Sangiovese Food Pairing

Sangiovese is the main grape variety in the popular Italian wine Chianti and in many other Italian wines. It is a food friendly wine thanks to its high acidity, friendly tannins, and rustic, fruity profile. Sangiovese's savory notes of tomatoes and cherry make this wine a perfect pairing with tomato-based dishes, especially red pastas and pizzas.

Pasta with meatballs and tomato sauce

Last updated September 10th 2021

Sangiovese is a star grape from Italy. This grape gives medium-bodied red wines with good acidity and a delicious flavor profile of both savory and fruity aromas. This makes Sangiovese a very food-friendly wine that pairs well with different types of heavy meat dishes, as well as pastas and cheeses. If you are having a dish with tomato sauce, Sangiovese is a safe pick. In this wine guide you will learn more about Sangiovese food pairings.

About Sangiovese wine

Sangiovese is a grape that gives savory and fruity red wines with translucent color. Wine made from this grape is usually lighter than many other reds. The characteristic aromas of Sangiovese wine include cherry and tomato. It is also often described as a rustic with fruity elements. Sangiovese gives medium-bodied wines with high acidity and good tannins.

A bottle of Chianti wine

Sangiovese is an important grape in Italy, where it is mostly grown in the region of Tuscany. It is the only grape in Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso di Montalcino, and the main grape in Chianti, Chianti Classico and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

Most Sangiovese wines undergo light oak ageing, which gives aromas of cedar wood and hints of vanilla.

Note: The profile of Sangiovese wines can differ. Some wines are very earthy and rustic, while others are more fruity and round. Regardless of the style the wine is made in, it almost always has the flavours of cherry and tomato.

About Sangiovese food pairing

Thanks to its savory character, high acidity and medium body, Sangiovese pairs well with a wide range of dishes. The classic Sangiovese food pairing is tomato. Sangiovese and tomato are simply one of those great flavour combinations. The rustic profile of the wine pairs perfectly with anything with tomatoes. By pairing it with savoury dishes with tomato and herbs, the more fruity flavors in the wine will be brought out.

When paring Sangiovese with food you should think about the following characteristics of the wine:

Rustic, savory & fruity profile - makes Sangiovese an excellent pairing for dishes with tomato and herbs (rosemary, oregano, basil, sage, garlic, parsley, thyme).

High acidity - pairs well with fatty and/or acid foods.

Medium body - possible to pair it with both rich and lighter dishes.

The best serving temperature for Sangiovese is 14-17°C (57-63°F).

Sangiovese pasta pairing

Sangiovese with rich pasta dishes is an excellent pairing. Pasta with tomato will taste even better with a rustic Sangiovese. Chianti Classico, which is made of at least 80% Sangiovese, is a perfect pairing for pasta with tomato sauce. The high acidity in the wine will balance the acidity from the tomatoes, as well as the fat from the olive oil and/or meat. A rich layer of parmesan on the pasta will make the pairing even better!

pasta with tomato sauce and and parmesan on a plate

Sangiovese pairs well with the following pasta dishes:

Sangiovese pizza pairing

Sangiovese is one of the most important grape varieties in Italy, so why not pair it with one of the most famous Italian dishes? In fact, pizza and Sangiovese are a match made in heaven. Just like with pasta, the savory profile and high acidy of the wine balances the acidity of the tomato sauce and the fat from the cheese. Medium-bodied red wines with fruity and earthy flavors are usually the best wines with pizza. Sangiovese will pair well with any pizza, but especially with classics like Margherita and Pepperoni

Pizza with pepperoni and cheese

Tips! Read more about the best pizza pairings in our Wine & Pizza guide

Sangiovese with meat

Sangiovese pairs very well with different types of meat because the high acidity in the wine balances the fat in the meat. The savory and herbaceous flavours of the wine will also match the seasoning in many meat dishes. Sangiovese's delicate fruit flavors of cherry make it a wonderful pairing with pork tenderloin and pork belly.

grilled slice of pork

A medium-bodied Sangiovese will pair well with the following meat dishes: 

Tips! Meat dishes flavored with herbs, mainly oregano, basil, and thyme are lovely pairings to Sangiovese.

Sangiovese with charcuterie

Sangiovese pairs very well with a mixed charcuterie platter. The herbaceous aromas of this red wine match with savory charcuteries.

prosciutto being sliced

Sangiovese charcuterie pairings include: 

Tips! Sangiovese also pairs well with many cheeses. That makes it a great wine for a charcuterie board.

Sangiovese with chicken

Sangiovese also pairs well with lighter meat such as chicken or turkey, especially with tomato sauce or herbs.

chicken breasts with herbs and tomatoes

Try Sangiovese with heavier chicken dishes, such as:

Sangiovese with vegetarian food

A medium-bodied red wine like Sangiovese also works well with vegetarian dishes, especially on the heavier side. Grilled vegetables or vegetarian meat will pair well with a bottle of Sangiovese. Marinated vegetables on the grill can get an almost meaty texture and flavor. A versatile medium-bodied red like Sangiovese is a good pairing.

grilled vegetables

The savory and herbaceous profile of the wine makes it an excellent choice for many vegetarian dishes, including:

Sangiovese appetizer pairing

Sangiovese is a good choice for meaty appetizers or charcuterie. Make an Italian charcuterie board with some of the following:

Sangiovese cheese pairing

Sangiovese wines, including Chianti Classico, pair well with different types of cheeses, which makes it an excellent red wine for a cheese platter. The best cheese pairing for Sangiovese is a hard cheese like Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grana padano and Pecorino. The salty and savory flavors of these cheeses match the fruity and herbaceous profile of Sangiovese. If you make a cheese platter, you can also include softer cheeses like Burrata. 

grated parmesan cheese

Tips! Read more about cheese pairings in our Wine & Cheese Pairing Guide.

Sangiovese with spicy foods

Like other dry red wines, Sangiovese is not the best choice for spicy food. If you want to drink your bottle of Sangiovese with Indian food or other spicy foods, we suggest you choose a mildy spicy dish. If the dish is too strong, the wine will taste very dry.

Enjoy Sangiovese with your food!