Best Wine with Lasagna

Whether you’re serving lasagna for dinner or bringing it for potluck, this is the perfect time to put your red wine knowledge to use. Red wine has long been a go-to pairing with Italian cuisine, but that doesn’t mean you should just reach for whatever’s on hand. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your glass:

Sangiovese

Originating from Italy, Sangiovese is also grown in many other countries, including Spain, Portugal, and California. Sangiovese is one of the oldest red wine grapes, used to make Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino.

Why Sangiovese works with lasagna

This is a well-balanced wine that has the acidity to cut through the rich tomato sauce in lasagna and stand up to the umami flavor of the cheese. Sangiovese also pairs well with mushrooms, a common ingredient in lasagna dishes.

Sangiovese wines are medium-bodied with good acidity that are best served with beef dishes and tomato sauces. So, it is perfect with lasagna.

Here are my top recommendations for a good Sangiovese:

Chiara Condello ‘Le Lucciole’ Romagna Sangiovese Predappio Riserva

Critic tasting note: (2018 vintage) “Full-bodied and elegant, this opens with enticing, delicate scents of fragrant blue flowers, ripe plum, botanical herbs and dark spice. Smooth, structured and elegant, the savory palate delivers ripe black cherry, star anise and crushed mint framed in tightly knit, refined tannins. Fresh acidity keeps it balanced. Though it’s already enjoyable, it will offer several more years of pleasure. Drink through 2030. Kerin O’Keefe” – 93/100Wine Enthusiast

Leonetti Cellar Sangiovese (USA)

Critic tasting note: (2018 vintage) “This wine is a shift from recent vintages, initially showing aromas of nori and tar, opening to reveal dried cherry and leather. The flavors bring a lot of elegance, without as much overt acidity and tannin structure as this offering usually displays. Sean P. Sullivan” – 88/100Wine Enthusiast

Altamura Sangiovese (Napa Valley)

Critic tasting note: (2004 vintage) “Altamura has tackled this extremely difficult wine for years. They’ve settled on a style that’s soft and silky, with complex flavors of cherries, dates, plum skins, cocoa and pepper, and the weight of a Pinot Noir.” – 89/100Wine Enthusiast

Shiraz/Syrah

Shiraz is one of the most widely cultivated grape varieties in the world, and it’s used to produce some of the best wines in France, Australia, and California. It’s a dark-skinned grape with an intense flavor profile that can be described as blackberry, espresso, and plum all at once. This is a fine match for lasagna.

Why Shiraz/Syrah works with lasagna

Shiraz/syrah wines are rich, spicy, and full-bodied with notes of blackberry, espresso, and plum. They pair well with grilled meats, blue cheese, sausage and pepperoni pizza, casseroles, and other hearty comfort foods.

Try one of these excellent options:

Calcareous Reserve Syrah 2020, Paso Robles

From the winery. “Aged in 40% deeply toasted French barrels for 18 months, our Estate Syrah is made to showcase the depth and power of the varietal from our soil. Full of juicy blackberry, dark cocoa, and tar mingling with rich fully ripe tannin, this massive wine is built for marbled rib eye and slow-smoked pork shoulder. It should age exquisitely for 12+ years.”    

Lewis Cellars Alec’s Blend 2018

A great wine to pair with. Flavors of black and red fruits with black pepper. Notes of vanilla, and chocolate with good acidity. Blended 57% Syrah, 28% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon with the rest Cabernet Franc.

Seppeltsfield 2018 Shiraz (Barossa Valley)

You can’t have a list of great Shiraz without a Barossa Valley and this is a cracker. It is a bold red with a fruity bouquet of dark cherry and blackberry with hints of oak, vanilla, and coffee. Acidity is good with medium tannins. Highly recommended.

Zinfandel

Zinfandel is a spicy red with jammy fruit characteristics that grows most famously in California’s Napa Valley. This makes it an ideal pairing for rich and hearty lasagnas, but be careful not to overdo it. Zinfandel can be quite tannic if paired with the wrong foods.

Zinfandel also tends to be very high in alcohol content and mild in tannins with flavors of tobacco, cherry, blackberry, raspberry, and plum.

Why Zinfandel works with lasagna

Zinfandel is a robust wine that pairs well with meaty and cheesy lasagna. The fruit notes of zinfandel complement the sweetness of tomato sauce while its high tannin content helps cut through the fat of melted cheese.

I recommend that you try one of these Zinfandels with your lasagna:

Journeyman Wines, San Lorenzo ‘The Pearl’ Old Vine Red (Alexander Valley)

A floral bouquet with notes of tobacco and anise. This is a bold, full-bodied red

It has rich flavors of chocolate, with dark fruits and pepper. Velvet smooth mouthfeel and a tannic finish. Let it breathe before serving.

Hartford Family Winery Hartford Dina’s Vineyard Zinfandel

Hartford Russian River Valley Zinfandel presents aromas of ripe plum, blackberry, and black cherry. White pepper and allspice add complexity to this wine’s fruity bouquet. A burst of blueberry, raspberry, nutmeg, and chocolate flavors leads to a long-lasting finish.

Carlisle Papera Ranch Zinfandel 2020

Another excellent Zinfandel from Russian River, California. Ruby-red in color. On the nose, it is bright cherry with aromas of blackberry and raspberry with notes of vanilla and tobacco. It is medium-full-bodied and very smooth on the palate. 

Barolo

This is a wine that needs to be decanted and served at room temperature. It is a medium-bodied wine with intense cherry, dark plum and licorice aromas. On the palate it is full-bodied with a long finish. The best way to pair this wine is with lasagna Bolognese.

Why Barolo works with lasagna

Barolo is great with lasagna, especially when it’s made with a lot of meat. The earthy, herbal notes in the wine complement the dish while the tannins help cut through the richness of the cheese and meat.

Barolo is expensive but there is some value to be found. These three are all excellent and won’t break the bank:

Pio Cesare Barolo DOCG

Critic tasting note: (2017 vintage) “Aromas of dark-skinned berry, underbrush and oak-driven spice mingle with camphor. On the full-bodied palate, notes of licorice and espresso accent a core of juicy black cherry before an almost salty close. Firm, fine-grained tannins provide ample support. Drink 2022–2029. Kerin O’Keefe” – 93/100Wine Enthusiast

Marchesi di Barolo ‘Barolo’ DOCG

Critic tasting note: (2017 vintage) “Ripe berry, baking spice, menthol and blue flower aromas shape the lovely nose. Juicy and elegantly structured, the savory palate doles out raspberry compote, mature Marasca cherry, star anise and cinnamon before closing on a hint of hazelnut. Taut, refined tannins provide lithe support. It’s already delicious and accessible but will also provide several years or more of pleasure. Drink 2022–2027. Kerin O’Keefe” – 94/100Wine Enthusiast

Vietti Castiglione

Critic tasting note: (2016 vintage) “Dark shining ruby red. Open and inviting nose of very rich strawberries, underpinned by elegant savouriness, orange marmalade and violet scents. Expressive on the palate with tightly woven tannin and dense dark, rich cranberries, mineral undertone, radiant finish. Has a lot of power!.” – 94/100Falstaff

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is also a great match for lasagna. It is a versatile wine that can be served with pasta, pizza and lasagna. It’s also delicious when paired with roasted meats, such as lamb shanks or pork chops.

Why Cabernet Sauvignon works with lasagna

The wine’s bold tannins and high acidity work well with the rich sauce, providing a nice balance of flavor. The wine’s dark berry flavors are a nice complement to the classic Italian dish, and its acidity helps cut through the creamy cheese.

Try one of these with your lasagna for a reliable pairing:

Substance ‘Cs’ Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

From the winery itself, “Classic Cabernet Sauvignon. Currant, blackberry, cigar box with touches of chocolate, cedar, and pencil lead. Full flavored & just so damn good. I should raise the price!”

Château Lynch-Bages Pauillac (Grand Cru Classé) 2016

It exhibits a deep red color with notes of dark fruit, cassis, blackcurrants, and a distinctive hint of mint. On the palate, it is full in body with ripe tannins and cassis throughout. The finish is long.

Flat Top Hills Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a rich, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. It is distinctly dark fruit on the palate with cocoa and vanilla notes. It has gentle spices like nutmeg and cassis. The finish is smooth, long, and velvety.

Conclusion

There are lots of options to pair with lasagna but these are my top five. I am something of a purist so I would always tend towards the Sangiovese or Barolo for that authentic feel. However, the Zinfandel, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon will do the job just as well. Lasagna needs a wine that has enough acidity to cut through the rich sauce and these wines will all do that.

You don’t have to look far for a great lasagna recipe. John Chandler’s World’s Best Lasagna Recipe is highly rated and rightly so.

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