It’s a pizza and pasta party! With wine to match!
For delicious Italian dishes like these, you could totally go with a classic Italian Sangiovese pairing (like Chianti Classico or Brunello) and it would be delicious. But. I’ve done that many times. And, I didn’t have any of those wines on hand to open. So I poured some alternate options.
The key with saucy Italian food is finding a wine with high acidity to match the acidity of ubiquitous tomato sauce, but still have concentrated delicate flavors that won’t overpower lighter ingredients like herbs or veggies.
Here are my two takes on non-Sangiovese Italian food pairings:
1.) An Aromatic White
Going with an elegant, smooth, and crisp white wine can be a lovely match for cheese pizzas, lighter toppings, and light pasta with olive oil.
In this case, I opened a Viognier from Washington State. This a white wine that has beautiful floral and tropical fruit notes that are a perfect match for a cheese pizza or a light pasta.
While it may not have searing acidity, it does have a great concentration of aromatic notes that are a good match for lighter Italian dishes, like spaghetti with garlic and olive oil. These notes help bring out more subtle flavors of veggies and herbs and spices in the foods without overwhelming them.
(This 2018 Gramercy Cellars Viognier is no longer available but Gramercy Cellars has plenty of other great wines!)
2.) An Earthy Pinot Noir
I always love pairing Pinot with pizza because this lighter red wine tends to have great acidity to match red sauces, plus deep earthy flavors that complement a range of toppings — like veggies, or chicken, or in this case, bell peppers.
This fantastic 2018 Flowers Winery Sea View Ridge Cielo Pinot Noir is one of their special vineyard bottles from the Sonoma Coast, where the grapes enjoy a cool ocean breeze and create wines with complex chocolate, spice, wild berries, and earthy notes.
And it makes for a great pairing with marinara, lifting up the flavors and making pizza and pasta taste even better.
(Sadly this bottle is not available but Flowers Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is also excellent. I mean, all their wines are excellent!)
The foods here are from Pace Joint, an excellent Italian spot in West Hollywood:
- SPAGHETTI CON AGLIO, OLIO, ERBE
- SPAGHETTI POMODORO
- HOUSE-DRIED TOMATO PIZZA