There are so many wines from both Europe and the United States that complement the flavors in many types of lasagna. Whether serving a cheese, meat, vegetarian or white lasagna, take personal taste into account. In general, a heavy dish like lasagna pairs best with fuller-bodied wines, including reds, whites and blends.
Meat lasagna, traditionally layered with hearty tomato sauce and rich cheeses, pairs well with full-bodied red wines such as Shiraz, Chianti and Valpolicella. Use your own palate and preferences to guide you among the variety of complementary wines. Those who prefer dry wines can choose the Shiraz or Chianti. Opt for Valpolicella with lasagna made with sweet or spicy Italian sausage. Valpolicella retains the full-bodied red character while holding on to a fruity flavor, blending cherry, grape and vanilla.
White lasagna made with either chicken, cheese only, or a seafood blend pairs best with full-bodied white wines. Choose Pinot grigio, Chardonnay, or white blends that feature a crisp finish with a dry full-bodied feel. Look for labels that list oaken, citrus blend or vanilla undertones for white lasagna.
Because vegetarian lasagna is less rich than lasagna with meat or seafood, a lighter-bodied wine is a good match. Choose a Pinot Noir to pair with spinach marinara lasagna or a Viognier for an Alfredo lasagna layered with zucchini or artichokes. Malbec and Syrah, with their fruity and light flavors and slightly tannic taste, are wonderful with the fresh tomato sauce, ricotta cheese and fresh basil in lasagna Caprese.
Chicken works well in both cheesy lasagna with white sauce and a rich lasagna with garlicky red sauce. In a red-sauce lasagna with dark-meat chicken, ignore the old adage of pairing poultry with white wine. Only a Syrah or Merlot can fully complement the complex flavors of dark-meat chicken. When using chicken breasts, choose a lighter wine. Something like a Pinot Noir works with red sauce. Pinot grigio is best for chicken breasts with white sauce.
Andrea Lott Haney writes articles and training materials for food industry publications. Having studied foodservice sanitation, nutrition and menu planning at Purdue University, Lott Haney has more than 10 years of experience as a catering and event planner for luxury hotels and currently tours the Midwest as a corporate customer service trainer and consultant.