Italian reds are absolutely the way to go with pasta Bolognese. Here are three different types of wines to try.

By Kristin Donnelly
February 08, 2015

Italian reds are absolutely the way to go with this hearty meat sauce. Here are three different types of wines to try.

If you’re feeling flush.
Barolo and Barbaresco are Italy’s most prized reds (they’re often called the king and queen). Both made from the Nebbiolo grape, they have beautiful aromatics and a serious acid-tannin structure that are fantastic with Bolognese. For Barolo, look for bottles with several years of age on them from producers like Vietti or Cavallotto. Barbaresco is usually ready to drink a little younger. The best producers include Bruno Giacosa and Roagna (both of whom also make some Barolo).

If you’re feeling less so.
So, you don’t want to spend a lot? Or think too much? Then you can’t go wrong with Barbera. This northern Italian grape tends to have happy cherry fruit and tart acidity that’s great with rich sauces. Look for bottles from the same producers as above.

If you’re feeling fun.
If you follow the theory that what grows together goes together, then you should pair Bolognese with its home region’s best-known wine: Lambrusco. These sparkling wines (usually red) range from pink and off-dry to dark, tannic and brooding. Look for one somewhere in the middle, with bright berry fruit, such as bottles from Zanasi or Medici Ermete.

Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.

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