Wondering what wine goes with lasagna? And whether you should have red wine or white wine with this decadent dish?
Well, the answer depends on the type of lasagna. Are you having one with a hearty meat sauce? A zesty tomato sauce? A creamy white sauce? Or how about a pesto or vegetarian lasagna?
Bottom line, you’ll want to think about the flavors of the ingredients and the weight of the sauce when choosing wine pairings for your lasagna.
Sound confusing? Don’t worry! I’m breaking it down for you. Figuring out the perfect match will be as easy as saying “yes, please” to second helpings.
And don’t forget to grab my tasty recipe for lasagna with meat sauce.
BTW, if you haven’t yet, make sure to grab my free Wine Tasting Planner. It has 20+ wine night theme ideas, including the exact ones I’ve used for my wine tastings. Plus, a timeline, food pairings, games, free printables, worksheets, and more. Get your copy here.
Recommendations may be affiliate links on which I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps me share new wine destinations with you and I only recommend products and services that I love and think you’ll love too!
History of Lasagna
While there’s no question the Italians invented lasagna, they were inspired by a dish from Ancient Greece. When the Romans conquered the Greeks, they were introduced to “laganon,” the first pasta. It was made from sheets of dough that were cut into strips.
The Romans thought it was pretty darn tasty. So, they brought the idea back to Italy. Fast forward a few centuries and, with influences from Naples and Bologna, it evolved into what’s now one of the most beloved Italian dishes.
What Wine Goes with Lasagna?
The quick answer is that you should go for an acidic, dry wine with good fruit and not too much tannin. For red sauces, a low-tannin Italian red wine made from grapes like Sangiovese or Barbera is a classic pairing.
White wine works best with white sauces. A dry, high-acid Pinot Grigio from Italy’s Alto Adige region would be a great choice.
Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of how to choose the perfect wine for all the different types of lasagna.
Best Wine with Tomato Sauce Lasagna
Lasagna with red sauce was first introduced in the city of Naples in Southern Italy. It’s since become a classic style of lasagna.
Tomatoes have a lot of acidity, which is usually a good thing when it comes to pairing food and wine. This is because it enhances fruit flavors and balances out high acidity in a wine.
But if there’s not enough acidity in the wine, then it will taste flabby (meaning lacking structure). And who wants a flabby wine, am I right?
High tannins in wine can make your tomatoes taste metallic, especially if your lasagna doesn’t have fatty meat to soften them. If chewing on tin doesn’t sound appetizing, choose something with low tannins.
Wines made from Sangiovese grapes are a great pairing with tomato-based sauces. This high-acidity wine has notes of red cherry, red plum, and dried herbs. From Tuscany, look for ones labeled Chianti Classico DOCG, Chianti Rufina DOCG, or Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG.
Or you can’t go wrong with a Brunello di Montalcino from Southern Tuscany, which is 100% Sangiovese.
Best Wine with Meat Sauce Lasagna
Both the Bologna and Naples versions of lasagna typically have meat. The difference? It’s all in the sauce.
Bologna uses béchamel (a mixture of butter, flour, and milk) for the filling. While Naples makes it with fresh ricotta cheese.
With meat lasagna, you can go with a more full-bodied red wine that has higher tannins. This combo works because the fat and salt in the meat soften the tannins in the wine. But make sure it still has good acidity so that it doesn’t fall flat when paired with the tomato sauce.
Bologna happens to be in the heart of the Emilia Romagna wine region. So why not go for something local? Because when in Rome…or Bologna….
In any case, Sangiovese from this region (labeled Sangiovese di Romagna DOC) would be a good choice, with its soft tannins and red berry flavors. Or a Barbera from the neighboring Piedmont region (e.g., Barbera d’Alba) would be a great match for lasagna bolognese with ground beef and/or ground pork.
For the Naples-style lasagna, I’d go with an Aglianico. This high-tannin, earthy wine hails from the Campania region, also home to Naples.
Aglianico wines are known for their notes of white pepper and black fruit. As they age, they’ll develop flavors of dried fruits and leather. Combined with the wine’s high acidity, this makes for a pleasing pairing and the perfect match for the richness of the dish.
Best Wine with White Sauce Lasagna
Also known as white lasagna or lasagna bianca, this version of layered pasta is made using the Bologna style’s béchamel sauce or a cheese sauce. It often includes greens, vegetables, and sometimes meat.
For this creamy concoction, go for a white wine with bright acidity that will cleanse your mouth between bites. Pinot Grigio from Alto Adige would be a good choice with its citrus and green fruit flavors.
Or Soave from the Veneto region would be a great option. Made from the Garganega grape (say that 10 times fast!), you’ll find aromas and flavors of red apple, pear, and peach.
Best Wine with Pesto Lasagna
Authentic Italian pesto was born in Genoa, a city in Northern Italy. It’s traditionally made with fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, and olive oil.
This style of lasagna has lots of herbal notes so the best option for pairing is an herbaceous wine.
Vermentino is a dry, light-bodied white wine that’s mainly produced on the island of Sardinia. With its minerality and citrusy characteristics, it’s often compared to Sauvignon Blanc.
Because it’s relatively unknown it will be easy on your wallet. And it’s an easy win with the herbal sauce in between the layers of pasta in this dish.
And you don’t need to go beyond Italian wine to find many other excellent pairings (e.g., Fiano or Gavi). But if you do, Austria’s Grüner Veltliner or Portugal’s Vinho Verde would be solid options too.
Best Wine with Vegetarian Lasagna
Pairing the right wine with vegetable lasagna is all about the types of veggies you’re using. Plus, you’ll want to keep in mind whether it’s a red or white sauce (if you skipped down here, make sure to see above).
Having one with lots of leafy greens? Go for a light, dry white wine like Greco di Tufo from Campania.
For roasted veggies, try Primitivo from Puglia. Similar to Zinfandel, the ripe berry flavors will complement the sweet notes in the vegetables brought out by roasting.
For mushroom lasagna, a Pinot Nero (aka Pinot Noir) would be a good match with its earthy aromas and fruity flavors.
Now that you know how to pair the right type of wine with your favorite lasagna, dig in and enjoy your delicious meal!
Looking for more Italian dishes? Try carbonara wine pairings, wine pairing with Chicken Marsala, and bolognese wine pairing.
Pin for Later!
Lasagna Recipe Equipment
For this recipe, you’ll need the following equipment:
- Sharp chef’s knife – I use this one for everything
- Baking pan – love Le Creuset’s but anything like this would work
- Enameled Dutch oven – I use a Lodge 6qt Dutch Oven
- Large pot for cooking pasta – Cuisinart Multi-Clad Pro is my go-to set
Shop my kitchen essentials
Meat Sauce Lasagna
- 12 lasagna noodles
- 2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1 pound ground beef chuck Or you can use a mix of ground beef and ground pork.
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/2 cups canned plum tomatoes cut up with juice Italian tomatoes preferred
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- 1 egg beaten
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
- Put oil and chopped onion in pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent.
- Add celery and carrots and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add beef, a large pinch of salt, and a few grindings of pepper. Cook until the beef is just browned.
- Add milk and simmer, stirring frequently, until absorbed.
- Add nutmeg and stir.
- Add wine and simmer until evaporated.
- Stir in tomatoes and when they begin to bubble, turn down to a low simmer.
- Cook for 1 hour uncovered (or longer if desired). If sauce dries out while cooking, add 1/2 cup of water, but make sure to cook off so no water is left at the end.
- Heat oven to 350°F.
- Cook lasagna noodles, strain, and set aside.
- Combine the cheese mixture ingredients in a bowl. Stir until mixed.
- Layer the lasagna ingredients in a 9×13 pan. Add 1 cup of meat sauce to the bottom, followed by 3 lasagna noodles, and a third of the cheese mixture. Repeat twice and top with lasagna noodles and sauce.
- Bake for 45 minutes covered with foil. Top with remaining cheese and bake uncovered for another 13 minutes.
- Set broiler to high and bake an additional 2 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.
- Remove lasagna from oven and let rest for 15 minutes.
Which style of lasagna is your favorite? What wine do you enjoy pairing with it?
Elisabeth Anderson says
Don’t want to put my stone pan in an oven on broil, so I might raise it to 375° to melt/brown the cheese.