The Best Wine Pairings For Carbonara

These mineral-rich wines help balance carbonara’s creamy texture.
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©Trecca – Cucina di Mercato

An Italian staple around the world known for its creamy texture and indulgent flavors, carbonara is a simple yet hearty dish. Traditionally made with egg yolks, guanciale (cured pork cheek), pecorino cheese and black pepper, its ubiquitous at trattorias throughout Rome. Carbonara’s rich and creamy sauce presents both a challenge, and an opportunity, when it comes to wine pairings. The wine must pair with the creaminess of the sauce, the bite of black pepper, the crunch of the guanciale, the sweetness of the egg yolk and the overall savory flavor of the dish.

The origins of the pasta dish are not entirely clear, but it has been suggested that it was a fairly recent recipe, possibly created as a meal for the charcoal workers known as Carbonari. Other stories relate its origin to Rome, where a chef first prepared it for the American and Italian armies in 1944. Regardless of its origins, it is much beloved alongside other Roman classics including Amatriciana, Cacio e Pepe and Gricia.

Let’s explore some of the wines and regions to pair with carbonara.

Franciacorta

Franciacorta is a sparkling wine from Lombardy in Northern Italy. Similar to champagne, it uses the “Traditional Method” for vinification in the bottle, and also uses Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. With delicate flavors, fresh aromas, and refreshing acidity, Franciacorta pairs well with carbonara’s silky texture and peppery flavors. You can never go wrong with pairing fried or creamy food with sparkling wines — the bubbles help cleanse the palate between bites and create a pleasant contrast with indulgent dishes. Be sure to try this delightful gastronomic experience.

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Fiano di Avellino

A white wine hails from volcanic soils and the Mediterranean climate of Campania, Fiano di Avellino is one of our favorites. Known for its vibrant acidity and elegant structure, this wine offers freshness with mineral notes and a complex bouquet. You can enjoy aromas of toasted hazelnuts, spices, and floral hints that pair well with the creamy texture of the carbonara pasta. Similarly, Greco di Tufo, with its slightly more pronounced minerality and hints of pear, apricot, and almond, has similar refreshing and mineral characteristics. Both of these are excellent wine pairings for carbonara, helping to cut through the richness of the creamy sauce.

Soave

Soave, with its gentle acidity and mineral undertones, complements the rich and creamy texture of carbonara pasta, refreshing the palate between bites. Originating from the picturesque hillsides of the Veneto region in Italy, this wine is celebrated for its versatility and balance, making it an ideal match for the complexity of carbonara. Made from Garangnega grapes, its fruity aromatic notes of melon, apples, pears and citrus pair beautifully with the guanciale and contrasting the savoriness of the dish. Soave is elegant and understated: try it next time you need a versatile white wine at your Italian dinner party.

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Etna Rosso

Etna Rosso, a wine made from Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio grapes that thrive in the high-altitude volcanic soil region of Mount Etna in Sicily, is an intriguing pairing for carbonara. Its vibrant acidity, red fruit flavors and velvety tannins enhance carbonara’s flavors by contrasting the creamy texture and richness of the sauce. And the subtle smokiness and herbal notes of the wine complement the savory pancetta or bacon used in the dish, adding depth to the overall taste experience.


Each of these wines offers a unique flavor profile and characteristic that can enhance the dining experience with your carbonara. But if you can’t find these specific wines, fret not. Most Italian wines are considered to be gastronomical wines and can can pair with the simplest of dishes with ease. For your next carbonara meal, open a bottle of Italian wine at hand and let the pairing surprise you.

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