Italian food is one of the most popular cuisines in the world. It’s also one of the most popular dinner pairings with wine.
While there are many reasons for this, the main reason is that Italian wines are some of the most versatile wines in the world, and wine pairing is almost sport.
The best wines for Italian dishes are the ones that stand up to their strongly flavored ingredients but are also light enough not to overpower or obliterate subtle flavors inherent in light pasta and delicate risottos. Darker meats like beef tend to do better with hearty red wines, while white meat works well with lighter whites.
Here is the scoop on the best wine for Italian food!
1. Pinot Grigio
Topping our wine list is Pinot Grigio, an Italian food favorite. Compared to a sweet and spicy Pinot Gris, its high acidity helps cut through the oil in red sauces. Subsets of this wine, such as Alto Adige, have a distinct flavor that makes it the top choice with seafood dishes.
It is one of the Italian whites originating in Italy’s northern regions, becoming one of the most popular wines around the world. This is because it’s a very versatile white, pairing well with many different cuisines and dishes.
One of the best dishes or Italian dishes to enjoy with this wine is Italian pasta with a light sauce. This is also a good pinot noir pair.
2. Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is a bold red wine. It is a heavy red wine, making it a great choice for pairing with beef, chicken, and red meat.
Cabernet is a hearty grape that can stand up to the intense flavors of Italian food. It also has tannins which makes it one of the best wines for cleansing the palate between different foods or courses.
This compares to the sweet acidic wines that come from the Campania region in Italy.
A common misconception about Chianti is that it’s only good with Italian pasta dishes like spaghetti bolognese. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth!
This Italian wine is available with two varieties of Chianti on the market: Chianti Superiore and Chianti Classico. The former is lighter than traditional chianti while the latter is darker (and considered better quality).
Either way, both would pair well with a wide variety of dishes. Coat some olive oil on your pan, get your seafood and pasta ready, and enjoy the perfect match!
Merlot is another red grape that works well with beef and other grilled proteins. But unlike Cabernet Sauvignon, it has a light body and has more subtle flavors that can match well with many Italian dishes.
Merlot is a very approachable wine with flavors of plum and blackberries. These light fruit characteristics pair well with a squeeze of lemon juice, cooked fruits in a fresh fruit salad, or vanilla desserts.
5. Chianti Classico
Chianti Classico is the more traditional version of Chianti. It is made from 100% Sangiovese grapes and has a bolder, spicier flavor than Chianti Superiore. Vin Santo is another Chianti wine that is a great choice for getting sweet floral notes.
The flavors in this wine pair well with many Italian foods like hard cheeses and mushrooms. But like Merlot, it’s also a lighter red grape that can stand up to many different types of food.
One dish that would be a perfect pairing is spaghetti carbonara.
6. Rosso di Montalcino
The Rosso di Montalcino wine is an Italian food favorite. Just like the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, it’s a red grape sweet wine with flavors of black cherry and plum that pair well with grilled proteins like beef or chicken. It is sweet like wine made with Sangiovese grapes, or black currant.
However, it’s also light enough to enjoy on its own or with lighter pasta dishes like ravioli, tortellini, or gnocchi.
Having this wine with a regular tomato sauce or even creamy sauces will have you feeling satisfied.
7. Montepulciano D’Abruzzo
Montepulciano D’Abruzzo is one of the dry wines with earthy flavors, spiced notes of cherry, plum, raspberry, and red pepper.
It’s an Italian food favorite because it pairs well with many Italian meals and red sauces. But it also has enough depth to be enjoyed on its own or paired with cheeses like Parmesan or Pecorino Romano.
8. Brunello Di Montalcino
Brunello Di Montalcino is a red wine from the Montalcino region in Tuscany, a known part of Italy.
It’s made from 100% Sangiovese grapes with bright acidity and has flavors of cherry, raspberry, pepper, and chocolate. It’s also comparable to Nero d’Avola wines.
This wine is another Italian food favorite because it can be enjoyed with a wide variety of dishes. It particularly pairs well with pine nuts, white sauces, or hard cheeses like Parmesan or Pecorino Romano.
Barolo is an Italian food favorite for many reasons. First, it’s extremely flavorful without being overwhelming; second, it has a great structure that works well with many different types of foods; and third (and most importantly), to enjoy this wine you must stand up while drinking it!
It’s a hearty red grape that pairs well with beef, pork, and game meats (and maybe a dash of chili pepper). But it also has enough depth to be enjoyed on its own.
This is comparable to types of german rieslings, or Italian white wines. If you are a wine aficionado, this fine wine is for you!
10. Nero D’avola
A newcomer to the Italian food scene, Nero D’avola is a red wine from Sicily.
It’s an Italian food favorite because it has flavors of raspberry, plum, and chocolate. It is a perfect companion with cheeses, like Parmesan or Pecorino Romano; and (perhaps more importantly) it can be used in more than one popular cocktail!
Enjoy this versatile wine with all different types of pasta shapes and sizes!
11. Fiano di Avellino
Fiano di Avellino is a light and refreshing white wine from Campania, Italy. It’s an Italian food favorite because it pairs well with every course! It can balance tastes, and works especially well with seafood and pasta dishes as well as lighter meats, like chicken or pork.
It is a good idea to have it with red tomato sauce and an even more perfect choice for creamy tomato. Fiano di Avellino also has enough acidity to be sipped on its own as an appetizer wine.
Pecorino Romano is a hard sheep’s milk cheese that originated in Rome, Italy. As such, it’s a perfect pairing for many types of dishes. It tastes great with Italian wines like the Pecorino Romano, black cherry wines, or even lighter red wines.
The best way to enjoy it is with rich dishes like mushroom pasta. But this wine isn’t just popular among Italians. In fact, many non-Italian restaurants offer this Italian food favorite on their wine lists!
13. Greco di Tufo
Greco di Tufo of the light, crisp, and dry white wines from Campania, Italy.
It’s an Italian food favorite because it works well with many different types of dishes. But it also pairs well with cheeses like Parmesan or Pecorino Romano; some even say it works better than Fiano di Avellino.
Great pasta pairings include gnocchi, spaghetti, or ravioli.
14. Gavi di Gavi
This Italian food favorite is both crisp and refreshing, making it a good choice for many different types of dishes. It’s also extremely versatile!
Gavi di Gavi works well when paired with lighter meats like chicken, pork, or even wild boar – it can work wonders; but when paired with cheeses like Parmesan or Pecorino Romano, it becomes a star.
15. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a medium-bodied red wine from Tuscany, in southern Italy.
It’s an Italian food favorite because it pairs well with all different types of dishes, specifically seafood dishes. But like Brunello di Montalcino, it can also be enjoyed on its own or paired with harder cheeses like Parmesan or Pecorino Romano.
Made from the Lambrusco grape, Lambrusco has flavors like strawberry, raspberry, and cranberry that pair well with many different types of pasta, as well as beef and pork dishes. It is an acidic wine that works well as one of your dessert wines. Some say that it even pairs well with spicy foods!
It’s also a healthy choice, as it’s full of antioxidants and polyphenols.
17. Langhe Nebbiolo
Langhe Nebbiolo is a medium-bodied red wine from the Piedmont region in northern Italy. It’s made from rich, Nebbiolo grapes.
This is an Italian food favorite because it pairs well with a slew of different dishes, including heavier meats like beef and pork. But it gives you that bold wine taste to be enjoyed on its own!
18. Rogoro Sauvignon
Rogoro Sauvignon Blanc is a dry white wine from Abruzzo, Italy. It has a citrus flavor profile, and it’s great for Italian cuisine.
This Sauvignon Blanc is an Italian food favorite because it pairs well with all types of pasta and pasta sauces, even a bold red pesto. It also goes well with seafood and chicken dishes; it could even be paired nicely with bread or appetizers.
But it can also be sipped on its own for a nice break mid-meal!
19. Vernaccia Di San Gimignano
Vernaccia Di San Gimignano is a dry white wine from Tuscany, Italy.
It’s an Italian food favorite because it pairs well with all different types of dishes, especially tomatoes and seafood! But it also works nicely as an appetizer wine or sipper on its own. And unlike many other whites, it stands up surprisingly well to spicy foods.
20. Scanzo Chardonnay
Scanzo Chardonnay is a medium-bodied white wine from Lombardy, Italy.
It’s an Italian food favorite because it pairs well with many different types of main courses with red meats, as well as cheese plates! It also goes nicely with hard cheeses like Parmesan or Pecorino Romano. And makes for great food pairings of all natures.
You also can’t go wrong choosing a light chardonnay!
21. Vin Santo
Vin Santo, also known as “Holy Wine,” is a sweet dessert wine from Tuscany.
It’s an Italian food favorite because it pairs well with a wide array of different dishes, including cheeses and other desserts! But it can also be enjoyed on its own as a sipper.
It is a deep red wine that you can find at any Italian restaurant.
22. Cardinal Mendoza Rosé
Cardinal Mendoza Rosé is a medium-bodied rosé from Central Italy.
It’s an Italian food favorite because it goes nicely with many different types of dishes, especially lighter meats like chicken and salmon. But it can also be enjoyed on its own or paired with appetizers and cheese plates!
23. Centine Rosato
Centine Rosato is a light, dry red wine from Sicily, Italy, comparable to Nero d’Avola wine.
It’s an Italian food favorite because it pairs well with many different types of dishes, including beef, veal, pork, lamb, vegetables, pasta, seafood, poultry, cheeses, and more! But this Italian food favorite is also popularly sipped on its own or served with appetizers and cheese plates.
24. Valpolicella Ripasso
Valpolicella Ripasso is a medium-bodied red wine from the Veneto region in Italy.
It’s an Italian food favorite because it pairs well with many different types of dishes, including spicy pasta, veal, veal marsala, beef, spaghetti, pork chops, salmon, lamb, or chicken piccata! And this Italian food favorite can also be enjoyed on its own or paired with appetizers and cheese plates.
This sparkling wine is one of Italy’s most popular wines. The white grape varieties are usually the right wine for most people. It can be found in both sweet and dry varieties.
Both are great for pairing with Italian food thanks to their bubbles, which cleanse the palate between different dishes or courses. Prosecco may not have as much flavor as Chardonnay or other whites but it does make up for this with its acidity.
It is especially great with seafood, veal, chicken, spaghetti, and risotto! It is also quite refreshing and can be sipped on its own as well, although some sweet varieties work better with dessert.
Try getting a local wine, it will be more robust with flavors!
There you have the scoop on the 25 best wines for Italian food! Have other favorites? Share them with us below!
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