Best Wine for Carbonara

What is the best wine for carbonara? I have put together the following list of 10 wines that all work extremely well. I have my favorite, but you can select any from this list and you won’t go wrong. Enjoy!

Grillo

This dry white wine from Sicily is my number one choice with carbonara.  It has distinct floral notes of citrus grapefruit and herbs with fruity overtones of passion fruit and mango.

The taste is zingy and fresh with a mineral finish and full fruit flavor. The color is vibrant straw sunshine yellow in the glass with a light to medium body. Acidity is medium to high and cuts so well with the pancetta in carbonara.

Serve at 45-55° F and you have a pairing that hits the spot every time. If this isn’t the best wine for carbonara, I’m struggling to recommend a better one.

Pinot Blanc

This is a dry, smooth, fresh white that presents floral tones and a citrusy green apple scent. It has creamy rich, fruity flavors that work well with dishes that are light to medium in flavor.

Medium to full-bodied and low-to-medium in acidity, it pairs very well with egg-based dishes, so works a treat with carbonara. 

It also matches well with seafood dishes, poultry, or pork. Especially when served with pasta.  A great option with fresh cheeses but also with harder varieties.

Sauvignon Blanc (Oaked)

The creaminess of carbonara is perfectly matched to the vanilla flavors that are dominant in an oaked Sauvignon Blanc.  A good choice for seafood, white meat, and pasta dishes that offer complementary creamy ingredients.  

Some of the best are grown in Napa Valley and Sonoma County, so no need to go looking for expensive imports.

Cortese (Gavi)

The Cortese grape variety is grown in northwest Italy and is used to produce Gavi. It is harvested early to capture that high acidity and it is this which gives it excellent pairing qualities and freshness which is popular in the region’s restaurants.

Instantly fresh with a crisp zest, Gavi is another light to medium-bodied wine, high in acidity that works well with carbonara. Ideal with seafood and garlic it is also perfectly fine when paired with creamier pasta dishes and Risotto and so hits the spot with carbonara.

Also, an excellent pairing with Sea Bass or Tuna steaks. If you like fresh cheese then this is a particularly good accompaniment.

Trebbiano

A wonderfully light wine, Trebbiano is neutral in flavor but delivers freshness with a scent of citrus.

This is a wine high in acidity and smacks of freshness as a result. It is dry and very light in the body and should be drunk as soon as possible. It should not be aged.

Pairing best with pasta dishes and simple ingredients such as white fish, poultry, and salads.

Try with cheeses such as Ricotta, Mozzarella, or Bel Paese.

Silvaner

Another great dry white wine with medium to high acidity, Silvaner is usually light to medium in the body. It works well with lighter uncomplicated dishes such as carbonara. Lighter and refreshing to taste, it is floral on the nose with hints of citrus and thyme.

This is an excellent food pairing wine that gives results with light pasta dishes, white meats, white fish, and cold cuts of meat.

It is a versatile choice that will also work with vegetables and salads.

Pair with fresh cheeses such as Mozzarella, Feta, or Chaource.

Pecorino

This Italian dry white has a floral bouquet with the scent of orange blossom, and jasmine with stone fruits of peach, apricot, and pear. Acidity is medium to high and the body is similarly full in nature.

The higher acidity means that the Pecorino is a flexible choice for many foods. It does the job very well with a simple carbonara and is easily matched with other white meats and white fish or pasta dishes.

Good for many kinds of cheese if you are looking for a pre or post-dinner pairing. The Italian cheeses in a particular suit this versatile vino. Try with Riccotta, Provolone, Formagella or Taleggio.

Corvina

Another Italian wine, red this time. A grape from the northeast Veneto region, this light-bodied wine is high in acidity with a distinct cherry aroma. The flavor is also cherry in nature and pairs well with carbonara or other creamy sauces. Corvina’s high acidity also helps with spicier dishes, such as arrabbiata.

Works just as well with chicken, pork, and lighter beef dishes such as meatballs, Bolognese, or Lasagna.

Perfect with Italian cheeses such as Formagella, Asiago, or Taleggio.

Schiava

A refreshing light-bodied red wine that is low to medium acidity, Schiava has the scent of red berries with notes of almonds and herbs. Flavors are cherry and strawberry with a mineral finish.

Its light refreshing quality and lower acidity make it a good match for lighter meat dishes. Pair with pancetta in carbonara, pork, veal, or chicken pasta dishes.

Also goes well with summer salads and is excellent on its own or with Italian cheeses. Try Pecorino, Formagella and Provolone.

Frappato

Similar to Schiava, Frappato is another Italian wine that is light and fresh. It presents a light to medium body with aromas of red berries and herbs. The flavor is red berry with a refreshing, sometimes spicy finish.

Medium to high acidity but lower in alcohol (approx 12% abv) Frappato is a very drinkable summer wine.

Pairs well with the pancetta and creamy carbonara but the acidity will also work with tomato-based dishes of chicken, pork, or veal. Excellent with Italian cheeses but also with the softer cheeses. Brie is a fantastic choice with Frappato before or afterward.

Conclusion

There are many wines to choose from when dining with carbonara, though the variety depends on the type of carbonara that you’re using. If you’re using a creamier carbonara, a pinot grigio or Sauvignon Blanc might be a good choice. If you like your carbonara more plain, then it may go better with a white wine from Italy or one from France.

This is one of my favorite meals, and it’s so easy to make. My wife and I get people over just to make a carbonara for them, we love it so much. If you want to try it at home and you haven’t yet, here is a link for the recipe.

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