How to pair white wine: a brief guide

White wine is commonly associated with a lighter and less demanding wine, perhaps to be combined with first or second courses of fish.

In reality, while this rule is valid, it is not always correct! There are many full-bodied and structured white wines that pair much better with meats and cured meats.

In order to choose the right wine, in fact, it is necessary to dwell on its organoleptic properties, such as acidity, the presence of residual sugars, structure and alcohol content.

To juggle white wines and choose the right wine for your meals we can make a great simplification: more acidic wines are intended and energetic, ideal for fatty foods such as cheese, for example, or even to be used in combination with desserts.

Aromatic white wines, on the other hand, are ideal for white meats or fish while drier wines with a slight minerality are the perfect match for seafood.

For meat, on the other hand, if you prefer white to red, it is good to use a wine with robust tannins that balance the fat in the meat.

White wine for appetizers

The appetizer is the prelude to the main courses as a first and second course, they must stimulate the appetite and therefore be delicious and light.

Based on the type of appetizer, you can choose the best white wine but there is only one golden rule: in combination with an appetizer, you need a light and unstructured wine (especially alcoholic content).

White wine first

The first course is the main course of a meal. Typical Italian tradition associates pasta or rice with the first course, both of which can be combined with a good white wine.

Also in this case the white wine is associated with seafood first courses or risottos, due to their more delicate flavour.

In reality it can also be used with some first courses, such as a classic spaghetti with tomato sauce that goes perfectly with a dry white wine.

The bubbles, on the other hand, are perfect for enhancing first courses with seafood, scampi and prawns.

White wine for seconds

It is a general rule that second courses, as far as wine is concerned, are very divisive: white – fish and red – meat. But is it really so?

Obviously not! Some characteristics of white wines also go perfectly with meat, enhancing its flavour.

White wine for fish main courses

If it is true that white wine is preferred for fish, not all whites are suitable for any type of fish. Also in this case the golden rule is: the body of the wine must support the structure of the dish.

The lighter and less elaborate the dish, the lighter the wine should be and vice versa.

Another important distinction is that between saltwater and freshwater fish. The former tend to be tastier and require more structured wines than lake fish, while crustaceans and molluscs go well with soft and slightly aromatic wines.

White wine for meat main courses

White meats, as we know, go well with white wines: they have a light and delicate flavor and require a light wine that does not overpower the flavour.

Even in this case, however, it is important to take into account the type of cooking of the meat: the more cooked and elaborated it is, the more it is necessary to switch to a full-bodied wine or switch to rosé and red wines.

White wine for dessert

Passitos, Moscatos and bubbles are ideal in combination with sweets, fruit and desserts.

To choose the best white wine for the end of a meal, it is important to keep in mind the type of grape and the winemaking process: for example, passito wines (which derive from "withered" grapes, harvested later) which are more sugary are perfect with leavened products while sparkling wines and bubbles (which require double fermentation) are ideal for spoon desserts.