Best Wine For Italian Food

Cabernet Sauvignon
Pinot Grigio
Sauvignon Blanc

It’s a well known fact that Italian wine and food pairings go together like a happily married couple. Not only because we like to get tipsy whilst eating our favourite Italian food…  That’s just an added bonus. 

We pair wine and food because of the tastes, textures, tones, tannins, flavours and more can perfectly accompany one another. Choosing the best Italian food and wine pairing helps you leave a restaurant super satisfied with a giant grin on your face. But exactly which wine and food should you pair? And why?

For many people, the phrase ‘would you like to see the wine list?’ can incite confusion and intimidation… or just make you feel a little out of place. If you don’t know anything about Italian wine and food pairings, where exactly do you start? Asking the waiter can always help, but here are some tips for wine and food pairings to help you act like a connoisseur without any assistance.

Best Food and Wine Pairings

When looking for the best food and wine pairings, firstly look to match richness and texture. How can you maximise the characteristics of both the food and wine? A balanced taste can be key. Salty and sour tasting food makes wine taste milder, where as sweet and savoury food can make wines taste much stronger. 

Consider the impact of the taste of the food, will it complement the wine? Or will it be a mismatch? For example, if you’re eating food that’s really salty, you can combat this by choosing a light sparkling wine to refresh the palate. Make sense? Here are our best red and white wine food pairings. 

Best Red Wine With Italian Food 


A ‘Chianti’ wine is any wine that is produced within the Chianti region of Italy. Chianti is located in the very heart of Tuscany, towards the top of Italy’s boot. Today, Chianti is known for producing rich and dry red wines that are made using Sangiovese grapes. The wine produced here is famous for earthy flavours that are high in tannins. 

Chianti is arguably the most popular wine amongst Italian people, and If there’s anything we can trust the Italian’s with… you guessed it, it’s wine! Wine has been a passion in Italy for thousands of years and they have more than mastered the art of viticulture.

Chianti pairs perfectly with red sauces. This could be any style of tomato pasta… for example arrabiata, marinara or bolognese. When considering the best red wine for Italian food, Chianti even pairs fantastically with fresh pizza! The acidity of the wine is very much similar to most tomato based sauces, making this wine a perfect fit. 


Barolo is a heavy red wine produced in the Piedmont region of northern Italy – with origins that date back over 2,500 years. Barolo wine is produced using the world famous Nebbiolo grape. If you’re looking for one of Italy’s greatest wines, look no further. Barolo wine is known for deep red colours, strong tannins and powerful acidic flavours. 

It’s estimated that up to 18% of Italian households use Barolo wine to pair with EVERY special occasion dinner. But what makes it so special? Production of Barolo is restricted to 11 villages within the Cuneo province, with slight and subtle differences in flavour between each village due to contrasting soil compositions. 

The Barolo of today has a bold blend of tar, rose, herbs, red berries and fruit, truffles, coffee, chocolate and various other earthy notes. But why is Barolo arguably the best red wine for Italian food? Barolo pairs very well with beef – including rare beef, steak tartare and fillet steak. If you’re also a lover of game birds such as duck or pheasant, the pairing with Barolo is very pleasant. So try it out when you’re looking for the best food with Barolo red wine. 

Don’t worry vegetarians, we’ve got you covered. Barolo can also be paired well with rich and flavoursome risottos. Particularly with prominent flavours of truffle or mushroom! Are you a self confessed chocolate lover? Try this wine with your favourite dark chocolate for a terrific taste sensation. Also, Barolo wine can also be paired with powerful cheeses, such as gorgonzola, goat’s cheese or sheep’s cheese. For cheese lovers, this has to be one of the best Italian food and wine pairings. 

Cabernet Sauvignon 

Cabernet Sauvignon will pop up in the minds of many people when asked to think of a bold red wine. Cabernet Sauvignon takes its name from the Cabernet grape used in production. The Cabernet grape can withstand both high and low temperatures and grows well in various different soil and climate conditions. 

Because of this, many of the world’s wine regions grow Cabernet grapes. Not only are the grapes easy to grow, they are packed with powerful flavours and strong tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon has strong black currant flavours, with overtones including blackberry, black cherry, chocolate, eucalyptus and mint. The taste can often be dictated by the production region; as the grapes reflect the taste of the earth in which they were grown. 

Cabernet Sauvignon is a rich red wine, which helps it pair greatly with most tomato based red sauces in pizza and pasta. The wine is also famous for matching fatty red meats, such as rump, ribeye and sirloin steaks. This is because Cabernet Sauvignon stands up to the flavours in rich meat without overpowering them. 

This is a wonderful wine to combine with beef… any beef. Braised beef? Sure. Wagyu? Yes please. Even a burger… We can’t forget a good old burger! Look to combine your next juicy burger with smoky cheese and a nice glass of Cabernet Sauvignon… you won’t be disappointed with this food and wine pairing. The wine also matches lamb, mushrooms and most types of cheese. Mamma mia! 

Best White Wine With Italian Food 


Chardonnay is one of the best white wines with Italian food! Did you know Chardonnay is the most distributed white wine grape in the world? Chardonnay takes its name from the village of Chardonnay in Macon, a region in Burgundy, France. It is commonly produced across the world’s vineyards as the grape is adaptable to a vast range of climates and soils. 

The taste differs depending on the location where the Chardonnay was produced. In warm temperatures, the grape tends to release tropical fruit flavours of mango, papaya and pineapple with soft acidity levels. In contrast, in cooler production regions, Chardonnay bursts with apple, peach, pear and other citrus flavours with greater acidic tastes.. 

Remember, if you try one type of Chardonnay and don’t fall in love with the taste… there are still a number of other labels that you might enjoy! Chardonnay can be heavily influenced by the winemaker, so no two bottles are the same. But, what food should you look to pair this white wine with? Chardonnay is really popular with oil and cream based sauces, whether that is soup, pasta, meat or seafood. 

In particular, seafood… perhaps the best food for white wine! Light and delicate dishes such as raw or lightly cooked shellfish are absolutely perfect to combine with Chardonnay. The smooth acidity also helps cut through grilled fish, fish pates and seafood risottos. If you’re planning on eating something from the sea, look out for a Chardonnay bottle on your favourite restaurant’s wine list.

Pinot Grigio 

Although Pinot Grigio was initially invented in Italy, the wine is produced and transported on a worldwide scale. The demand for Pinot Grigio is high across the globe, hence the reason various countries have joined the craze and started producing Pinot Grigio. As of today, Pinot Grigio is the most popular white wine across the entirety of the Americas. 

The wine is often referred to as Pinot ‘Gris’, but this is simply a french expression for the same variety of grape. Why? The grapes used in Pinot Grigio have a distinctive grey colour tone on their skin, and ‘Gris’ translates to grey in French. Due to the growing environment impacting the flavour, the wine’s have a subtle difference in style. Still, Pinot Gris remains very similar to its Italian cousin. 

The flavours you can expect from Pinot Grigio are light, refreshing and zesty with subtle notes of apple, flowers, lemon and melon. The flavours depend on where the wine was produced. But you can expect a dry, mineral, light bodied profile that is crisp to taste. 

Pinot Grigio is very lighthearted, making it great as a starter wine before dinner. This wine is also perfect for those looking for a light and refreshing food and wine pairing. The flavours are rather delicate, so you want to pair Pinot Grigio with meals that aren’t too flavoursome. For example, you can enjoy Pinot Grigio with salads of any kind, light risottos, and light pasta sauces. It even perfectly pairs with less ‘fishy’ seafood such as halibut, trout and scallops. 

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is originally believed to have originated in the Loire Valley and Bordeaux region of France. The name Sauvignon Blanc translates to ‘wild white’; as the grapevines grew wild for centuries until early winemakers began to tame them. 

The wine is typically very light, crisp and acidic. The taste is unique when compared to most other white wines due to its green and herbaceous flavours. The flavours range from tart to tropical depending on the ripeness. Wines from colder regions will have the flavour of lime or green apple, whilst warmer climates hold flavours and notes of passionfruit or peach. 

Although the wine is famous for being light and refreshing, Sauvignon Blanc is complex enough to match at least one of your courses. Go green for the best food for this white wine! As Sauvignon Blanc is more savoury than other white varieties, it pairs well with herbs such as parsley, cilantro, rosemary, basil, mint and more! 

If you find a dish that features these flavours it will bring the very best out of your Sauvignon Blanc… so be sure to keep your eyes out when next browsing over a wine list. The wine also pairs perfectly with white meat, including; chicken, pork chops, and turkey. Rather something from the sea? Look to match Sauvignon Blanc with tilapia, sea bass, perch, haddock, crab, lobster or clams. If you’re a lover of cheese, look for soft and briny cheeses. 

Wine Tasting at Basil & Grape

Well there we have it. Basil & Grape’s best wine for Italian food… happy sipping folks! We are proud to offer all of the mouth-wateringly good wines within this Italian wine and food pairings list. So, if you like the sound of these red and white wines, come on down to the Basil & Grape; Croydon’s premium Italian restaurant and wine bar. 

Our carefully selected wine list consists of famous labels from picturesque regions in vineyards in Italy and across the globe. We offer various different styles of white wines, red wines, rose and dessert wines for you to perfectly pair with our mouthwatering Italian foodLooking for a bespoke wine tasting experience? Basil & Grape offer a premium wine tasting experience to send your taste buds on a journey across the world. Enjoy world famous wines with cheese, meat, desserts and more! Enquire today to tailor your experience.