Best Wine for Risotto: A Pairing For Every Type of Risotto

Best Wine for Risotto

If you love risotto as much as we do, then you already know that it’s the ultimate comfort food. From creamy varieties with mushrooms or truffles to simple, light versions served in warmer months – all of them have one thing in common: a good wine pairing can make the flavors shine even more! 

Therefore, we will list out and explain the best pairing for each type of risotto and the reasons why!

Table of Contents

What Wine Should You Use To Make Risotto?

When it comes to making a delicious risotto, the rule of thumb for a cooking wine is to use a crisp, dry, unoaked white wine. Pinot Grigio and Dry Vermouth are my first choices.

  1. Dry Vermouth: It has a complex and herbaceous flavor profile that can add a subtle depth of flavor to the risotto. Plus, it has a slightly bitter taste with notes of herbs and spices, which can complement the other ingredients in the dish. Additionally, its a fortified wine that contains added botanicals, including herbs and spices. And this gives it a higher acidity than regular wine, which can help to balance the richness of the risotto and add a bright, tangy flavor.

  2. Pinot Grigio: The acidity in Pinot Grigio helps cut through the starchiness of the arborio rice and prevents the dish from becoming too heavy. Additionally, the wine adds a slightly fruity flavor and aroma that can complement the other ingredients in risotto dishes.

  3. Sauvignon Blanc: This wine has bright acidity and herbaceous flavors like green pepper and grass, which can add a nice freshness to the risotto.

  4. Chardonnay: A lightly oaked Chardonnay can add a subtle richness and creaminess to the risotto, while a unoaked Chardonnay can provide bright acidity and apple or pear flavors.

  5. Dry Sherry: It has a nutty, savory flavor with hints of caramel and a slightly acidic finish. Therefore, these flavors can add depth and complexity to the risotto and can complement a range of ingredients, especially those with earthy or nutty flavors.

Ultimately, the best wine to use in your risotto recipes will depend on your personal preference and the other ingredients. Just be sure to choose a dry white wine that you enjoy drinking and that will complement the other flavors in your dish.

What Are The Different Types of Risotto?

While there are countless variations of risotto, here are some of the most common types:

  • Mushroom aka Risotto ai Funghi – This creamy mushroom risotto is made with a variety of mushrooms, such as porcini, shiitake, or cremini, along with onions, garlic, and Parmesan cheese. It has a hearty and earthy flavor.
  • Truffle – a delicious and luxurious dish that combines creamy risotto with the earthy, aromatic flavor of truffles
  • Tomato aka Risotto al Pomodoro – This type of risotto typically includes chopped fresh tomatoes or tomato puree, along with other ingredients like garlic, onion, Parmesan cheese, and various fresh herbs and spices to enhance the flavor. 
  • Basil Pesto – this type of risotto is typically made by stirring fresh basil pesto into the cooked arborio rice, along with other ingredients. And the result is a creamy and flavorful dish with a bright green color and a distinctive basil taste.
  • Pea and Asparagus / Vegetable –  Typically referred to as a “vegetarian risotto” or a “spring risotto,” since peas and asparagus are both common ingredients in risottos that are popular during the spring season.
  • Seafood aka Risotto ai Frutti di Mare – This seafood risotto is made with a mix of seafood, such as shrimp, clams, and mussels, along with onions, garlic, and white wine. It has a rich and savory flavor that is perfect for seafood lovers.

What Are The Best Wines for Risotto?

Wild Mushroom Risotto and Pinot Noir

Best Wine for mushroom Risotto

This is a classic pairing and one of my favorite wine and food combinations! Pinot Noir and mushrooms.

Pinot Noir has fruity and earthy flavors that complement the earthy, nutty flavors of wild mushrooms. Therefore, these flavors work together to create a rich, satisfying taste experience.

Plus, Pinot Noir has a medium level of acidity that helps cut through the creamy richness of the risotto. Also, the acidity in the wine helps bring out the flavors of the mushrooms and the parmesan cheese often used in risotto.

Furthermore, its a red wine with low to medium tannin levels, which makes it a good match for the creamy texture of the risotto. High tannin wines can clash with the creaminess of risotto, making the pairing less enjoyable.

And finally, Pinot Noir is a lighter-bodied red wine, which pairs well with the relatively lighter weight of risotto. The red wine won’t overpower the dish, allowing the flavors of the mushroom risotto to shine through.

Truffle Risotto and Barolo

Best Wine for truffle Risotto

Barolo aka “King of Wines” is an ideal match for a Truffle Risotto due to its natural compatibility with Italian wines.

Barolo is a full-bodied red wine with a complex and earthy flavor profile that includes notes of cherry, plum, licorice, tar, roses, and spice. These flavors complement the earthy and slightly musky flavor of truffles. Therefore, the two together create a rich and luxurious flavor experience.

Also, Barolo has a high level of acidity, which helps cut through and balance the richness of the risotto. And again the acidity of this wine will also help bring out the flavors of the truffles and the cheese in the risotto.


Tomato Risotto and Sangiovese

Best Wine for tomato risotto more delicate the wine pinot bianco

For an effortless pairing, Italian wines paired with Italian dishes will always hit the spot. Thus a Sangiovese is the perfect wine pairing for Tomato Risotto. The same wonderful flavors featured in this wine can be found as ingredients of the dish.

For example, the natural tart cherry and roasted tomato flavors of this wine complement the sweetness of tomatoes in the risotto. Because when paired with the sweetness of the tomatoes, the tart fruit notes in this wine will taste softer and fruitier. Therefore, both the fruity, tart, and savory flavors of the wine and risotto will compliment each other nicely.

Basil Pesto Risotto and Sauvignon Blanc

Basil Pesto Risotto is fragrant, nutty, and earthy, making it an ideal meal to pair with a light-bodied Sauvignon Blanc which offers a tart acidity that can elevate Basil Pesto Risotto’s complex flavors.

Plus, the bright acidity of the white wine also cuts through the richness of the risotto, refreshing the palate with each sip and bringing out its distinct herbal notes. 

Finally, this light bodied wine has mouthwatering flavors of bell peppers, tropical fruits and citrus that will intensify from the Basil Pesto Risotto’s aromatic herbs and rich cheeses. 

Pea and Asparagus/Vegetable Risotto and Gruner Veltliner

pea asparagus risotto and white wines

Pea and Asparagus/Vegetable risotto is a flavorful, yet light dish that pairs well with the Gruner Veltliner wine.

Gruner Veltliner is known for its bright acidity and green notes, which complement the fresh, earthy flavors of the vegetables in the risotto. Both the wine and the dish contain notes of green fruit, green herbs, and vegetal flavors, creating a harmonious match.

Plus the wine’s zesty acidity helps to cut through the rich creamy texture of the risotto. Lastly, the white pepper notes of this crisp white wine, adds more depth in flavor to the dish. Just a wonderful pairing for your next vegetable risotto. 

Seafood Risotto and Albariño

Best Wine for seafood risotto and white wines

Albariño wine is one of the best wines to pair with seafood! And it’s deliciously paired with just about everything seafood!

Because the wine’s salty and mineral character accentuates the taste of the sea in the dish. Plus, Albariño is a high-acidic wine with citrus notes that provides a refreshing contrast to the richness of the dish. Furthermore, Albariño has a bright, citrusy character that complements the lemon and other citrus flavors often found in seafood risotto. 

Lastly, seafood risotto and Albariño is a great food and wine pairing because they both have fresh and delicate flavors that do not overpower each other.

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