Pizza, Spaghetti and Tortellini | Wine Pairings for Italian Classics

Pizza, Spaghetti and Tortellini | Wine Pairings for Italian Classics


There are few things as important as food to Italian culture and most importantly these 3 evergreen dishes which seem to be found throughout every corner of the world. Those dishes are spaghetti with tomato sauce, pizza and tortellini. There are plenty of Italian stereotypes, such as the Italian who spends most of his day eating and basking in the sun. But when it comes to food, perhaps a few stereotypes are true – the food in Italy is amazing and it’s no wonder since there is a restaurant and pizzeria on almost every corner of every city and village in the country.

Now, let’s see what we can do with these dishes. Spaghetti, pizza and tortellini are classic Italian dishes which have become somewhat of a symbol of the country. But let’s remember that Italy is not only famous for its food, but also for its wine so the question is – what are the best wines to pair with these Italian specialties? Here is a quick guide to how to pair the best Italian dishes to Italian wines.

1) Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce. Durum wheat pasta, peeled tomatoes, fresh olive oil, a clove of garlic and basil for freshness. Nothing more, nothing less. This simple dish has become successful all around the world, and should be served with a wine which enhances the acidity and freshness of this dish. The ideal choice is a fresh white wine such as a Vermentino, a Frascati Superiore or a Verdicchio. Each of these wines have an expressive readiness which offers the perfect balance to the acidity of the tomato, without dulling it.

2) Pizza. This is a dish which has become almost synonymous with the word “Italy”. Its Neapolitan origins make this dish a perfect pairing for a regional wine such as the sparkling wine of Gragano. Its ruby red coloring with violet hues which are dry and straightforward make for a perfect accompaniment for even the boldest of flavors such as that of pizza. Another interesting wine to pair with pizza is a Chianti Classico, especially for pizzas with toppings or fillings. The rich tannins of a Sangiovese wine dries and warms the mouth after a satisfying bite of freshly baked pizza. Seeing is believing so try it.

3) Tortellini. This traditional pasta which is cooked in broth is a classic stuffed pasta which also pairs well with a classic regional wine. An Emilia Lambrusco from the edge of the Po Valley is perfect for this light fare. We recommend a structured wine, rich in tannins which leaves the mouth and palate clean before you have even another bite. Another wine is a Nobile di Montepulciano or a Farnito Cabernet Sauvignon, which soften the dish and give a fresh perspective to the fullness of the dish.

Bonus track – Fettuccini Alfredo. No list would be complete without the well-known fettuccini alfredo which is a popular dish of the United States, and is virtually unknown in Italy except in 2 historic restaurants. One of these restaurants is in Rome, which bears the name of the creator of this recipe – double butter and Parmesan cheese, melted directly at the table with the pasta cooking water. Butter and Parmesan cheese go perfect with red wine that balances the fatness on the palate after eating such as heavy dish. We recommend a Chianti Classico or a wine with equivalent expressive power such as a Cesanese del Piglio or a Barbera from Piedmont.