Pasta Bolognese And Wine Pairing (7 Best Wines To Choose From)

If you’re thinking about mixing a dash of wine with a hearty pasta bolognese dish, red wine is definitely the best way to go, especially because of how effortlessly it mixes in with the thick red bolognese sauce, helping to enhance the overall flavor tremendously. 

Pasta Bolognese And Wine Pairing (7 Best Wines To Choose From)

With that being said though, while red wine should always be the go-to beverage when preparing this recipe, pasta bolognese will often include a few extra ingredients such as pork, beef, and lamb, which means it can be best to experiment with many different flavors.

The rule of thumb is always to use a wine that has medium to high levels of acidity so that it doesn’t end up tasting too hollow in the face of the acidic tomato paste. 

Here are some of the very best wine pairings that are guaranteed to make your delicious pasta bolognese taste even more refreshing and delightful, perfect for those sunny spring and summer evenings when you start to hear your stomach grumbling. 

1. Lambrusco

Lambrusco has been one of the most highly-regarded and well-known wines in Italy for decades at this point, and while its deep red appearance is one reason why it has remained so popular, the much bigger reason is the fruity aroma it provides. 

This fizzy red wine contains hints of strawberries, red cherries, and a slightly bitter almond flavor that can easily make any dish it’s added to taste that much more uplifting.

This is especially true for pasta bolognese which can often make us feel a little bloated and sickly if we pack on too many ingredients at once, which is very easy to do. 

Another reason Lambrusco red wine pairs so well with pasta bolognese is because it contains high levels of acidity, meaning it will never become overshadowed by the tomato sauce and instead, will simply act as a delicious compliment to the other ingredients. 

2. Barbera

Made using northern Italian grapes which contain a very rich and juicy undertone with high acidity, Barbera is often seen as a red wine that is very easy to get your hands on, but that also pairs incredibly well with rich sauces, including bolognese tomato sauce. 

Barbera will always possess a fruity aroma that tastes like a medley of sour cherry, black cherry, and plums, all mixed in together, but when it is aged in an oak barrel, it will also possess some warm spices including nutmeg, star anise, and a touch of vanilla. 

This rich and delicate wine tends to be quite a bit cheaper than a lot of its competition, so it can be ideal for when you’re planning to enjoy some pasta bolognese with the family for a one-off meal and don’t want to end up spending too much for the occasion. 

3. Italian Dolcetto 

If you’re planning on whipping up a smaller and slightly lighter pasta bolognese that may feature some pork or chicken for example, then Italian Dolcetto, also commonly referred to as ‘little sweet one’, is an excellent choice as a pairing. 

Upon tasting Italian Dolcetto for the first time, many people will immediately notice the potency of the fruity flavors which tastes a lot like a mixture of strawberry and cherries, but there is also a lingering smoky and slightly spicy undertone that lingers in the mouth too. 

This can add a slightly earthy sensation to the bolognese which is never a bad thing, especially when you have some smaller and lighter cuts of meat that you want to be as flavorful as possible when you start to chew on them. 

While this wine also contains a medium acidity, this is still enough to keep up with the bolognese sauce, and because it is very low in overall alcohol content, this drink is guaranteed to make a family dinner or evening bolognese meal so much more memorable.

4. Chianti Classico

Because the dark and aromatic Chianti Classico contains high amounts of tannin and acidity, this means that it can easily break down tough meats to make them a little softer in their texture and much easier to chew on.

Therefore, Chianti Classico is a must-use wine if you’re planning to integrate some lamb or beef into the bolognese and don’t want them to ruin the dish with how stubborn and tough they can often be.

The tannin also elevates the savory sensation of both the meat and the sauce, so while this wine does have a very smoky and herby taste on its own, it is mostly used as an extra addition to ensure every ingredient included in the bolognese is as noticeable as possible. 

When looking for this type of wine, there is a high chance you will encounter a beverage simply called ‘Chianti’, and while this wine can still work as part of a bolognese dish, it is further removed from the classic Chianti taste since it is only required to be 70% Sangiovese. 

Classico Chianti on the other hand needs to be at least 80% Sangiovese for it to qualify as a ‘Classic’ version of the drink, so it’s always worth going with this instead so that you can get the maximum amount of flavor out of your meal. 

5. Barolo

Young Barolo wine contains extremely high amounts of tannin and acidity, ensuring that it will never become an afterthought when combined with a mountain of meat, pasta, and sauce.

Many people can be a little put off from drinking Barolo because of how much tannin it contains, but this is a huge reason why it works so well with a bolognese dish since the protein and fat found in the bolognese sauce will help to soften the tannin.

This makes the wine a lot easier to digest and enjoy, otherwise, it can feel incredibly bitter and strong for a lot of people’s liking. 

Barolo does include that fruity aroma that so many red wines are beloved for, but it also has very subtle undertones of truffle, violet, leather, and even chocolate which will all add some extra flavor to the sauce and the meat. 

The only way to get a Barolo wine that isn’t too strong on its own is by finding one that has been aged for at least a decade where the tannin will be a lot softer and the drink can be sipped on far more casually. 

6. Cabernet Fran

This medium-bodied French specialty is well-known for its herbaceous aromas, medium tannins, and very high acidity which makes it such a perfect pairing with bolognese sauce if you want to add a hint of peppery goodness to the overall flavor. 

Many people describe the flavor of Cabernet Franc as being a balance between red fruits, herbs, and peppery earthiness, all of which make it a lot more bitter than many other wines, but also much nicer if you prefer your wines to be a lot more powerful and noticeable. 

This wine can also taste mildly fruity, but it doesn’t have any residual sugar left in the wine when it’s finally finished.

Therefore, this perfect chillable red is the perfect pairing for a feast on a warm summer’s day, so if you’ve stuffed your bolognese full of ingredients, a Cabernet Franc is the perfect way to round the whole thing off. 

7. Shiraz

Also commonly known as ‘Syrah’ in many parts of the world, Shiraz is a deep red wine that originates from southeast France but has gone on to capture the hearts of wine lovers across the globe. 

This wine is a little on the stronger side, so be prepared for it to make quite the impact on your tastebuds as soon as you taste it, but this does also mean that it merges with a hearty bolognese sauce exceptionally well. 

Alongside the strength of its fruity flavor, another very noticeable characteristic of Shiraz is the kick of white pepper and heat that it gives off.

If you’re a fan of spice, but don’t feel like adding a bowl of spices to your pasta bolognese dish will be the best option, then Shiraz might be just what you need, especially now that it’s easier than ever to get your hands on. 


Finding the right wine to pair with a tasty pasta bolognese can seem like a daunting challenge to begin with, especially since it can be far too easy to pick up a wine that just can’t keep up with the flavor and intensity of the sauce. 

However, stick with these red wines listed above, and you’ll have yourself a delightful pasta bolognese dish in no time for you and your family and friends to enjoy. 

Sarah Perez
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