Your Guide to Pairing Wine with Spaghetti

by JJ Buckley Fine Wines

Plate of delicately prepared spaghetti with mushrooms herbs and grated cheese

When you think of an optimal food and wine pairing, what comes to mind? If you’re like most, your mind might instantly jump to high-end meals, such as oysters and Champagne, lobster and white Burgundy, or prime rib and Merlot. While these are all fine wine food pairing options, have you ever considered what wine you might drink with spaghetti?

Every spaghetti preparation is different depending on the sauce and other items you add to it. As such, it lends itself to a wide range of different wines.‌ No matter your favorite type of spaghetti dish, there’s a wine out there that will pair wonderfully with it (and vice versa). So, if you’re looking to mix up your food and wine pairings, we’ve got a few spaghetti and wine pairing options to consider, along with tips on how to create your own perfect pairings.

Exploring Different Wine Pairing with Spaghetti Options

What makes wine pairing with spaghetti fun is that there are so many options. Here are a few great options to try:

1. Spaghetti and Meatballs With Chianti

Spaghetti and meatballs is a classic combination. It’s simple but tastes so delicious, especially when you use a family recipe to make the meatballs from scratch. Sangiovese-dominant Chianti makes a great wine pairing with this delightful dish. It’s a rich, red wine that complements the herbs and the tomato sauce beautifully. At the same time, the tannins in the wine cut through the fat of the beef. They cleanse the palate with each sip.

2. Spaghetti Carbonara With Pinot Noir

Spaghetti carbonara is a bit of a heavy dish. It’s rich and filling, full of pancetta or bacon, eggs, and cheese. Every bite is so sinfully delicious.

With such a heavy dish, you don’t want a wine that will weigh it down. Instead, a lighter wine such as  Pinot Noir would make a great pairing. The bright, refreshing acidity and fruitiness of pinot helps to offset the creaminess and richness of the carbonara. For those who prefer white wines, a light-bodied chardonnay is also an excellent choice.

3. Spaghetti and Arrabiata Sauce With Zinfandel

If you’re not already familiar with it, arrabiata sauce is a red sauce with a bit of a spicy kick. The heat comes from the addition of chili peppers. For those that enjoy a little heat, this dish makes for a tasty meal.

When it comes to an ideal wine pairing with spaghetti that has some spice to it, you want something that isn’t going to throw off the balance of the meal. A jammy, rich red like Zinfandel is your best bet here. The fruity and spiced flavors of the wine bring out the complexity of the chili peppers without overpowering the dish. Another option to consider is a dry Riesling.

4. Spaghetti Fra Diavolo With Sparkling Rosé

Fra Diavolo is a term that translates to “brother devil.”  It’s a spicy red sauce that has shrimp (although it can also have clams or lobster). Like arrabiata sauce, the heat comes from chili peppers. It’s a dish that’s too rich for white wines.

The addition of the seafood also means that tannic reds won’t work here either. Instead, try a sparkling rosé. The bubbly nature of the wine helps to bring everything together, providing you with an overall delightful experience. 

‌5. Spaghetti and Pesto Sauce With Chardonnay

Tossing spaghetti in pesto sauce gives the noodles a deliciously herbaceous flavor. The herbs do dominate the dish, so a light-bodied wine is best. One great option here is a young, unoaked Chardonnay. Most chardonnays pair well with vegetable-based dishes, and this particular type of chardonnay works well with the green herbs and the cheese in the sauce.

If you prefer red wine, you’ll want to choose something light. One of the best light reds for spaghetti with pesto sauce is Pinot Noir or an Italian Valpolicella .

‌6. Spaghetti Primavera With Sauvignon Blanc

Spaghetti primavera is a wonderfully vegetable-heavy dish, often featuring zucchini, yellow squash, peppers, grape tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli, and more. The sauce is a light cream sauce with parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and basil.

For such a vegetable-focused plate, Sauvignon Blanc makes an excellent choice. The wine highlights the freshness of the vegetables and brings their flavors to the forefront. At the same time, the wine also cuts through the fattiness of the cream and cheese in the sauce. Other options to try here include Riesling and Pinot Grigio.

Wine Pairing Tips: Complementing Your Spaghetti With the Right Wine

The above wine pairing with spaghetti options are but a few of the many incredible combinations. Feel free to experiment to see what you like best. We’ve got a few tips to help you create your ideal food and wine pairing:

  • Your sauce plays the biggest role. While you may have different proteins in your spaghetti dish, the sauce is the main component. With most spaghetti dishes, the sauce and the protein already complement one another, so the wine you choose based on the sauce will likely also complement the protein.
  • Consider the sauce type. In most cases, red wines will go with red sauces. White wines, on the other hand, tend to pair best with olive oil or cream-based sauces.
  • Account for acidity. Wines with medium to high levels of acidity often work best with tomato-based sauces. For creamy sauces, look for lighter acidity wines that won’t overpower milder flavors.
  • Look at the wine’s body. Light-bodied wines feel light and refreshing with a tomato-based sauce. Fuller-bodied wines hold up to the heaviness of cream-based sauces.

Take Your Spaghetti Meals to the Next Level

Spaghetti may not be considered one of the most refined dishes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pair it with a delicious glass of wine. On the contrary, the perfect wine pairing with spaghetti can take your meal to a whole new level, giving you an experience unlike any other.

JJ Buckley Fine Wines has wines for all of your food and wine pairing needs, including wine pairing with spaghetti. Visit us online today to view our selection or get in touch with our wine experts for some additional tips and pairing suggestions.