Lasagna is a meal that has universal appeal. The combination of rich tomato sauce and creamy ricotta between layers of tender pasta is always a delight.
Although there are many variations to lasagna including different meats, cheeses, and vegetables to add, this classic dish is best complemented by a great wine. Here are—in my opinion—the best wine varietals to serve with your lasagna.
A classic Italian dish like lasagna wouldn’t be complete without a classic Italian wine to drink with it. Sangiovese is an excellent pairing companion to a hearty, delicious lasagna. It is a light-to-medium-bodied red wine that is known for being very dry and acidic on the palate.
Sangiovese is the top wine grape in Italy, and for good reason. It’s a great choice to serve with a classic meat lasagna because the notes of cherry, currant, plum, and tomato bring out the savory flavors in your lasagna dish.
Red wine drinkers love Sangiovese for its versatility. It is up to the task of pairing with almost anything because it has a great, light flavor and plenty of earthy, herbal notes that taste great with rich dishes like lasagna.
Don’t be intimidated by trying to pronounce the name! Montepulciano is another Italian red wine that pairs very well with lasagna. It is medium-bodied and full of fruity flavors, while still having high acidity and smooth tannins that cut the acidity in the tomato sauce of a traditional lasagna.
Montepulciano has a very distinct flavor profile. You will notice notes of blackberry, cranberry plum, and tart cherry as well as even tobacco and oregano. The juicy fruit flavor is balanced by the smoky, spicy undertones, which makes it a dream pairing for this classic Italian dish.
Grab a bottle of Montepulciano to share with guests or friends if you’re serving any kind of lasagna. It is sure to be a crowd-pleaser!
Perhaps one of the most recognizable Italian red wine varietals, Chianti Classico is a great go-to wine for any Italian dinner, and lasagna is no exception. This varietal is a bright, medium-bodied red wine that is typically made of about 70% Sangiovese grapes, which makes it a great choice for lasagna night.
Chianti Classico tends to have a very vibrant flavor profile including notes of sour cherries, herbs, violet, and even leather. The high acidity makes it a great match for the zesty tomato flavors of lasagna and balances out the savory, creamy cheeses as well.
Although it is often known as more of a blending grape, Barbera can certainly stand on its own as a red wine. It is another Italian varietal that is known for high acidity. It’s a light-to-medium-bodied wine full of juicy, fruity flavors.
It’s easy to get lost in the many highly acidic, tart, juicy red wines from Italy, but Barbera is truly a food pairing gem. Although it goes well with almost anything, the cherry, blackberry, and strawberry notes combined with hints of earthy herbs make it a great match for lasagna.
Most people know White Zinfandel, the loved and hated “pink” wine, but Zinfandel is its own varietal and it deserves some credit. Although White Zinfandel and Zinfandel are both made from the same grape, their wine personality could not be more different.
Zinfandel is a bold, full-bodied red wine, which sets it apart from the other red wines on this list. It is often described as juicy or jammy and has notes of cranberry, raspberry, plum, cherry, and pepper. It is very fruity and bold because the grapes are allowed to ripen longer on the vine.
This flavorful varietal is a great pairing for lasagna if you’re looking for something different than your traditional dry, Italian red wine.
The rich flavors in the Zinfandel really elevate the experience of eating a classic meat or bolognese-style lasagna. It brings forward the decadent, spicy flavors in the meat and tomato sauce as well as the subtle savory taste of the cheese.
Red Wine Blend
When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a red wine blend when selecting a wine to pair with your lasagna. Blends have become a favorite in recent years because they are so versatile. They usually are comprised of 3-5 different complementary grapes to make the best of all included.
A red wine blend is a great choice for lasagna night, especially a blend that includes some of the traditional Italian varietals listed above like Barbera or Sangiovese. These are very popular in wine shops today. If you’re unsure of which wine to pick, a blend is always a safe choice.
The best thing about red wine blends is that they tend to be very easy-drinking so they won’t overpower your lasagna, but instead will complement it in all the best ways. Another benefit to purchasing a blend is they are usually very affordable and easy to find in local stores.
If you are making a less traditional dish like a white or butternut squash lasagna, Chardonnay is the perfect wine to pair with it. The buttery, oaky nature of a silky Chardonnay makes a great complement to a creamy, savory lasagna. Medium-bodied, dry, and crisp, it’s the perfect match.
You may not want to drink Chardonnay with a more traditional lasagna with marinara sauce because the flavors would clash, but it's a dream for a vegetarian or alfredo lasagna. With notes of pear, apple, peach, and tropical fruit, it brings a delightful array of fruit to offset the dish.
For anyone making a seafood lasagna, Sauvignon Blanc should be on your list! It is a light white wine that is full of bright, zesty flavor. Although it’s not for everyone, if you’re a fan of dry, white wines with high acidity and minerality, it would be a great wine to serve with seafood lasagna.
Sauvignon Blanc is an iconic wine because there is really nothing else like it. It has a sharpness on the palate and fruit-forward notes of lemongrass, orange, grapefruit, apple, and even stone. The unique flavor brings out so much in any creamy, seafood lasagna.