sauce will often be accompanied by some meat and spices which also impact the flavor of the meal overall – and also impacts which wine works best with the dish.
So, when trying to pair a wine with your spaghetti dish, think more about the sauce and less about the spaghetti itself.
The spaghetti will be getting most of its flavor from the sauce so focus on finding the best wine to pair with the sauce rather than the plain spaghetti.
The issue you now face is that there are so many different sauces that are served with spaghetti!
This makes pairing wine with spaghetti dishes super difficult because not only are there tons of different sauces you can choose from, but each recipe has its own quirks which can influence the end result.
So, let’s try and pair some amazing wines with popular spaghetti dishes so you have a good basis to make your pairing from!
Which Wine With Which Dish?
Here we are going to take a look at some popular flavors and ingredients used in common spaghetti dishes so you can use this information to help judge which wine will work best with your spaghetti dish.
Let’s dive right in!
Tomato Heavy Spaghetti Sauce
Tomatoes are the go-to ingredient for an amazing spaghetti sauce,such as a pomodoro or a ragu.
They’re used in a range of sauces and often accompanied by other ingredients such as meats or wines, but a lot of spaghetti sauces are mostly made up of tomatoes.
As a result, some spaghetti sauces come with an acidic flavor due to the reliance on tomatoes in its recipe.
This gives the dish a strong, sharp kick of tang with every bite and as a result, your wine needs to complement this acidic flavor.
If your spaghetti wine is acidic and tangy, you will need an acidic wine to pair with it. Without these acidic notes, your wine will taste bland in comparison and the pairing will be a poor match.
The whole point of pairing a good wine with your food is to enhance the taste of both – not to wash one out with the other! So, you will need an acidic wine for an acidic dish – but what wine?
You can get both acidic red and white wine, ranging from Merlots to Pinot Grigo or Sauvignon Blanc.
Even a nice Rose will suit a tomato-heavy spaghetti sauce so you have a lot of choice to choose from when it comes to this kind of dish.
Cheesy Spaghetti Sauce
Not all pasta sauces are made from tomatoes. Instead, some prefer a lighter and creamier texture, and chefs achieve this by making super cheesy pasta sauces instead.
One great example is the classic carbonara, but you can also find alfredo sauces with a similar taste and texture.
If you are using a cheese-based sauce for your spaghetti dish, then an acidic wine will not do. You will need something lighter in order to complement the creamy texture of the sauce rather than something sharp to contrast it.
As a result, wines such as a Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir or a Lambrusco will match nicely to a cheese-based spaghetti sauce. This is because these wines are all light bodied and thus the perfect quality to match with a light, creamy pasta sauce.
Meaty Spaghetti Sauce
A lot of pasta sauces will contain meats like chicken, pork, or seafood. So, it’s also important to keep these key ingredients in mind when choosing your wine along with the base of the spaghetti sauce.
Ragus and carbonaras all contain meat too so keep in mind the flavor of the meat when choosing the right wine for your meal.
Full bodied wines work great with strong meats like pork, beef, and chicken, but you can also get away with a more medium bodied wine too.
This is because the high amounts of tannin work great as a palate cleanser for those meat fats, allowing your taste buds to reset after each sip of wine. So, the fattier your meat, the more tannins you should aim for in your wine.
Keep this in mind when searching for the right wine to pair with your meal, along with the overall flavors and textures of the sauce.
Chardonnay or Riesling are great full-bodied wines to choose for a meaty spaghetti sauce but they should also reflect the needs for your sauce too.
For seafood, it’s a little different. Seafood often comes with a far more delicate flavor that can easily be overpowered by a full bodied wine, so swap this for something a little more light bodied in order to keep those flavors in tact.
Pinot Grigio is a great option along with Chablis or a Rose.
As you can see, the true answer to the question ‘what wine goes with spaghetti’ is truly – every wine!
You shouldn’t aim to match a wine with the spaghetti itself but the sauce, and there are tons of different pasta sauces you could be eating.
So, check its ingredients and flavors and use the above guide to find the right wine! Good luck!