Whether you’re dining on carbonara, bolognese, or risotto, there’s a wine to match your Italian meal. While wines from Italy certainly pair well with this country’s cuisine, wines from around the world can also match up with Italian dishes. So, don’t limit yourself to the Italian section of your local wine and spirits store.
Check out this list of the seven best wines to pair with Italian food, pour a glass of vino, and get ready to enjoy your meal.
Hailing from the Abruzzo region of Italy, this is a dry, acidic red with noticeable hints of fruit like cherry and plum as well as notes of oregano and tobacco. Its earthy and tannin-rich flavor pairs well with heavy meats including beef and lamb as well as with tomato-based dishes including lasagna.
A mellow red with medium-body, Merlot pairs well with a variety of Italian dishes. The best Merlots contain distinct notes of black fruits balanced with oak and herbs. Many Merlots can pair well with less rich dishes such as roast vegetables or fennel meatballs, yet they stand up to short ribs and fatty bolognese.
Although it originated in France, Cabernet Sauvignon is now produced around the world. This full-bodied red coats your tongue with rich black-fruit flavors and young wines have a detectable sweetness. To complement these flavors, try pairing with roast lamb, bruschetta, panzanella, and pasta with red sauce or pesto.
One of the lightest-bodied red wines, Pinot Noir can pair well with dishes that other red wines tend to overpower. Plus, it’s not out of the question to pair Pinot Noir with dishes containing white sauces. Try it with quail, red sauces, and also dishes with alfredo and béchamel.
This white wine is typically on the sweeter side, but certain locations produce drier Rieslings. Both types pair well with lighter Italian dishes such as seafood and poultry, especially if these contain lemon or wine sauces. Riesling also pairs well with desserts.
Pinot Grigio is a crisp and light-bodied wine that is usually semi-dry. Aromas typically include refreshing citrus coupled with undertones of honey. This white wine is the perfect pairing for antipasti dishes including marinated vegetables and seafood. It also complements chicken and fish dishes as well as light cheeses like ricotta and mozzarella.
Although it’s not as mainstream and prevalent as some of the aforementioned wines, Barolo shouldn’t be left off this list. Hailing from the Piedmont region of Italy, this is a robust red that can stand up to even the richest and heartiest dishes. If you’re looking for a wine to pair with truffle laden pasta or beef stew, Barolo is an excellent choice.
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