Not sure what wine to pair with your pasta this World Pasta Day? We asked Laurie Smorthwaite, founder of the KZN School of Wine, to share some of the best wine pairings to match the most popular pasta dishes.
“When it comes to pairing wine and pasta, it is all about the sauce”, she said.
Here are her guidelines for the pasta loving foodies.
Tomato- based Pasta
Tomato-based sauces are best paired with medium bodied, high acid red wines or crisp, dry white wines. The high acid in tomatoes will soften the acid in any wine and can make it seem fat and flabby. Be careful with full bodied reds as these sauces can make them seem bitter and tannic.
Stick to tangy, high acid red wines with juicy fruit flavours and soft tannin such as Grenache, Merlot and Sangiovese. Crisp, dry white wines will also help to add a refreshing touch to the rich sauce. For white wines, look to pair with Sauvignon or Semillon blends.
The creaminess of béchamel and cheese based sauces is best complimented by white wines that have had some time in oak. The richness of the sauce will textually match a wooded Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc or Viognier. Floral red wines such a Pinot Noir are a great match for sauces with an added umami component such as Parmesan and mushrooms.
Fresh home made pasta lightly tossed with quality olive oil and basil, the pure and authentic expression of pasta. Be it fresh pesto or pure olive oil, these dishes are best paired with delicate and refreshing white or rose wines.
Herbaceous wines such as sauvignon blanc will match the flavours in the dish as well as offer clean acidity to cut through the oil.
Dry Rieslings and un-oaked or lightly wooded Chenin Blanc will compliment your summer time pasta to keep you going back for more.
For those looking for a little heat in their dish, stay clear of wines with high alcohol or tannin. Spicy dishes are best paired with fruity sweeter style wines.
Match Asian flavours with an aromatic Gewurztraminer, off dry Riesling or a light fruity rose for best effect