Pairing lasagne and wine: Quick guide
- Beef lasagne calls for ripe, juicy red wines
- Try Barbera, Gamay, plus lighter styles of Carignan and Sangiovese
- Avoid too much oak and tannin
- Vegetarian lasagne fans could try lightly oaked Chardonnay
Lasagne al forno, originally from Emilia Romagna, is an all-time favourite among well-known Italian dishes. But, myriad flavours thrown up by layers of pasta, béchamel and beef can make lasagne difficult to pair with wine.
Wines with good levels of acidity will help, because they are able to cut through the different sauces and layers.
‘Lasagne which tends to be quite rich in flavour, especially if it involves béchamel and minced beef, so a red wine would be perfect,’ said Matthieu Longuère MS, wine tutor at the Le Cordon Bleu London, in his guide to matching wine and pasta.
‘Pick a ripe, juicy, fresh style of wine like a Barbera from Italy, a Beaujolais [Gamay], or an Austrian Zwiegelt.’
Eric Zwiebel MS, sommelier at Summer Lodge Hotel and a Decanter World Wine Awards judge, said, ‘You could try Dolcetto, Barbera, Blaufrankisch or Gamay. You could also try pairing it with a rosé wine.’
Alexandre Freguin, head sommelier at Moor Rooms and Taittinger Sommelier of the Year 2018, said that going for an Italian wine would be a good place to start.
‘Perhaps some southern influence, [such as] Nerello Mascalese from Sicily, or a Cannonau [Grenache] from Sardinia,’ he said.
‘Carignan is another red varietal to consider,’ he added, suggesting those from Chile’s Maule Valley, with flavours of raspberry and cranberry.
Wines to avoid
You don’t want to give the dish even more to compete with.
‘It is better to stay away from oakiness in the wine,’ said Longuère.
‘Avoid red wines with too much tannin,’ said Zwiebel.
However, be wary of going to light. ‘I think very light styles would not work with this kind of dish – it would do no favours for the wine or the food,’ said Freguin.
Pairing wines with vegetarian lasagne will naturally depend on the filling. Any variations with cream, lots of ricotta or mushrooms – and no tomato sauce – would go better with a white wine that has a little bit of weight, so you could try Chardonnay styles with a little bit of oak.
A more delicately flavoured vegetarian lasagne should also work with a lighter, dry white style, such as Picpoul or Sauvignon Blanc.