Pairing the right wine with right kind of foods is an important part of delivering a delightful food experience. This proposition becomes slightly complex when the food in question is pasta, an extremely versatile and complex dish in its own right.
Just as wine has so many blends, flavours, and textures, pasta can also be made with several different ingredients making the task of matching their chemistry an uphill task.
But it can be done!
Here is a quick guide on how you can perfectly pair different kinds of pasta and wines for that special evening with family and friends.
Pair Cabernet Sauvignon with Tomato Sauce Based Pasta
Red wine has deep flavours like dark berries, oak spice, and violets and is rich and hearty. Considering that red wine is full-bodied, it is best to pair it with a pasta that also has strong flavours. Else, it will simply overpower the flavours in the food. Tomato-based pasta sauces work best with red wine as they tend to balance the richness of the wine with the acidity in the tomatoes. The flavours then complement each other and create a great fusion.
Pair Pinot Noir with Cheesy Pasta
Pinot Noir is a light red that has subtle flavours from raspberry, black cherry, rhubarb, and cola. When paired with a cheesy pasta, these really come into their own due to the sharp bite from cheese. If the pasta has root vegetables, it makes the pairing even better as the vegetables then lend an earthy flavour profile to the food.
Pair Merlot with Pasta Containing Bacon and Mushrooms
Merlot is a full-bodied wine which has a light and soft texture. With delicate flavours and aromas of the plums, blackberries, and herbs, Merlot goes every well with the sharp flavour profile of tomato-based pastas that have significant helpings of bacon and mushrooms.
Pair Sauvignon Blanc with Pasta with an Oil-Based Sauce
Sauvignon Blanc is a light and extremely youthful white wine that has signature flavour profiles of citrus and tropical fruits. It is fruity and fresh. Hence, a pasta made with a sauce from an oil base such as pesto, generous quantities of basil, and pine nuts make this wine and pasta combo a delightful one. A word of caution though! If you plan to add some herbs also to the pasta (as is common with pesto), please make sure that its flavour blends well with Sauvignon Blanc.
Pair Chardonnay with Pasta Based on Cream-Based Sauce
Chardonnay is a versatile wine that can be made in several blends depending upon the climate of the place and the use of oak. Unoaked chardonnays from cool climates such as Burgundies have notes of green apple and crushed rock with high levels of natural acidity. On the other hand, oaked examples from hotter regions have richer textures and tropical fruit and butterscotch flavours. The unoaked ones work best with cream or oil-based pastas with mixed vegetables whereas the oaked Chardonnays work best with vegetarian lasagne and spaghetti carbonara.
Pair Pinot Grigio with Spicy Seafood Pasta
Pinot Grigio is a medium-bodied wine that is pale in colour. Their flavours and aromas range from stone fruit to bitter almond to fruity, dry, and spicy depending on the region where they are grown. This versatility helps in pairing it best with seafood. A plate of pasta with shrimp, garlic, and pepper makes for a lovely pairing with Pinot Grigio.
If you are a little adventurous and like to experiment with different food, flavour and aromas, this information is all you need to create excellent pairings of different wines and pastas. Try it.