Good wine match for pesto?

We make fresh pesto a lot during the summer and I have tried a lot of different wines with it but nothing I have tried seems to work great for me. Looking for recs as the wife has informed me that I am making fresh pasta and pesto for her tonight.


Vermentino goes pretty well. If you want to go red, try Langhe Nebbiolo. We had a pesto pizza the other night with that and it really paired well with the flavor of the sauce.

I like Nebbiolo or Sangiovese with it. Every white I’ve tried has been completely overwhelmed by the pesto.

I like rich, dry whites with pesto.

swap out the parmesan for a few tablespoons of fresh creamy goat cheese.
Drink with any delicious high acid white

We make chicken paillard with pesto all the time. Its a bit different, but we find larger whites (viognier, marsanne/roussane) go nicely (not Wachau gruner tho), as well as richer fruit-driven champagnes or sparklers (white or rose), and older mature light-med body reds. We’ve also had a couple larger bodied rose wines that worked well.

You may think you want a super high acid white. Thats fine, but you need robust fruit flavors to “get past” the strong pesto flavors, otherwise you might as well be drinking la croix.

Agree with above, rich whites or light and fruity reds are both great for Pesto. Hell a lighter chianti is a-ok with me! Then again I would be curious to try Pigato or Vermintino just to see, given that they’re Ligurian.

A great idea but unfortunately the wife will veto it.

My pesto recipe calls for blanching the basil, toasting the pine nuts, sautéing the garlic…it “tames” some of those raw flavors, and I will bet with Suzanne goat cheese, it would be way easier to pair with. My recipe calls for a bit more work, but for those with difficulty with raw garlic, it does the trick.

I miss the Chianti wines made for early drinking, with an inclusion of Trebbiano and/or Malvasia.

Dry Chenin works great too!

This is getting particular, but this is a particular wine, I like the 2017 Montenidoli Canaiuolo Toscana IGT, it’s a rosato that has some savory qualities to it. It’s a really cool wine generally. Even a not current release might be a great match. Some of the Montenidoli Vernaccia might work well too.

I really like the idea of a light fruity red especially if you mix a good dollop of hot pasta water into the sauce before you add the hot pasta then mix in chopped tomatoes at the last minute.
Frippatto, Bardolino or even a dry Lambrusco.

Sounds great! There’s so much to play around with. Toasting the nuts not only tames them, but brings a savory depth. Other types of nuts can work well. There’s quite a range in mellow to harsh in various types of garlic and basil. Haven’t done goat cheese, but have used asiago.

The tomato suggestion is good. I’ll often chunk up home grown heirlooms and just barely warm them, as a topping to the pasta. Often also adding white bockwurst, which makes for a great trio.

Softer reds works well. Lower tannin, no heat, sufficient acid. Sangiovese is the most obvious, but plenty of others can work well.

I adjusted my pesto to be made with pistachios instead of pine-nuts. I find that pine-nuts in any form overwhelms all wine, but I might be overly sensitive to them.

If memory serves, blanching the basil keeps it a nice bright green.

I went with the 2015 COS Frappatto and while better than prior attempts still not great. I think there must just be something in our pesto that doesn’t work with wine for me. Changing the recipe isn’t an option so I will continue the search.

How about a Ridge Zin or a German Riesling.

Are you making your pesto with pine nuts? Pine nuts make everything taste off to me so we use walnuts in our pesto. Much easier to pair with wine.