8 Perfect Wine Pairings for Lasagna Heaven
Lasagna and wine is a perfect mid-week meal, but sweet wines easily wash away lasagna's layered flavors.
The best wine for lasagna is acidic and fruity with moderate tannins – high tannins can give tomatoey flavors a metallic, tinny taste.
However, dishes heavy on garlic and onion pair well with high tannin wines like Sangiovese and Chianti Classico, which clears the tastebuds.
Alfredo-based (white sauce) lasagna is the only lasagna variety that pairs well with dry white wine, with a Pinot Grigio our first choice on the menu.
Are you struggling to decide? This article covers the best wine pairings for lasagna.
Essential Rules for Pairing Wine with Lasagna
Lasagna is a dish that goes well with most dry red wines, with sweet notes welcome in recipes that use lots of pepper and herbs.
Sweet notes compliment earthiness, and dark fruit notes complement intense beefy flavors, bringing out a lasagna's delicious meatiness.
Oaky and smoky wines can reduce beefiness and upset the creaminess of bechamel sauce, so we recommend sticking to crisp reds.
Here are five essential rules for pairing wine with lasagna:
Rule #1 – Red sauce demands red wine
Red wine is the only choice if your lasagna has red sauce.
The tannins in red wine interact with sugars in the tomato sauce to produce a zingy mouthfeel – however, be careful because wines that are too high in tannins can give the sauce a metallic taste.
Rule #2 – Lots of onion and garlic need more tannins
Onion and garlic are potent flavors that require a wine high in tannins. Otherwise, the wine's flavors won't shine through. These ingredients also soften the dryness of the wine, so a drier variety like Chianti Classico is perfect.
Rule #3 – White sauce lasagna calls for white wine
If your lasagna uses white sauce, white wine is the best option to preserve the dish's creaminess. Red wine will only cut through the creaminess of Alfredo sauce, dominating the pallet with bold and bitter tannins.
Rule #4 – Herbs need sweet notes
Red and white sauces can get lost in recipes that use lots of dried herbs like oregano, fennel seeds, and basil.
You can bring them back to the fore with a dry wine with sweet notes of strawberry and almond (see Bindi Sergardi I Colli Chianti Classico Riserva 2016, below).
Rule #5 – You don't have to stick to Italian wines
It's about taste, not origin. Lasagna is from Italy and pairs with Italian reds, but no more so than reds from France or Argentina. You can transform your meals by looking further afield than one country.
The Ideal Wine Varieties for Lasagna
These are our favorite wine varieties for lasagna:
Sangiovese is a tart, acidic, intense Italian red wine with high tannins and a light to medium body.
The herby aroma and tart cherry flavors go perfectly with basil, fennel seeds, oregano, and thyme – perfect if you make lasagna with lots of herbs.
Chianti Classico contains at least 80% Sangiovese grapes with Colorino, Canaiolo Nero, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Merlot making up the rest.
It is less rich than Sangiovese with a floral scent, more suited to light red sauces with fewer herbs and cheesy lasagna.
Italian Barbera has notes of strawberry and sour berry with a light body – perfect for vegetarian lasagna and dishes served with rustic bread.
The low tannins match rich red sauces, preserving the tomato's sweetness.
Aglianico is leathery and rich, perfectly matching the richness of ground beef. It brings onion and garlic to life with high tannins and works best with meat-heavy lasagna, especially lasagna made with Italian sausage.
Pinot Noir is light, fruity, and refreshing with enough acidity to not clash with lasagna's sweet tomato sauce.
It's a great option if you are unsure what to choose because it goes well with most food. A real crowd pleaser!
Fruity and sharp with woody undertones, Zinfandel has a sweet character, yet it is dry and acidic with a 'spicy' note.
It pairs with spicy, meaty lasagna and mushroom lasagna, with a jammy and exotic finish to refresh the palate.
A dry Pinot Grigio goes magnificently with alfredo sauce lasagna made with ground beef, chicken, vegetables, or mushrooms.
Go heavy on the garlic, and Pinot Grigio comes to life, with the acidity bringing out the garlic's nuttiness.
Our Recommended Wine Pairings for Lasagna
Now that you know which wine varieties work well with lasagna, let's look at our favorite wines to bring your favorite meal to life.
Lasagna bolognese is a baked pasta dish with layers of flat lasagna noodles, slow-cooked bolognese sauce, bechamel, and parmesan cheese. Ground beef, Italian sausage, or vegetables (primary mushrooms) can form the filling.
It can take hours to make a good lasagna bolognese, and it is criminal to pair it with a cheap bottle of plonk.
Here are our favorite wine pairings:
Bindi Sergardi I Colli Chianti Classico Riserva 2016
A 100% Sangiovese wine, this bright red wine has cherry, strawberry, and almond on the palate with notes of earth and herbs.
It's delicious with lasagna bolognese, bringing out the intense meaty flavor and rich tomato sauce.
We love how this wine brings garlic, onion, herbs, and Parmigiano Reggiano to life, making every lasagna bolognese taste even better.
Viticcio Morellino di Scansano 2017
Made with 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot, this red is lighter with plums, violets, and red fruits on the palate. The rich, savory profile goes beautifully with fresh herbs like thyme and marjoram.
Notes of tobacco, toast, and vanilla give this wine fantastic depth, perfectly complimenting meaty lasagna bolognese and antipasto.
Vietti Barbera d'Alba Tre Vigne 2019
This is our favorite 100% Barbera wine for lasagna bolognese, with fresh cherry, red fruit, and vanilla flavors.
The full body and balanced tannins go beautifully with lasagna heavy on the béchamel sauce and black pepper.
A lingering cherry finish makes this red wine perfect with antipasto and breadsticks, making it a great one-wine choice at Italian restaurants.
Lasagna Al Forno
Lasagna al forno is a simplified version of lasagna bolognese with around half the cooking time.
It requires less time over the stove cooking the meat filling and uses more cheese as a filling and topping, creating a creamier dish.
Most people cook lasagna al forno instead of lasagna bolognese on weekdays because it's easy and packs in loads of flavor.
Here are the best wine pairings for lasagne al forno:
Mastroberardino Radici Taurasi 2016
This deep ruby red is intense with black cherry, spice, and truffle flavors, made from the Aglianico grape.
It goes beautifully with the parmesan cheese sauce in lasagna al forno and brings mushrooms to life if you include them in your recipe.
We adore this wine with mature cheeses, baked pasta, and other hearty dishes with long-cooked sauces and sizzling meat.
Feudi di San Gregorio Aglianico Rubrato 2017
Another wine made purely from the Aglianico grape, Feudi di San Gregorio Aglianico Rubrato, is smoother with licorice and black fruit undertones. It goes well with cheesy, and herby lasagna al forno seasoned with lots of black pepper.
This red wine's rich, leathery notes make it perfect with beefy lasagna, but it also goes well with Italian sausage lasagna.
Lasagna Bianca (White Lasagna)
Lasagna Bianca replaces red sauce with alfredo sauce (Parmesan cheese, butter, salt, and pepper) or Bechamel sauce (milk infused with herbs and other flavorings).
It's usually made with spinach, mushrooms, ground beef, and mixed herbs with slathers of ricotta.
The creamy richness of lasagna bianca pairs best with a crisp white wine like a Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio.
Here are our top picks:
Schug Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2020
Pineapple, white peach, stone fruit flavors, and a creamy mouthfeel give this Chardonnay a lively character with delicious crispness. It pairs perfectly with lasagna bianca, lasagna with shredded chicken, cheesy sauces, and mushrooms.
Although it's fruity with sweet notes, this wine is dry with a savory finish – perfect for bringing green ingredients like pesto to life.
Casa Marrone Pinot Grigio 2020
Fresh and vibrant with citrus, apple, honeysuckle, and almond flavors, Casa Marrone Pinot Grigio brings lasagna bianca to life. The subtle minerality compliments Parmesan and heavy Alfredo sauce, helping cut through the fat.
Made in the Delle Venezie DOC, Veneto, Italy, this crisp white wine also goes well with carbonara, linguine, and risotto.
Best Value Wine Pairing for Lasagna
If you're throwing together a quick lasagne and need a great wine to go with it that doesn't break the bank, don't sleep on this Chianti Classico!
Castello di Querceto Chianti Classico 2019
When it comes to bang for your buck, Castello di Querceto Chianti Classico 2019 is our favorite wine for lasagna.
Supple and engaging, it bursts with succulent dark fruit, spice, and earthiness, making it perfect for lasagna bolognese.
This wine goes down effortlessly with a charming fresh mocha aftertaste that compliments salty parmesan and lingering onion and garlic flavors.
Overall, you can't go wrong with any of the wines on our list, providing you stick to one rule: red wine for red sauce, white wine for white sauce.