Octopus wine pairing

Published March 15th, 2023

Octopus is a very versatile mollusk, which lends itself to a myriad of different recipes and combinations.

Octopus wine pairing.

Its tender and tasty meat makes it ideal to be enjoyed naturally in carpaccio, but it can also be boiled and simply seasoned with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and freshly squeezed lemon or served in a salad with potatoes and parsley, or accompanied with green olives and fresh celery, grilled, or stewed. It is also excellent in sushi.

Precisely thanks to its fantastic versatility, octopus wine pairing offers many possibilities with various types of wine. White, red, rosé, or sparkling; there is plenty of choices!

Of course, everything depends on the organoleptic characteristics of the octopus and the other ingredients used for the recipe. In this article, we will guide you in choosing the best wine to pair with octopus, depending on the dish you are making.

Octopus wine pairing: the basics

Octopus is delicious and versatile and has a delicate taste. It can be prepared in many ways and paired with different ingredients that can substantially influence the final flavors of the dish. The cooking method is also a very important factor. When prepared the right way, octopus meat can be very tender and succulent.

The delicate flavor and the tenderness of the meat make octopus particularly suitable for pairing with white wines even if some recipes (especially those involving the use of tomatoes, aromatic herbs, and spices) can work very well with red wines, with some aromatic notes and velvety tannins not to overwhelm the delicacy of flavors.

As with fish and seafood, wine is used in many octopus recipes. In this case, it is a good habit to pair the dish with the same type of wine used in the cooking to avoid contrasting flavors and create a fine and harmonious balance.

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Colli di Luni Vermentino DOC

Best wine with octopus

Does the perfect octopus wine pairing exist?

In our opinion, yes. The problem is that various wines lend themselves very well to accompanying octopus. So what wine goes with octopus best? The answer lies in the recipe used and in your taste, but if we have to recommend a wine above all, following our personal taste, the choice will fall on an Italian Vermentino, possibly from Liguria.

Our suggestion: Colli di Luni Vermentino DOC "Atys", Tenuta la Ghiaia

Grilled octopus wine pairing

Grilled octopus is one of the most popular recipes because this preparation method brings out the sweet and buttery taste of the mollusk, enhancing it with light smoky notes from the grill and with the addition of simple condiments such as extra virgin olive oil, fresh Mediterranean herbs, and lemon.

The result is a simple dish with a firm texture, seductive aromas, and elegant flavors which can also be amplified by the use of some spices.

So, if you are wondering what wine pairs well with grilled octopus, the answer is certainly white wine, but even a light red can work well with the smoky notes of the grill. It is also important to consider the sides and try to choose the wine that best complements the overall dish flavors.

White wine with grilled octopus

Medium-bodied white wines with a strong aromatic profile are ideal with grilled octopus as they are able to cut the meaty texture of grilled octopus, without however overpowering its delicate taste.

A fresh wine with a slight sapidity like Assyrtiko from the volcanic island of Santorini in Greece will make the perfect grilled octopus pairing. A Mediterranean and floral white like Tuscan or Ligurian Vermentino or a Sauvignon Blanc, whether from the Loire Valley or New Zealand, with its high acidity and fruity intensity, will also pair beautifully with this recipe.

Our suggestion: Alexakis Assyrtiko

Red wine with grilled octopus

Red wine pairing with grilled octopus may seem risky on paper, but by choosing the right wine, it can instead be a treat for your taste buds.

The best choice will be a light to medium-bodied red wine, with soft, velvety tannins not to overwhelm the delicate taste and tender flesh of the octopus, and gentle herbaceous notes to complement the Mediterranean herbs used in the dressing and the smoky undertones of the grill.

The ideal choice is Pinot Noir, possibly coming from a cool climate region such as the Loire Valley or the Oltrepo' Pavese area in northern Italy because it maintains fruity aromas and good freshness, and some herbaceous and earthy notes. A fragrant red wine such as the indigenous Schiava from Alto Adige, a red blend from Savoy, or even a Beaujolais from France will be delicious alternatives.

Our suggestion: Oltrepò Pavese Pinot Nero DOC, Bertè & Cordini

Sparkling wine with grilled octopus

Even sparkling wines can work very well in pairing with grilled octopus. In general, the delicate flavors of seafood and shellfish always work well with light-bodied sparkling wines. In the case of a grilled octopus, it is better to choose a sparkling wine with a medium body and great silkiness to balance the texture of the mollusk and the slightly smoky notes well. If the octopus is served with a creamy sauce or mashed potatoes, the acidity and bubbles of the wine will cleanse the palate.

The best octopus sparkling wines paring is with a Cremant from the Loire Valley, a Champagne-style bubbly based on Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay, which will have the ideal lightness to balance a dish seasoned simply and served with lemon and parsley.

If the octopus is instead seasoned in a more complex way and served with a rich side dish then it is better to choose a more structured wine like a Franciacorta, with elegant bubbles and a touch of sapidity.

Our suggestion: Franciacorta Brut, Contadi Castaldi

Albariño Food Pairing Galician-Style Octopus.

Galician-style octopus wine pairing

Often served as a tapas, Galician octopus is a traditional Spanish dish from the Atlantic region of Galicia. It is quite an elaborate and tasty recipe, thanks to the addition of sweet Spanish paprika.

The spiciness makes this dish very appetizing, and the addition of potatoes, with their delicately sweet notes, makes it ideal in combination with fresh and light white wines.

You can opt for a classic and local pairing with a Godello, one of the most interesting and lesser-known Spanish white wines, or opt for a wine with a slight fizz like Tzakoli, which is always a classic pairing with tapas. Outside of Spain, one may choose a Greek white wine with a slightly sweet note such as a Moschofilero to soften the spiciness and complement the delicate octopus.

Our suggestion: Bodegas Virgen del Galir Pagos del Galir Godello

Octopus stew wine pairing

Stewed octopus is an incredibly tasty recipe, which originates in the Mediterranean and of which various versions exist. One of the most popular ones is certainly the Greek recipe which involves cooking the octopus in wine and tomato sauce. This process makes the octopus meat tender and succulent and guarantees a rich and tasty sauce that can be enriched with herbs and spices.

In this case, when choosing what wine to pair with octopus stew, it is important to understand the intensity of the flavors and especially the role of the tomato. A red with a fruity character and herbaceous or spicy notes, with a medium body, such as a Sicilian Etna Rosso, is a perfect choice.

Alternatively, you can opt for other fresh Mediterranean reds with a not-too-bold personality such as a Spanish Garnacha or a Greek Agiorgitiko from the hilly area around Nemea, where the altitudes guarantee the production of lean and fresh wines.

Our suggestion: Nicosia Etna Rosso Lenza di Munti

Octopus carpaccio wine pairing.

Octopus carpaccio wine pairing

Octopus carpaccio is a light and refined appetizer prepared by boiling the octopus together with spices and herbs. The octopus is then finely chopped, and seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, lemon, parsley, and salt. In this way, the octopus takes on a very delicate and fresh flavor that goes perfectly with light and delicately aromatic white wines.

The most classic pairing is with Albarino, a white wine from the small Rias Baixas wine region, located on the Atlantic coast of Spain. The fruity notes of this wine and its light mineral nuances will enhance the flavor of the octopus.

Other delicious options include Vinho Verde from Portugal, Greco di Tufo from Italy, or even a Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley (more delicate and less exuberant than one from New Zealand).

Our suggestion: La Cana Albarino


Octopus is prepared in different ways and, as we often say in our articles on pairing food with wine, the best wine pairing with octopus depends on your recipe and personal taste.

In this article, we have described the organoleptic characteristics of this mollusk and have provided you with a series of tips. Now it's your turn to choose the ingredients of your dish and indulge yourself in the best octopus wine pairing.