Dinner table with food and wine glasses filled with red and white wine

The best wines to drink with pasta

Discover how to match wine with classic pasta recipes, such as carbonara, lasagne and macaroni cheese. Our wine expert talks through the characteristics of popular wines and explains why they match with pasta.

Wine expert Henry Jeffreys works with the BBC Good Food team to collate our exclusive BBC Good Food Wine Club cases. Read about the flavour profiles of various bottles, and get some inspiration for pairing wines with pasta dishes.

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Read about how to join the BBC Good Food Wine Club

Wine pairing at a glance:

Valpolicella food pairing: Spaghetti carbonara
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo food pairing: Lasagne
Vinho verde food pairing: Seafood pasta
Sicilian red food pairing: Pasta with tomato sauce
Chilean pinot noir: Macaroni cheese

Best wine to serve with carbonara – valpolicella (red)


Carbonara is a very rich dish, so you want a refreshing wine, but you do want a bit of tannin too, as parmesan and tannin meld beautifully. A valpolicella, with its bittersweet cherry flavour and refreshing finish, fits the bill perfectly.
Serve valpolicella with next-level spaghetti carbonara

Best wine to serve with lasagne – montepulciano d’Abruzzo (red)


Almost any Italian red would work with lasagne, but montepulciano is particularly good as it’s rich and generous, just like a properly made lasagne.
Serve montepulciano d’Abruzzo with classic lasagne

Best wine to serve with seafood pasta – vinho verde from Portugal (white)


With its bright, clean, almost saline flavours, this northern Portuguese wine complements the freshness of good seafood. Expect lemons and apple blossom from this tangy, low-alcohol white wine.
Serve vinho verde with shellfish, orzo & saffron stew

Best wine to serve with pasta & tomato sauce – Sicilian red


Vegetarian, tomato-based pasta sauces, such as pomodoro, arrabbiata or marinara, can be tricky to pair with wine as tomatoes are high in acidity, which can overwhelm many wines. Italian reds are, therefore, a great choice as they tend to be high in acidity.
Serve Sicilian red wine with spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce

Best wine to serve with macaroni cheese – Chilean pinot noir (red)


A rich dish, like oozy mac & cheese, needs a red that’s light on its feet. A heavy red would just be too much. A simple, juicy Chilean pinot noir, with its strawberry and spice notes and light body, is just the ticket.
Serve Chilean pinot noir with next-level mac & cheese with Marmite

Join the BBC Good Food Wine Club


If you love trying new wines and want more info on how they work best with food, we’ve got the perfect club for you. The BBC Good Food Wine Club is brought to you in partnership with Laithwaite’s and allows members to sample different wines every four, eight or 12 weeks. It’s perfect if you don’t know what you’re looking for, as our experts select food-friendly bottles of red, white and sparkling wine to make each case. Guided by the expert team at Laithwaite’s, we pride ourselves on the fact that our team tastes each and every wine in every case.

Sign up to the BBC Good Food Wine Club today

More from BBC Good Food Wine Club

Find out which wines go perfectly with our BBC Good Food recipes
How do I sign up to the BBC Good Food Wine Club?
Pairing wine with food: A simple picture guide
The best wines to drink with chicken
The best wines to drink with pork

The best pasta recipes…

Pasta bake recipes
Seafood pasta recipes
Macaroni cheese recipes
Lasagne recipes
Spaghetti recipes

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Have you found the perfect wine and pasta pairing? We’d love to hear about it…