The Best Italian White Wine To Pair With Tomato Sauce, According To An Expert

Red wines should always be paired with red sauce — or should they? Although dishes featuring tomato sauce are often paired with classics like chianti or barbera, that doesn't mean that a crisp Italian white wine is out of the question. In fact, some experts believe that white wine can be just as viable of a match for tomato sauce-laden pasta or pizza dishes. There is, however, one style of white wine that outweighs all the rest, according to an expert.

"The wines in the burgeoning macerated white or orange wine category, make great wine pairings for many dishes, including tomato sauce," shares Nathan Grunow, Wine Director at Jovanina's Broken Italian in Denver, Colorado when asked about the ideal wine pairing for saucy indulgences. "Focus on something with a rounder, more viscous mouthfeel that retains a pop of freshness on the finish."

As for which bottles of white will consistently win over diners in any scenario, Grunow is partial to lightly macerated whites. His personal favorite? One is Maria Sole's Ficomontanino Zacinta Revi, an organic and refreshingly bright blend of quickly pressed sangiovese grapes and macerated sauvignon blanc. Of course, with so many delicious orange wines on the market, there's plenty of room to experiment with other bottles of Italian vino macerato.

Selecting macerated white wines for tomato sauce

Virtually any white wine that has seen some skin contact can match tomato sauce. Boasting the best of both worlds, these tangerine-tinged expressions offer the approachability and high acidity of a white wine coupled with the structure and weight of a red. It's precisely this skin contact that gives the deeper colors, bolder flavors, and grippier textures capable of standing up against a rich or acidic sauce. 

Because no two wines are the same, consider a few factors before opting for just any bottle. Start with grape varietals for insight into a wine's structure. For the best results, recall Grunow's advice and seek out wines made with grapes that have a naturally high level of acidity and a fuller mouthfeel. A tart-leaning Greco di Tufo, herbally nuanced verdicchio, full and funky grillo, or pinot grigio made in a ramato style can be good starting points. 

The duration of skin contact will render certain bottles better for certain red sauces. A heavily seasoned tomato sauce might do well with an equally powerful orange wine, whereas simple sauces could fare better with a lighter white that's experienced minimal skin contact. In any case, pairing tomato sauce with a glass of macerated white wine should intrigue even the pickiest of palates.