Eggplant Parmesan pairs best with juicy and acidic red wines such as Primitivo, Barbera, Chianti, Valpolicella, and Zinfandel. For white wine pairings, a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a glass of sparkling white wine will keep you refreshed from the bombardment of cheese, fried breading and bitter eggplant flavours.
Eggplant Parmesan, or Eggplant alla Parmigiana, is made from breaded Eggplant strips pan-fried and topped with a melted cheese and tangy tomato sauce.
Best Wine with Eggplant Parmesan
Primitivo & Eggplant alla Parmigiana Pairing
Primitivo pairs well with Eggplant Parmesan as it is an easy-drinking red wine with warm flavours of dried cherry and plum. These red fruit flavours complement the sweeter side of the tomato sauce and smooth out the bitterness of the Eggplant. Low in tannin and full of herbal notes, Primitivo will not fight with the high acidity of the tomato sauce.
Primitivo is the Italian version of Zinfandel, and you can expect something more laid back than the rich and jammy California-style Zinfandel. Notes of herbs, spices, and smoke are abundant, and the high acidity of Primitivo keeps your mouth refreshed as it whisks all the gooey cheese fats and fried breading flavours away.
Barbera & Eggplant Parmesan Pairing
Barbera makes an excellent wine pairing with Eggplant Parmesan as it’s light-bodied and high in acidity. High acidity is a must when pairing red wine with tomato sauce, as the acidity in the tomatoes will make red wines high in tannin taste flat and metallic. The acidity of Barbera also washes away the heavy fats of the cheese and fried breading, which tend to clog up your taste buds.
For even more refreshment, serve Barbera at cellar temperature, which sits at 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
While light-bodied, Barbera features rich flavours of cherry, earth, herbs, minerals, plum and spice, which complement the eggplant and tomato sauce of Eggplant Parmesan. You’ll also find notes of black pepper, dark chocolate, mushroom and smoke in Barbera, making each sip of wine fascinating as the flavours mingle with the various ingredients of your Eggplant Parmesan.
Cariñena & Eggplant Parmesan Pairing
Cariñena is a Spanish red wine featuring plush flavours of raspberry and cranberry and baking spice notes of cinnamon and star anise. While medium-bodied and fruity, Cariñena also has a savoury side with notes of smoke and cured meat, making it exceptional with rich dishes, such as Eggplant Parmesan.
Cariñena is low in tannin, which smoothes out those bitter notes found in Eggplant Parmesan. Meanwhile, the dried herb and baking spice notes blend well with any herbs in your tomato sauce.
Sauvignon Blanc & Eggplant Parmesan Pairing
If you are a white wine drinker, any white wine high in acidity will pair up great with Eggplant Parmesan. I feel red wine pairs better, as wines with cherry and plum notes complement the tomato flavours of the tomato sauce. Furthermore, Italy’s rustic red wines tend to feature many herbal notes, which are magnificent with tomato sauce.
Fortunately, Sauvignon Blanc is loaded with green and herbaceous notes, which makes Sauvignon Blanc an excellent wine pairing with Eggplant Parmesan. Sauvignon Blanc isn’t all green notes; rather, it’s quite crisp with delicious grapefruit, lemon, lime and gooseberry notes. With all these citrusy flavours, and its brisk acidity, Sauvignon Blanc keeps you refreshed against the bombardment of heavy cheese, fried breading and meaty eggplant flavours.