best wine for bolognese sauce

A good splash of wine in your sauce and both red and white wines work extremely well for adding flavor to Bolognese sauce. Red wine gives the sauce rich robustness, while white wine a fruity flavor. The wine’s flavors will become more concentrated as they cook. 

Whether red or white, look for something medium-bodied, well-balanced, and with an interesting flavor profile. While it may be tempting to use inexpensive cooking wine, don’t forget that the flavor of the wine will come through in the sauce. We always follow the rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it. And don’t forget that you’ll be using far from adding all of the bottle in the sauce, so chances are that you will be drinking it with it! 

Comparison Table

PRODUCT FEATURES LATEST PRICE
1. San Felice Il Grigio Riserva Chianti Classico 2016
San Felice Il Grigio Riserva Chianti Classico 2016
  • Variety: Sangiovese, Italian Red
  • Appellation: Chianti Classico, Tuscany
  • Winery: San Felice
  • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Bottle: 750 ml
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2. Rodano Bottesola 46 Chianti Classico 2015
Rodano Bottesola 46 Chianti Classico 2015
  • Variety: 90% 10% Canaiolo & Colorino, Italian Red
  • Appellation: Chianti Classico, Tuscany
  • Winery: Rodano
  • Alcohol: 14.5%
  • Bottle: 750 ml
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3. Reata Pinot Noir 2018
Reata Pinot Noir 2018
  • Variety: Pinot Noir, Californian Red
  • Appellation: Three Counties, California
  • Winery: Reata
  • Alcohol: 14.5%
  • Bottle Size: 750 ml
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4. Marchesi di Barolo Ruvei Barbera d’Alba 2017
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  • Variety: Barbera and Nebbiolo, Italian Red
  • Appellation: Barolo, Piedmont
  • Winery: Ruvei
  • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Bottle Size: 750 ml
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5. Pacific Flyway Pinot Gris 2016
Pacific Flyway Pinot Gris 2016
  • Variety: Pinot Gris, Northwest United States
  • Appellation: Washington, Oregon
  • Winery: Pacific Flyway
  • Alcohol: 14%
  • Bottle: 750 ml
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So, with that in mind, we present…

Our Best Wine for Bolognese Sauce Reviews and Comparisons

1. Rodano Bottesola 46 Chianti Classico 2015

Rodano Bottesola 46 Chianti Classico 2015

Product Highlights

It makes sense that an Italian wine works with an Italian dish. Probably the best wine to use in spaghetti sauce is Chianti made from Sangiovese grapes. Its moderate tannins and the full range of flavors, from cherry to leaves to earthy mushroom and tobacco, add depth of flavor to any red sauce.

A hearty traditional Chianti Classico, to complement (and match) perfectly with a hearty traditional Bolognese sauce.  The Rodano winery dates back to the 16th century, and today, the same family still owns it.

Features 

  • Variety: 90% 10% Canaiolo & Colorino, Italian Red
  • Appellation: Chianti Classico, Tuscany
  • Winery: Rodano
  • Alcohol: 14.5%
  • Bottle: 750 ml 

What We Like About Rodano Bottesola 46 Chianti Classico 2015

Use this Chianti Classico in your Bolognese sauce, and its delicious earthiness combined with the other ingredients will bring out the full flavor.

With aromas of wild cherry, plum, and dark spice, the grapes used in Rodano Bottesola 46 Chianti Classico 2015 are organically farmed. Aging is 30 months in French Barrel 46 (20HL cask), and production is limited to 223 dozen only. 

Like all good traditional Sangiovese-based wines, it has a lovely bright acidity that adds freshness and focuses to a Bolognese sauce. 

What We Don’t Like About Rodano Bottesola 46 Chianti Classico 2015

Some may find it a little too bitter, peppery, and acidic. Also, the hints of tobacco might be off-putting. 

Overall, it slightly lacks the herbaceous notes to balance the astringency and minerality.

PROS

  • Great color and excellent bouquet
  • Amazing firm tannins
  • Classy Sangiovese – great food wine 

CONS

  • Powerful and traditional Sangiovese, but unbalanced and unexpected
  • Overly bright and a little too boozy

2. Reata Pinot Noir 2018

Reata Pinot Noir 2018

Product Highlights

Pinot Noir’s subtly nuanced flavors, usually a mix of fragrant red fruit and earth, are great to cook with because they won’t overwhelm most ingredients, even when reduced to a high concentration. Pinot Noir also sometimes has flavors of mushroom, which works well in Bolognese sauce.

Reata Pinot Noir 2018 combines grapes from three counties along California’s coast that are especially known for Pinot Noir.

Features 

  • Variety: Pinot Noir, Californian Red
  • Appellation: Three Counties, California
  • Winery: Reata
  • Alcohol: 14.5%
  • Bottle Size: 750 ml 

What We Like About Reata Pinot Noir 2018

This is a complex and layered wine of fragrant red fruits. The aging in French oak casks provides subtle spices and structure. Nicely balanced by smooth tannins, it has a long finish. 

With plenty of creamy and ripe dark cherries, Reata Pinot Noir has lots of middle palates. 

What We Don’t Like About Reata Pinot Noir 2018

On the nose, it’s the green stalks and pines that dominate, without much discernible fruit. In the mouth, there are hardly any aromas at all.

We found Reata Pinot Noir 2018 to be a little over-oaked with the vanilla dominating.

PROS

  • Bold without being overwhelming
  • Delicious with a full taste and the perfect balance
  • Stunning red. Very light and fruity with a hint of spice

CONS

  • Not the Pinot Noir experience that you would expect 
  • Ok finish with a bit of acidity surfacing

3. Marchesi di Barolo Ruvei Barbera d’Alba 2017

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Product Highlights

As Italy’s most prized reds, it might seem like an indulgence to use a Barolo or Barbaresco in a Bolognese sauce. However, made partly from the Nebbiolo grape, they have beautiful aromatics and a serious acid-tannin structure that are fantastic with Bolognese. 

Plus, if you’re going to buy the best meat that you can, and other ingredients, then why not the wine too?

Features 

  • Variety: Barbera and Nebbiolo, Italian Red
  • Appellation: Barolo, Piedmont
  • Winery: Ruvei
  • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Bottle Size: 750 ml 

What We Like About Marchesi di Barolo Ruvei Barbera d’Alba 2017

Remember our general rule of thumb above; the wine that you use in the sauce you’ll finish by drinking it. Marchesi di Barolo Ruvei Barbera d’Alba 2017 is ideal for the entire meal and any occasion. 

It has a gorgeous ruby-red color, with purple shades. Its fragrance is fruity, with notes of blackberries and red fruit jam, and fresh, with the spices of vanilla and toasted hazelnut. The full and rich taste, well balanced and blended. Clear oakiness, with just the correct slight tartness, complements the other aromas.

What We Don’t Like About Marchesi di Barolo Ruvei Barbera d’Alba 2017

For a Barbera, it’s a little light-bodied, with slightly high acidity and low on tannins. 

We’d prefer red fruits to be more dominant. 

PROS

  • Very nice and smooth
  • A light slowly melting aftertaste
  • Nice dry finish and earthy tones

CONS

  • Too acidic and even sour on the palate
  • Smells less than it tastes

4. Pacific Flyway Pinot Gris 2016

Pacific Flyway Pinot Gris 2016

Product Highlights

Crisp, neutral, and generally not too sweet, this Pinot Gris, is a good go-to for any recipe where you want a nice, mellow flavor. But for Bolognese sauce, maybe a white that’s a little riper, richer, and sweeter, is even better. You’ll find all of these in this Pinot Gris. 

Pinot Gris is a specialty of Northwest US, their version of the Italian Pinot Grigio because the growing conditions are ideal to bring out its vibrant personality.

Features 

  • Variety: Pinot Gris, Northwest United States
  • Appellation: Washington, Oregon
  • Winery: Pacific Flyway
  • Alcohol: 14%
  • Bottle: 750 ml 

What We Like About Pacific Flyway Pinot Gris 2016

Pacific Flyway Pinot Gris 2016 has tropical guava flavors, highlighted by refreshing citrus and fragrant floral notes. 

It’s extremely accessible and extremely food-friendly and approachable, this wine is very good for Bolognese sauce, and the perfect match for any occasion. 

What We Don’t Like About Pacific Flyway Pinot Gris 2016

It’s down to a personal preference of course, but you might prefer the rich and robust flavor of a red in your Bolognese sauce.

PROS

  • Buttery and smooth
  • Very refreshing
  • A fruity wine with good value

CONS

  • Too sweet with a little bitterness at the end
  • Fruity and not dry enough

5. San Felice Il Grigio Riserva Chianti Classico 2016

San Felice Il Grigio Riserva Chianti Classico 2016

Product Highlights

The first smell of this Chianti Classico Riserva will evoke images or if you’ve been lucky enough to have visited, memories of the rolling hills of Tuscany. Also, of Spaghetti Bolognese that you may have tasted. 

San Felice Il Grigio Riserva Chianti Classico 2016 works well with your complete menu and not just the pasta course; antipasti, grilled steaks, and followed with aged soft cheeses will all benefit. 

Features 

  • Variety: Sangiovese, Italian Red
  • Appellation: Chianti Classico, Tuscany
  • Winery: San Felice
  • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Bottle: 750 ml 

What We Like About San Felice Il Grigio Riserva Chianti Classico 2016

This is a beautiful inky dark wine with soft aromas of ripe cherry and dried blackberry. But there’s just the right amount of spice and sweet tobacco tar to balance the beautiful fruit intensity.

San Felice Il Grigio Riserva Chianti Classico 2016 is a refined red with very thin tannins and a medium to full body. It’s nicely structured with a flavorful finish and is one of Italy’s best-value reds. 

What We Don’t Like About San Felice Il Grigio Riserva Chianti Classico 2016

Lighter than most Chianti Classico, the fruity, dry aftertaste might not appeal to all. 

It has a strong taste of alcohol, although this would burn off in the process of cooking the Bolognese sauce.

PROS

  • Unreal, especially at this price
  • Aromatic and full flavor
  • Going to develop more

CONS

  • A touch too acidic
  • Still a thin taste the next day

FINAL VERDICT 

Red or white, the choice of wine for Bolognese sauce is a personal preference. One consideration that should be a must, is to go for the best wine that you’re willing to spend as you’re more than likely to be drinking it as well.

Most people are likely to opt for a red in their red sauce and go by the mantra of ‘when in Rome’, or in this case Bologna. It may be from nearby Tuscany, but for ‘bang for your buck’, the excellent value provided by San Felice Il Grigio Riserva Chianti Classico 2016 makes it our choice as the best wine for Bolognese sauce.

Best Wine For Bolognese Sauce for 2021 [Our Reviews and Comparisons]

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