Duane McLaughlin

Wine Choices for a Classic Bolognese Dish

Guiding you through selecting wines to pair with a classic Bolognese.

A serving of Bolognese with a suitable wine pairing

Basics to Pairing Wine With Bolognese

As a general rule, Bolognese, with its rich, meaty, and tomato-based sauce, pairs wonderfully with medium to full-bodied red wines. The ideal wine should complement the savory depth and herby flavors of the sauce while cutting through the richness with good acidity.

General Tips for Pairing Wine with Bolognese

When pairing wine with Bolognese, consider the sauce's dominant flavors, such as tomato, beef, garlic, and herbs. The acidity in the tomatoes and the richness of the meat demand a wine that balances both. Look for wines with good acidity, moderate tannins, and complementary flavors like cherry, plum, and earthy notes. Avoid overly tannic or oaky wines as they can overwhelm the dish's subtleties.

Specific Pairings for Bolognese

Here are some specific wine pairings that can elevate a Bolognese meal:

  • Chianti Classico (€15-€30): With its bright acidity and cherry notes, Chianti Classico is a classic pairing. A bottle like Castello di Ama Chianti Classico will complement the tomato base and match the herbaceous flavors.
  • Barbera (€20-€40): Known for its high acidity and low tannins, Barbera like Giacomo Conterno Barbera d'Alba is a great match for the rich meat and tomato sauce, offering a fruity counterbalance without overpowering the dish.

Can you drink white wine with Bolognese?

While traditional pairings favor red wine, a full-bodied white wine like an oaked Chardonnay can surprisingly complement Bolognese. Its buttery texture and subtle fruitiness can cut through the richness of the sauce, offering a unique pairing experience.

Bolognese with a Modern Twist

When it comes to Italian cuisine, the simple and original recipes are always the best, but sometimes you want something new. For a twist, try a vegetarian Bolognese with lentils and mushrooms, highlighting the umami with ingredients like soy sauce and porcini mushrooms. Pair this version with a lighter red like Pinot Noir to complement the earthy, savory notes.


In summary, pairing wine with Bolognese is about finding a balance between the acidity and richness of the dish. While traditional Italian reds are a safe bet, don't be afraid to experiment with full-bodied whites or lighter reds, especially with modern variations of the dish. Ultimately, the best pairing is one that suits your personal preference and enhances your dining experience.