Best Wine with Mac and Cheese

I’m a bit of a connoisseur when it comes to mac and cheese, so I wanted to share my knowledge with you. In particular, I love pairing mac and cheese with wine. It’s so easy. Just match the type of wine to the flavor that dominates your dish.

When pairing wine with macaroni and cheese, it is important to consider what you are pairing with it. The best wines for mac and cheese need to be light and dry so as not to overpower the delicate flavors of this classic dish.

Let’s dive in.

Best Wine for Classic Mac and Cheese

if your mac is topped with classic cheeses like cheddar or Gruyere but also contains ingredients like bacon or spicy sausage, go for a dry white wine that will cut through all that richness. Wines like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc do exactly that.

They should also complement both the cheese used in your dish, be it brie or parmesan, as well as any type of meat that might be included within your recipe, such as bacon.

The following list contains five different types of wine that we believe go perfectly with classic American-style Macaroni and Cheese:

Dry White

If you’re looking for the perfect wine pairing for mac and cheese, dry white wine is the way to go. Dry whites will cut through the richness of the cheese, making for an easy-to-drink pairing that will go down smoothly on even your most indulgent night.

Let’s take a look at each:

Chardonnay

Chardonnay has a buttery creaminess that pairs nicely with cheddar. The acidity and slight oak flavors add a little twang that’s delicious when paired with mac and cheese, especially if you like your mac and cheese to have some bite. Try one of the following for a great pairing:

Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay

This vineyard is located in California, and it’s a great place to start your search for a good Chardonnay with crab legs. This wine is made from grapes grown in the Sonoma Valley, where the climate is ideal for growing them. Fermented and aged in French and American oak barrels for richness, toastiness, and complexity.

J. Lohr Chardonnay

This California winery has been making award-winning wines for over 30 years, and this Chardonnay is no exception. They use grapes from their own vineyards in Monterey County, which means that you can be sure the quality is always high. This wine has a rich golden color with notes of citrus and vanilla on the nose.

Ladera Vineyards Chardonnay

This Chardonnay is made from grapes grown in the Santa Lucia Highlands, which is a cool climate area. It’s aged in French oak barrels for about 15 months before being bottled and has notes of vanilla and toasted hazelnuts on the nose.

Hagafen Cellars “Reserve” Napa Valley Chardonnay

Made from grapes grown in Napa Valley. It has a rich golden color with notes of citrus, vanilla, and toasted hazelnuts on the nose. It’s aged for about 18 months in French oak barrels before being bottled.

Pinot Grigio

Pinot grigio is light and crisp, with a delicate flavor profile. As a result, it’s not too overpowering or sugary to pair with mild cheddar. It also has enough complexity to go well with sharp cheeses as well. It’s a versatile wine that will pair well with many different types of cheese.

If you’re unsure about which one might be best for your mac and cheese, Pinot Grigio is an excellent option. I recommend one of the following for a good pairing with Mac and Cheese:

2021 St. Michael-Eppan San Michele Appiano Pinot Grigio Sudtirol – Alto Adige

This wine has grown in popularity and is appreciated for its freshness, nice acidity, and pleasant, lingering aftertaste. Well worth seeking out.

2021 Pradio Priara Pinot Grigio Friuli Grave

From the Pradio Italian family estate, this Pinot Grigio presents as pale yellow in color. Notes are blended wildflowers and ripe fruit (apple, pear, banana). This wine has a long finish that is fresh and lingering on the palate.

2021 Cantina Zaccagnini Terre di Chieti IGT Pinot Gris

The color is straw yellow with a very pleasant aroma. It has clear fruity notes of pear and green apple, as well as slight hints of aromatic herbs. The taste is dominated by freshness and savoriness; it’s light enough for crisp white fruit but still flavorful enough to appeal to those who prefer something on the sweeter side.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon blanc is a dry white wine, so it pairs well with sharp cheddar and even hot sauce in your mac and cheese. Think of it as the perfect foil for that creamy sauce. It’s also a great match for the same milder cheeses you might find yourself pairing with a chardonnay like goat cheese, ricotta, or queso fresco.

Try one of these for a good pairing with mac and cheese:

Bread & Butter North Coast Sauvignon Blanc

This Sauvignon Blanc has bright aromas of lemon zest and hints of tropical fruit, lively flavors with citrus notes followed by a rich texture and a clean finish.

2021 Decoy California Sauvignon Blanc

Aromas of pineapple, lemon, and green apple lead the way for this crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Underneath those fresh scents is a layer of lime zest that adds another exciting dimension to what you taste, which lingers in your mouth long after each sip.

Lieu Dit Sauvignon Blanc 2017

This Sauvignon Blanc has aromas of ripe kiwi, lemon, and lime accented by hints of green apples. The palate is full and creamy with a rich mouthfeel that is balanced by crisp acidity.

Rosé

A rosé is a light, refreshing wine with a fruity flavor that pairs well with the cheese and meat in mac and cheese. Rosé may not be your first choice if you like red or white wines, but it is an excellent choice for those who don’t like red wine or white wine. It is a great choice for those who are trying to avoid alcohol or prefer to have something light before dinner.

RUMOR Rosé (Provence, France)

This is a very elegant, drinkable blush pink rosé. It has light red berry fruit and sharp citrus aromas, with a crisp, dry refreshing finish. It pairs with cured meats, fish, pasta, salads, and shellfish.

Sonoma-Cutrer Rosé of Pinot Noir (California)

This Pinot Noir blush from the Russian River Valley is a welcome change from the standard Grenache-based rosés you are probably used to. It has a bright acidity with hints of red berry fruits, pear, and stone fruit flavors. 

Whispering Angel Rosé (Provence, France)

This is an award-winning benchmark dry rose from Chateau d’EsclansinProvence.  It has notes of strawberry, raspberry, and peach with refreshing citrus and a smooth, dry finish.  Goes very well with fish dishes.

Red Wine Options

While cheese is an obvious pairing for wine, you also want to think about what you’re putting on top of your mac and cheese. Think about how the dish will be finished off, will it be spicy? If so, then consider a crisp red wine to complement the spice.

Red wines are often paired with meat dishes because they have bolder flavors than whites and can stand up to the spiciness of certain foods. Try a cabernet sauvignon or merlot with your mac and cheese. I recommend one of the following:

Cabernet Sauvignon

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-BagesPauillac (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.

Merlot

Mayacamas Mt. Veeder Napa Valley Merlot 2019

This mountainside Napa red, from historic estate Mayacamas, has 5% cabbernet franc in the blend that seems to lift the herbal notes on the nose. Bright blueberry fruit is balanced by savoury mushroom and pencil-lead flavours that are brilliantly held by the acidity and fine firm tannins that will allow this to age.

Arietta 2019 Merlot “Hudson” Carneros Napa

The 2019 Merlot Hudson Vineyard is full of dark fruit, chocolate and other savory notes that add complexity to the wine. The wine has a fruity bouquet, with aromas of fresh blueberries and raspberries mixed with vanilla and oak.

Château Lyonnat Emotion, Lussac Saint-Emilion, 2016

The wine’s deep and intense ruby color is accented by a powerful nose with aromas of black fruits, blackcurrant, and the darker berries. Notes of toasty oak lend complexity to an already complex bouquet. 

The wine’s aroma and flavor are bold, yet elegant. The woodsy scent of truffles lingers on the palate after each sip is swallowed.

Pinot Noir with Mushroom-bacon Mac and Cheese

Pinot noir is a classic pairing with mushrooms and bacon, so it’s a good choice to accompany an earthy mushroom-bacon mac and cheese. However, pinot noir is typically lighter than cabernet sauvignon, which makes it a good match for this dish. If you can find it at your local grocery store or wine shop, you won’t have any trouble bringing that fruity flavor home with you. I recommend one of the following Pinot Noir with your mac and cheese:

2016 Domaine Lecheneaut Les Pruliers

This is towards the more expensive end of the price range but no doubt this is an exceptional wine. Les Pruliers has a strong color. The wine offers aromas of fresh red fruit, wild prunes, and licorice. As it ages, it adds depth and roundness. It has aromas of cocoa, and smoked meat.

2019 Fanny Sabre Bourgogne Rouge

More affordable is the Fanny Sabre Bourgogne Rouge. This is an organic pinot noir that’s delicate, easy to drink, and naturally delicious. It has a fresh, crunchy, summer pudding fruit flavor with crisp acidity and just lip-smacking moreishness. And because it’s low in sulfur, it’s great for summer or winter drinking.

2018 Corazza Pinot Nero

At the lower end of the price range is the Pinot Nero. This is a unique wine from Friuli, a region in northeastern Italy. It’s made from the pinot noir grape and is unlike other pinot noirs you might be used to. It’s light, bright, and easy to drink.

Recommended Recipe For Mac and Cheese

If you are looking for a reliable Mac and Cheese recipe, I recommend The Chunky Chef’s Creamy Mac and Cheese. You probably have your own but this one is well worth a try and it’s easy to make.

Conclusion

When choosing a wine to go with mac and cheese, you’re looking for a pairing that will complement the flavors in your dish. You can’t go wrong by matching the type of wine to the flavor of your mac and cheese.

The basic rule of thumb is: dry whites are best for classic macs. Reds and rosés pair well with the trendier ingredients you’ll find topping this dish at restaurants and food trucks these days.

Dry white wines are best for classic mac and cheese because they have such a soft acidity that they won’t overpower the creamy texture of your meal, think Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.

Rosés are best when paired with spicy meats like pepper jack or cheddar. Their bright fruit notes cut through an overly rich sauce without overpowering it. The same goes for dry reds.

If you’re looking for something richer than white but not as bold as full-bodied reds, try medium-bodied whites like Pinot Grigio or Chenin Blanc both have enough body to stand up against both sharp cheddar flavors as well as creamy Brie toppings.

If you enjoyed this article, please check out my other posts such as the Best Wine for Meatloaf and the Best Wine with Spaghetti Bolognese.