Wine Pairing: Pinot Grigio and Pasta with Tomato and Basil Sauce

Welcome back to the Ultra Wine Racks blog.

We’re your source for wine racking display ideas, winery profiles, wine and food pairings, and wine news. It’s been three weeks since our last wine and food pairing post (rioja and cheeseburgers). Today we’re going Italian: one-pot pasta with tomato and basil sauce paired with Livio Felluga Pinot Grigio. We’re out to prove that there’s no better match for pasta than a white wine, so let’s get started!



The traditional method for making a pasta dinner usually involves, at minimum, two pots: one to boil the pasta and one to cook the sauce. But we scoured the web and found a really cool one-pot pasta recipe that’s sure to streamline your time in the kitchen. You can serve this up with an easy green salad on the side, or some crusty garlic bread.


  • 12 ounces fusili or casarecce pasta
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (28 oz.)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion (sliced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (sliced)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves (firmly packed)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 1 package baby spinach (6 oz.)
  • Parmesan cheese (grated)



In a Dutch oven, combine the pasta, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, onion, garlic, oregano, basil leaves, salt, and olive oil. (Also add the crushed red pepper if desired.) Cover the Dutch oven. Boil the pasta mixture over medium-high heat for 12-15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook pasta, still covered, for a further 10-12 minutes (stirring every 5 minutes).

View full recipe here: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/pasta-tomato-basil-sauce



Pinot grigio, as the name implies, is a white wine grape. Also called pinot gris, its name may originate from the slightly greyish tint of the fruit. Pinot grigio is grown all around the world, in two main styles: a “spicy” Alsatian style common in New Zealand, Australia, Washington, and Oregon, and a lighter and more acidic style found in Italy and Germany.

Now, this pasta dish we’ve just made is very flavorful. It’s got onion, garlic, oregano, fresh basil, and (potentially) crushed red pepper. You wouldn’t want a “spicy” pinot grigio to pair with it. That’d just be overwhelming. You’re going to want some acidity to cut through the rich and flavorful sauce you’ve just made for the pasta. That’s why the light-bodied, acidic Italian style of pinot grigio works best. That, and we’re working off Rule #7 from this article (“What grows together goes together”). Makes sense to pair an Italian pasta dish with an Italian wine!

pinot grigio northern italy livio felluga wine food pairing pasta ultra wine racks

The wine we’ve chosen is Livio Felluga. This is one of the most popular pinot grigios in the world, according to VinePair. The winery is located in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region of northeast Italy, abutting Slovenia and Austria. Livio Felluga is renowned for its white wines, and their pinot grigio is the most popular of them all. Livio Felluga’s website claims that their winemaking techniques help to preserve pinot grigio’s signature coppery color. They also suggest that their pinot grigio pairs well with risotto, a rice dish from Northern Italy which also contains onion and Parmesan cheese (and in some cases, chicken broth). For this reason, we feel that Livio Felluga would pair well with our one-pot pasta.



Usually one pairs red wines with pasta, especially pasta with tomato-based sauces. But our one-pot pasta doesn’t have anything too heavy in it, like beefy meatballs or pancetta or sausage. So we don’t need a big, bold red with heavy tannins to complement the meatiness. Nor do we need a sweet wine to offset the saltiness or savoriness. What we have is a rich, broth-based pasta sauce that’s intensely herbal, so a nicely crisp and acidic Italian white wine should do the trick.

And that’s exactly what Livio Felluga pinot grigio is: crisp and acidic, with aromas of orange blossoms, daisies, apricots, and peaches. Its flavor is described as a combination of pastry, pineapple, melon, peach, and pear. The fruit-forward freshness of the flavor and the elegant acidity help to balance out the savoriness and herbaceousness of the pasta’s tomato and basil sauce. As long as your side salad isn’t too citrusy, and the dressing isn’t creamy, this wine should pair harmoniously with it as well.

You don’t always have to go with red wine when you cook an Italian dinner. There are many whites (especially Italian ones) that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with pasta dishes with rich, tomatoey sauces. We believe Livio Felluga pinot grigio is one of them. If you’ve tried this food and wine pairing and liked it, let us know in the comments section! And stay tuned for another delicious pairing in three weeks’ time. Finally, don’t forget to check out our website for wine displays and racking solutions.


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