The best wines to pair with Pesto Sauce include Sauvignon Blanc, Chablis, Albariño, Grüner Veltliner, and Pinot Gris.  You’ll want to look for white wines that aren’t overly ripe and have a green quality o match the green flavours of basil, garlic and olive oil found in the Pesto sauce.  Avoid oaked white wines at all costs, as the tannin in the oak will taste bitter when pitted against Pesto’s sharp garlic and green flavours.  Your white wine will also need some heft, as Pesto Sauce is very flavourful and will crush wimpy white wines.

When it comes to red wine, you’ll need lighter herbal reds that are high in acidity and low in tannin.  The herbal aspect of Pesto can clash with the red and dark fruit flavours of heavier wines, as well as any tannic oak – so Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz will not make for a good pairing.  Instead, you’ll need a red wine with herbal flavours like Cabernet Franc, which offers enough green notes to complement the pesto sauce’s strong green flavours. Meanwhile, Chianti Classico and Beaujolais offer ample herbaceous flavours to complement Pesto when served with something meaty, such as tuna & Pesto.

Pesto is a sauce made from basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, and shredded hard cheese sauce that is commonly tossed with pasta or spread on pizza. White wines that aren’t very ripe and have a green quality pair best with the dish’s concentrate on the green flavours of basil, garlic, and olive oil.

Best Wine with Pesto Sauce

TypeVarietalFoodRating
Red WineFiano di Avellino, White, DryOrecchiette Kale Pesto
BeerTripelPasta with Pesto Sauce
White WinePigatoPesto alla Genovese
White WineChardonnay, UnoakedPesto
White WineSauvignon BlancPesto
BeerBelgian Strong Golden AlePasta with Pesto Sauce
White WineGrüner VeltlinerPasta with Pesto Sauce
White WineVermentinoPasta with Pesto Sauce
White WineLuganaPasta Salad With Pesto and Prawns
White WineFiano di Avellino, White, DryPasta with Pesto Sauce
White WinePicpoul de PinetPasta with Pesto Sauce
White WineAlbariñoPesto
White WineArneisPesto
White WineGavi di Gavi / Cortese di Gavi (DOCG)Pasta with Pesto Sauce
White WineCatarratto BiancoPasta with Pesto Sauce
White WineHárslevelűPesto
White WineOrvieto (DOC)Pasta with Pesto Sauce
White WineVermentinoPesto
White WineGrilloPasta with Pesto Sauce
White WineChâteauneuf du Pape, WhitePesto
White WineVernacciaPesto
White WineSoave ClassicoPesto
White WinePinot GrisPesto
White WineBurgundy, WhitePesto
Red WineBarbera (DOC)Pesto
White WinePinot GrigioPesto
White WineChablisPesto
Sparkling WineSparkling Wine, DryPesto
Red WineValpolicella Classico / RossoPesto with Chicken
Red WineCabernet FrancPesto
White WineMeursaultPesto
Red WineDolcetto (DOC)Pesto
White WineChardonnayTuna with Pesto
White WineGreco di Tufo, WhitePesto
White WineAlvarinho - PortugalPesto
Red WineChianti (DOCG) Tuna with Pesto

Sauvignon Blanc & Pesto Sauce Pairing


Sauvignon Blanc has a grassy flavour that pairs well with Pesto’s green flavours of basil, garlic, and olive oil. Furthermore, Sauvignon Blanc has crisp lemon, lime and grapefruit flavours that jive well with the sharp green flavours of pesto sauce.

The zingy rush that the acidity of Sauvignon Blanc delivers enhances the vibrant flavours of Pesto Sauce, making them seem even fresher.   The acidity also declogs your taste receptors of all the delicious but gunky fats from the cheese, olive oil and pine nuts.  This is important, as it ensures every bite of Pesto Sauce tastes as delicious as the first when paired up with a sip of Sauvignon Blanc in between bites.  Finally, Sauvignon Blanc is rarely aged in oak, and unoaked white wines are a must as the tannin in oak will make the Pesto Sauce taste inhumanely bitter and unappealing.

Albariño & Pesto Pairing


Albariño is a Spanish white wine loved for its grapefruit, peach, melon, apricot and nectarine flavours along with its of salinity and electric acidity. The crisp acidity packed into  every sip of Albariño brings out all the fresh flavours of Pesto Sauce. Meanwhile, the zippy grapefruit notes of Albariño complement the green flavours of the basil, olive oil and garlic, while the notes of melon, peach and apple provide plenty of refreshment.

Hárslevelű & Pesto Pairing


Hárslevelű is Hungarian white wine that has fresh flavours of honey, apple blossom, lime zest, pear and chestnut, along with a roaring acidity.

Peppery on the palate, Hárslevelű is reminiscent of Grüner Veltliner, which is a much easier wine to find.  Hárslevelű is rare in North America and goes under many guises, such as Lindenblättriger in Germany and Frunza de tei in Romania. However, if you have a bottle of Hárslevelű in your cellar, and are looking to pair it up with something delicious, try it out with Pasta tossed in Pesto Sauce, or a carrot-ginger soup.

If you are unable to find a bottle of Hárslevelű, seek out a Grüner Veltliner, which has a similar taste profile, and is much easier to find.

Italian Arneis & Pesto Sauce Pairing


Italian Arneis is a medium-bodied wine that  fresh flavours apple, grapefruit and pear along with grassy and herbal notes that complement the green flavours of basil and garlic found in your Pesto sauce. You’ll also find a bitter almond note on the finish that complements the toasted pine nuts.

Cabernet Franc & Tuna & Pesto Pairing


Not many red wines pair with Pesto Sauce, as red and dark fruit flavours of cherry, raspberry and blackberry don’t jive all that well with the green and sharp flavours of basil, olive oil, or garlic. Cabernet Franc, however, is loaded with green notes of green bell pepper, herbs, green olives and grass, which will dance well with the Pesto Sauce.  You’ll still find raspberry, red cherry and blackberry notes, so I’d call this pairing acceptable if you require a red wine.  The white wines mentioned above make for much better pairings.

Search for a Cabernet Franc low in tannin, while the oil and cheese fats used in Pesto should soften most of the tannin in your Cabernet Franc. Beware, though, as you do run the risk of the wine tasting bitter against all the garlic and herbal flavours of the Pesto Sauce.  The pairing of Cabernet Franc and Pesto Sauce will improve if the Pesto accompanies something meaty like Tuna, Chicken or Pork, where the additional protein will soak up Cabernet Franc’s Tannin.

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