spaghetti sauce and wine pairing

Perfect Pasta Pairings For National Spaghetti Day

Fun Fact: The word spaghetti is plural for the Italian word spaghetto, which is a diminutive of spago, meaning “thin string” or “twine.”

The best part about spaghetti is the variety of pasta dishes you can make. With each dish there’s a different wine that pairs perfectly. Check out our recommendations below and get ready for some serious noodling on date night!

Red or Tomato-based Sauces

Tomato-based sauces include fresh tomato with basil: pairs well with crisp dry whites such as Pinot Grigio or Verdicchio. Cooked tomato sauces such as Napolitano or marinara: pair with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or a light Sicilian red. Sangiovese is a red wine that is neither strong as Cabernet Sauvignon nor mild as Merlot. This naturally fruity and highly tannic wine is quite food-friendly, and complements tomato-based sauces well.

Meat (bolognese, spaghetti with meatballs, sausage-based sauces) is a logical partner for Sicilian and Puglian reds (especially Primitivo), Sangiovese, Rosso di Montalcino and inexpensive Barberas or even a Zinfandel.

Spicy Pasta Sauces

Hot, spicy sauces such as arrabbiatta, aglio olio e peperoncino (garlic, oil and chili) and puttanesca (anchovies, capers and olives) try either a sharply-flavored dry white wine or a rustic Italian red: a Primitivo or Sicilian red, Zinfandel or Valpolicella Ripasso.

Creamy Pasta Sauces

To offset creamy sauces (carbonara or fettucine alfredo) think Soave, Bianco di Custoza, Pinot Bianco, Sicilian whites and lighter Chardonnay or Chardonnay blends.

With baby vegetables (primavera) or herbs (verdura): try a crisper Italian white such as Falanghina, Vermentino, Arneis or a Loire Sauvignon Blanc.

With mushroom pastas serve Soave, Bianco di Custoza, Lugana or Chardonnay, or a light Merlot or Pinot Noir.

Seafood Pasta Sauces

Seafood (spaghetti allevongole, spaghetti with mussels, linguine with crab) need crisp dry whites such as Frascati, Verdicchio, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Muscadet or Picpoul de Pinet. A dry rosé is a great choice as well. Crab or lobster sauces can take a fuller white wine such as a good quality Soave or Chardonnay.

Pesto and Other Cheese-based Sauces

Dry whites such as Gavi, Soave or Verdicchio are best with green pesto – you could also try Sicilian whites and lighter Chardonnays. With red pesto, go for a medium bodied red such as Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Sangiovese or Merlot. It’s a color thing as much as anything.

With cheese-based sauces such as four cheese and Gorgonzola you’ll want crisp dry whites such as Verdicchio, light Chardonnays or light reds such as Teroldego or Merlot.

Head into your local Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods and take your pick as you prepare for Spaghetti night!


Owned and operated by the same Houston family since 1962, Spec’s is a true destination shopping experience. We now operate over 150 stores all over the great state of Texas and offer a large selection of wines, spirits and finer foods.