5 Different Wine and Risotto Pairings You Gotta Try Tonight

How to Perfectly Pair Wine with Italy's Creamy Delight!

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What Wine to Pair With Risotto 2024

One of my personal favorite dishes (as my main meal)  or even a side is all things risotto.  I typically never try to make it myself (unless I get the one from Trader Joe’s) because I tend to mess it up.  However, if it’s one thing I do know for sure it’s how to pair a wide variety of wines based on the type of risotto dish that’s being served.

As you know, risotto is such a traditional and delicious Italian dish made with creamy arborio rice, and it pairs well with a bunch of different types of wines. The choice of wine depends on the ingredients used in the risotto.

So, I put together an extensive list of some of the most popular risotto dishes, based on ingredients, and paired them with one main wine and a couple of back-ups too.  I included some regions as well so you can help narrow down your choice and know what to look for when you head to your favorite wine shop.

Different Wines to Try With Risotto

Mushroom Risotto + Pinot Noir

Mushroom risotto is usually so deliciously rich and earthy and one of my personal favorites, so I find that it pairs well with a medium-bodied red wine like Pinot Noir or Chianti.

Pinot Noir from Oregon or California or Chianti from Tuscany, Italy are great options. Another option is a white wine like Chardonnay, especially if the mushroom risotto is served with seafood.  And speaking of seafood…

Seafood Risotto + Pinot Grigio

Always a popular menu item and typically on the specials list is a brilliant seafood risotto.  Seafood risotto is delicate and light, so it pairs well with a crisp, acidic white wine like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc.

Pinot Grigio from Italy’s Veneto region or Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley, France or Marlborough, New Zealand are perfect options.

And don’t worry, if you don’t love a white and would prefer a red wine, choose a light-bodied red like Beaujolais or a Spanish Tempranillo.

Lobster Risotto + Chardonnay

Who doesn’t love lobster?  Lobster risotto is a pretty luxurious dish whether it’s your main course, an app, or even just your side.  I find this can pair well a full-bodied white wine or a light-bodied red wine with good acidity. Since there are a bunch of different wines I personally love to pair it with I’m going to list them all out.

Chardonnay: A full-bodied Chardonnay from California or Burgundy, France, with notes of tropical fruit and vanilla, is a classic pairing for lobster risotto. The buttery and rich texture of the wine complements the creamy risotto, and the acidity cuts through the richness of the dish.

Pinot Noir: A light-bodied Pinot Noir from Oregon or Burgundy, France, with bright fruit flavors and good acidity, can also pair well with lobster risotto. The wine’s acidity helps to balance the rich and creamy flavors of the dish, while the fruit flavors complement the sweet and delicate flavor of the lobster.

Champagne or Sparkling Wine: A dry Champagne or sparkling wine from France or a similar sparkling wine can also work well with this dish. The bubbles help to cleanse the palate and cut through the rich flavors of the risotto, while the wine’s acidity pairs well with the sweetness of the lobster.

Vermentino: A medium-bodied white wine with good acidity and citrus flavors like Vermentino from Sardinia, Italy can also pair well. Its lightness and refreshing quality make it an excellent pairing for the creamy risotto and delicate flavor of the lobster.

Nebbiolo: A medium-bodied red wine like Nebbiolo from Piedmont, Italy can also pair well with lobster risotto. It has good acidity, high tannins, and notes of red fruit and earthiness, which complement the richness of the dish and provide a nice contrast.

Tomato Risotto + Beaujolais

I find most tomato risottos to be sweet and tangy, so I think that it usually pairs well with a light-bodied red wine like Beaujolais or a crisp white wine like Vermentino.

Beaujolais from Burgundy, France, or Vermentino from Sardinia or Tuscany, Italy are fun options to take a look at.

Butternut Squash Risotto + Chardonnay

Butternut squash risotto is sweet and savory, so it pairs well with a full-bodied white wine like Chardonnay or a medium-bodied red wine like Syrah.

Chardonnay from California or Burgundy, France, or Syrah from Australia or California are regions to look into.

In Conclusion

So, in conclusion (if you made it this far) pairing wine with your risotto dish can elevate your entire experience and really enhance the flavors of both the food and wine.

When selecting a wine to pair with your risotto, it’s important to consider the ingredients in the dish, the texture and richness of the risotto, and of course your personal preferences.

In general, a crisp white wine or dry rosé (especially in the summer) is a good match for lighter risotto dishes with seafood, vegetables, or herbs, while a medium-bodied white or light red wine works well with richer and creamier risotto dishes with cheese, mushrooms, or truffles.

Full-bodied white wines, like Chardonnay or Viognier, and medium-bodied red wines, like Pinot Noir or Nebbiolo, can pair well with lobster or meat-based risottos.

At the end of the day, the key to successful wine and risotto pairing is to experiment and find what works best for you and your personal palate. Don’t be afraid to try different wines to find the perfect match for your risotto dish, and always remember that wine and food pairing is a matter of personal preference and can really be fun.  Drink what you like!