9 Wine and Winter Pasta Pairings

winter pasta and wine pairings

9 Winter Pasta and Wine Pairings

Looking for something to warm you up this evening? Treat yourself to a bowl of winter pasta and a glass of wine. These 9 winter pasta and wine pairings are the perfect way to warm up this season!

Thankfully, it doesn’t take long to whip up a hearty, flavorful pasta dish that the whole family will enjoy. All you need is a well paired glass of wine to make your favorite weeknight meal feel a little extra special.

Whether you love tomato sauce, creamy carbonara, or pesto, here’s how to choose the right wine for any kind of pasta. Plus, check out some of our favorite winter pasta recipes below.

A Drop of Knowledge

When looking for a wine to pair with pasta, it’s really all about the sauce. Think about the main flavors in your dish – whether it’s tomatoes, fresh herbs, or cheese – to help you choose a wine.

So, where do you start? 

Whether you prefer red or white, you really can’t go wrong with an Italian wine. Why is that?

First off, sommeliers like to say that what grows together, goes together. In other words, wine and food from the same region generally work together in harmony. 

Plus, Italian wines are considered food-friendly because they tend to have a decent amount of acidity. Some Italian reds – like those made with Sangiovese grapes – have a savory streak that can taste like tomato leaf or oregano. That’s why Chianti (a Sangiovese-based wine) pairs well with tomato sauce. 

The next thing to think about is intensity. Lighter proteins like chicken or shrimp pair well with a light-bodied wine. For heavier proteins like beef, pork, or meaty seafood like lobster, you’ll want a more robust wine. 

Wine & Pasta Pairings

winter pasta and wine pairings

Spaghetti and Meatballs

For classic spaghetti and meatballs, go with an Italian red wine like Sangiovese, Nero d’Avola, or Primitivo (aka Zinfandel). These wines work well with any kind of meat sauce – like bolognese or pork ragu.

Creamy Pasta Carbonara

Rich and creamy pasta dishes like this carbonara with winter squash, pancetta, and fresh sage or fettuccine alfredo with freshly grated parmesan pair well with a crisp white wine like Pinot Grigio. Dry and citrusy, Pinot Grigio cuts through the cream and makes a nice palette cleanser in between bites. If you prefer a red wine, try Nebbiolo or Nero d’Avola.

Sprig and Rose Pinot Grigio
Bright Cellars’ Sprig and Rose Pinot Grigio

The Sprig and Rose Pinot Grigio pairs perfectly with creamy pasta carbonara. This light-bodied wine shows flavors of tart lemon, crisp green apple, and nectarine with a hint of honey.

winter pasta and wine pairings

Pesto

If you prefer creamy pesto, go with a creamy white wine like Chardonnay or Verdicchio – an Italian white wine with aromatic notes of peach and a slightly oily texture. For a lighter pesto, go with a light-bodied white wine with herbaceous notes like Sauvignon Blanc or Grüner Veltliner.

Bright Cellars' Watchkeeper Sauvignon Blanc Bottle shot
Bright Cellars’ Watchkeeper Sauvignon Blanc

For this pesto go with a glass of the Watchkeeper Sauvignon Blanc! This wine features a zippy acidity and shows flavors of citrus, green pear, and a hint of characteristic fresh herbs.

Linguine & Clam Sauce

Seafood pasta pairs well with a light- to medium-bodied red or white wine. Pair red clam sauce with Chianti, Pinot Noir, or Beaujolais. For white clam sauce, go with a light-bodied white white like Pinot Grigio or Albariño, or a dry rosé.

winter pasta and wine pairings

Homemade Lasagna

For baked pasta dishes like hearty lasagna or baked ziti, go with a rustic Italian red like Chianti or Aglianico – a bold red wine with notes of spiced plum and black cherry – or your favorite full-bodied red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz

bright cellars bushtelly shiraz
Bright Cellars Bushtelly Shiraz

Our favorite wine for homemade lasagna is the Bushtelly Shiraz! You’ll taste notes of juicy plum, strawberry, and raspberry abound in this wine, with subtle notes of campfire smoke, black pepper, and eucalyptus on the nose.

Pasta with Olive Oil & Sauteed Veggies

If you prefer a lighter sauce made with olive oil and garlic, go with a light-bodied red wine. Pinot Noir is a great choice for pasta with sauteed mushrooms. If goat cheese is in the mix, you could go with a white wine like Pinot Grigio. Pasta primavera pairs well with a white wine like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc.

Cheesy Ravioli

Cheesy Ravioli

For cheesy pasta without meat, go with a red wine or a full-bodied white wine. If you’re using a mix of cheeses in baked ziti or meatless lasagne, sip a red wine like Chianti or Pinot Noir. Meanwhile, rich white wines like Chardonnay or Viognier make a good match for ravioli or any kind of pasta with ricotta.

Bright Cellars WellFleet Viognier
Bright Cellars’ Wellfleet Viognier

The Wellfleet Viognier is the perfect wine for a cheesy ravioli dish! This rich and opulent white has aromas of floral orange blossom and rose lead on the nose, along with juicy peach, tangerine, and guava.

Grandma’s Sunday Sauce with Sausage

Rich red sauce with flavorful sausage pairs well with a bold red wine like Primitivo, Nero d’Avola, or Shiraz. If you like spicy sausage, go with a low-ABV wine like Dolcetto or Barbera to avoid amplifying the heat. 

Skillet Mac & Cheese

Skillet Mac & Cheese

Creamy mac & cheese with crispy breadcrumbs will keep you warm this winter. Pair this decadent comfort food with a sparkling wine like Cava or fizzy Lambrusco, or a dry Riesling.

In Vino Finito

Need help finding a wine to go with your favorite pasta dish? Email us at [email protected] and we can help.

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Bright Cellars

Our staff is full of passionate wine lovers. With our amazing sommeliers at the helm, we’ve been schooled on all things wine. We came together to write this article, in hopes of spreading a little wine-ducation with you.

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