Here's Why You Should Be Using White Wine In Your Tomato Sauce

Anyone who is a big fan of pasta probably knows it's pretty common for wine to be integrated into the tomato sauce for an extra depth of flavor. And if you're looking to start making wine-infused sauces at home, you may have a few questions — namely, should you opt for red or white wine? According to an expert, the answer is white. Tasting Table spoke to the expert in question, Alessandra Rotondi, the wine director of Serafina and Serafina Vino E Cucina, to find out the details of why white is superior for this usage.

Rotondi explained that red wine's flavor is a bit more prominent, so it may "[impart] too much flavor" into the sauce and take over the dish — thus, white wine is the better option. She continued, "A lot of red wine has interesting flavor notes that are fruit-forward, such as berries or tobacco, and earthy notes that would not mix well in a tomato sauce and would not be balanced and impart too much flavor that wouldn't mix with a tomato sauce."

If you want to give white wine-infused pasta a try, check out our recipes for buttery lobster spaghetti, penne boscaiola, or turkey tomato bolognese — all of which call for white wine. But, first, what type of white wine is the best choice?

Chardonnay is the best choice for integrating into tomato sauce

While white wine may be a better choice than red when it comes to using it in tomato sauce, there are some details to keep in mind when choosing. Firstly, the amount of acidity matters. Rotondi explained, "The wine has to be low in acidity in order to balance tomatoes, [which] regardless of what type, all have high acidity." White wine typically has more acidity than red wine, but it's still the better option because of the overpowering flavors of red. Still, it's important to choose the right white wine.

Rotondi's pick for a white wine would be Chardonnay, which just so happens to be one of the white wines with a lower acidity, along with Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc. Plus, the flavor of Chardonnay will work well within the sauce. Rotondi said, "White wine grape varietals that are smooth and round, like a Chardonnay, complement the sauce the best."

Now that you know chardonnay is the best pick, it's time to go get a bottle — but don't worry about splurging on a more expensive one. Rotondi said, "The price of the wine also does not matter. Often, chefs or home cooks in Italy use a lower-end wine, $15 or less, as the alcohol cooks off when creating the sauce." You could also use a leftover bottle of wine so it doesn't go to waste.