HOME > Chowhound > Wine >


Wine Pairing for Lobster Fra Diavolo

Will someone please give me several recommendations for wine which will be suitable for drinking with a main dish of Lobster Fra Diavolo?
My host specified a red.... guests will include people who like wine but are not necessarily connoisseurs. We're looking at a mid range price... but something that ( I hate to say this but....) most people will/might enjoy.
TYIA !!!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It is REALLY hard to ive you a red wine reccmendation here. The dish screams sparkling, rose sparkling, big Friulian white (or that style), or maybe a dry rose.

    That said, if I have to give a red reccomendation I would go with a good structured Beaujolais. Try a good Moulin-a-Vent or a St.-Amour.

    I guess you could also do a lighter styled Chianti or Rosso di Montalcino. Or maybe even a lighter styled Barbera.

    10 Replies
    1. re: whiner

      Thank you whiner... very much. I know this dish has much going for it. That's why I came here to the experts. Thank you! Do you think I should buck the host and go with something other than a red?

      1. re: Gio


        I guess if I were in your position I would probably call the host and ask if he was set on a red or not. I would never go to a party having been told to bring a red wine and show up with something else. But, on the other hand, in this case, I might call and say, "ooo, I think this one wine might pair really well but it isn't red." That said, I do think my red reccomendations will work. I just think something like a sprakling rose would work better.

        I also don't know what price range you are looking in. I've heard people say "mid price range" and mean $10 and I've heard them say that and mean $50+. So if you give a little more concrete, I think I, and a lot of others, could help you out a bit more.

        1. re: whiner

          That's a great reply whiner. Shall we say somewhere between 20$ and 50$?
          Also, I like the idea of a sparkling wine.

          1. re: Gio

            Ok, yeah. I would say, if I was in your position, I would probaly call up the host and say, "I was thinking, I'd really like to see how such-and-such Champagne/sparling wine works with that dish; is that ok with you?"

            As for specific reccomendations... I would be temped to suggest a Rose Champagne. It is a little closer to the original order, and it may pair just as well, if not better, than a traditional Champagne, depending upon the exact recipie being used.

            Some good rose Champagnes in your price range are:
            Nicolas Fuillatte Rose ($27-$40)
            Barthelemy Brut Rose ($45-$50)
            Bruno Paillard Rose ($50+)
            Duval-Leroy Rose ($38-$48)
            Gosset (I forget its name) ($50-$55)

            Also, the Soter sparkling Rose of Pinot Noir from Oregon should be $45-$50 and that is awesome stuff.

            If you went the non rose route there are just so many. But my personal preferences lie first with the basic Billecart-Salmon ($40ish) then with Bollinger Special Cuvee ($40-$50),Roederer ($40ish), Charles Heidsiek ($35ish), Deutz ($30-$40), Duval-Leroy ($28-$35) and a plethora of grower-producers that I could report on but not knowing what selections you have available...

            1. re: whiner

              This is terrific. I like the recs vis a vis the sparkling roses. The host is my brother. I think he'll like anything I bring to the table. I just needed to get the expert's opinion. Many thanks!

              1. re: Gio

                Had another thought.... would a Nero d'Avola be too "heavy"?

                1. re: Gio

                  While I am a big fan of Nero d'Avola's, I think the tannins won't mesh well with the spice in the typical Fra Diavolo. While I know your host has suggested a red, I think the dish would pair better with a white wine. I would lean towards a Gavi, a Gruner Veltliner, or a Albarino for this dish.

                  1. re: Bhutani

                    Absolutely in agreement with a sparkling Rose. No other wine, IMO, will work as well, with both the lobster and tiny bit of heat from da devil...and it is a tiny bit: most recipes call for only 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. of chili flakes.

                    Just a note on spicy heat and sparkling wines...Champagne (big and little C)
                    performs extremely well with a tiny touch of heat: wasabi, horseradish, spicy
                    ground mustard, Chinese mustard sauce, chili flakes...just not too much.

                    Rose Champagne works even better than regular Champagne with spicy heat...it has enough heft to stand up to spiciness...and there's something funny and strange about the bubbles...it seems to foil the heat...

                    1. re: maria lorraine

                      "Just a note on spicy heat and sparkling wines...Champagne (big and little C)
                      performs extremely well with a tiny touch of heat: wasabi, horseradish, spicy
                      ground mustard, Chinese mustard sauce, chili flakes...just not too much.

                      Rose Champagne works even better than regular Champagne with spicy heat...it has enough heft to stand up to spiciness...and there's something funny and strange about the bubbles...it seems to foil the heat..."

                      Absolutely! And the bubbles lift the hot oils off the toung, that is why they work so well ;-)

                  2. re: Gio

                    I LOVE Nero d'Avola with spicy sausage. BUT, it would completely overpower the lobster, imo.

      2. The first thing I thought of was Jermann's Dreams (chardonnay). It should cost somewhere around $55-$70.

        If you are still bringing a red, like whiner said, a rosso di montalcino should work okay. I lean heavily towards white here as well.

        1. Thank you so much for all your recommendations. I'm going with a Rose Champagne. I've printed out the lists to take with me when I go shopping. Thanks again!!

          1. Alot of wines work with "lobster", but only a couple are right for Fra Diavolo...

            With lobster you can do chardonnay, champagnes (with preference to heavy chardonnay), riesling, viognier, muscadet, gewurztraminer, sauvignon blancs, white rhones, some sherries, soave... it's a long list of MOSTLY WHITE WINES, btw...

            Your friend asking for a red wine here, you should really just ignore them :)

            Anyway, back to the dish at hand... when you think of Fra Diavolo two primary ingredients come to mind: spicy chili peppers/flakes and Garlic... this is where your list of appropriate wines gets real short...

            Chardonnay and Riesling are both incredible "garlic wines", but of the two riesling is by far the better match for chili pepper... Gewurztraminer is also a fantastic garlic and chili pepper wine, but not quite the overall match for lobster that chardonnay and riesling are (IMO)

            Answer: Serve riesling... kabinett is about perfect. Distant 2nd choice would be champagne blanc de blancs, chardonnay, and if you have a really nice example of a fully fruited alsatian gewurztraminer that can also be nice here, just less predictable than a mainstream kabinett...

            7 Replies
            1. re: Chicago Mike

              Well now.... I reserve the right to change my mind. Thank you Mike!!

              1. re: Chicago Mike

                Hmmm... I'm a fan of Riesling with chili flakes and garlic, but I'm not a fan of it wih lobster or cooked tomtoes... to each his own, though... I'm sure the company will be the real star of a holiday meal. :-)

                While a bit out of your price range, in principle I agree with mengathon that Jermann's "Dreams" would be a decent match. Actually, many of the top Friulian whites could work. If you live in New York there is always Miani Sauvignon Blanc, also from Friuli, which is relatively unknown and, short of white Haut-Brion, perhaps the greatest dry Sauvignon Blanc of the world. It is not available in most of the U.S., though.

                (Just as a complete aside, the other well known, high-end, widely available, Friulian winery is Schiopetto.)

                All that said, I still say rose Champagne :-)


                1. re: whiner

                  Thank you whiner, sincerely. I live north of Boston, so everything depends on what I can find.... perhaps it will be the rose Champagne after all. Cin, cin.

                  1. re: Gio

                    Gio, I get the Nicholas Feiuilatte Rose Champagne at Kappy's on Rte 1. I love it.

                    1. re: Chris VR

                      GREAT!!!!! I'm there tomorrow. A million thanks Chris!
                      Whew, I'm glad that's over. LOL
                      And I Love that Marie Lorraine confirmed this. Thank you one and all.

                  2. re: whiner

                    Riesling can be a great match for all varieties of spicy shellfish dishes, from this fra diavolo lobster to spicy thai crab salads to a fiery chinese shrimp dish...

                    The great thing about this dinner is that you don't have to serve just one wine with it... none of these suggestions are at an expensive price point by any means, and by trying several you get a great opportunity to compare and contrast various wine matches...

                    1. re: Chicago Mike

                      I'll drink champagne with anything, but I wonder if this dinner calls for a white, a rose, and a red--and, maybe, keeping to relatively local matches, Italians. Almost any crisp, fruity white (falanghina, vermentino, inzolia, greco di tufo, fiano), a sturdy negroamaro rosato from Puglia ( I like Rosa del Golfo), and a medium red with a good fruit/acid/warmth balance, like a Ciro from Calabria, an Etna Rosso from Sicily or a Monica from Sardinia.

                2. A follow up of The Meal.....
                  I chose to bring to the party Johannishof Vogel "V" Riesling Kabinett 2006 and Nicholas Feiuilatte Rose Champagne. When I arrived I explained my choices viv a vis your recommendations for a good pairing with Lobster Fra Diavolo. My host announced he had not made that dish because he decided to steam the enormous lobsters in beer and onions but did have angel hair pasta in a spicy tomato sauce. As it turned everyone loved both wines and they did indeed pair very well with the meal, even though not the original menu.
                  The Riesling was pleasantly fruity with a sweet finish. The Champagne was just plain delightful!
                  So, thank you for your wise and astute recommendations.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Gio

                    Thanks for the update Gio. I too had a bottle of Nicholas Feuillatte Rose Champagne on Christmas eve. We paired it with crab cakes with a garlic celery root aioli. I think the champagne worked perfectly with the dish and pretty darn well on its own as well.

                    1. re: Gio

                      Gio, a bummer about the ole bait-and-switch on the lobster fra, my all-time favorite italian seafood dish. But we must forgive our siblings for their foibles, at least through the holidays. Sometime around presidents' day you can call him the dirty rat that he was :)

                      1. re: Veggo

                        Well curiously enough, I think I got the best of the bargain. DH, DD and I did not/could not eat all of the 3 lbs of lobster plunked on our plates. I took the bodies home and made my own LFD tonight. (in fact I also had two huge claws of my lobster to contribute.) Absolutely delicious. She who laughs last - and all that rot.
                        Presidents' Day, hmmmmm? Why should that figure? IJW.

                      2. re: Gio

                        Interesting report, Gio.

                        There is a lesson here... Obviously lobster with pasta and tomato sauce is quite a different dish than Lobster Fra Diavolo.... especially different as to how you might pair the wines...

                        The lesson is to be sure whats on the menu and to let the chef know that you're buying and bringing some not-inexpensive wines based on their menu representations!

                        1. re: Chicago Mike

                          Yes, You are correct, Mike. I went on the assumption that the original menu would stand. Perhaps a confirmation phone call might have been in order before the trek to the store. OTOH I learned a lot from your expert opinion and the opinions of whiner and others who chimed in. And for that I thank you.
                          I love this bar.

                          1. re: Gio

                            they really switched the dish on you... from lobster fra diavolo to lobster marinara :)

                            Your wines would have been so different w/ the LFD.

                      3. Well,

                        It sounds like you had a great time and enjoyed the wines, LFD or not!

                        Thanks for the update and glad we could be of service :-)

                        1. I thought I would bring up an older similar thread rather than start new.... I am making Calamari Fra Diavolo tonight - does the change of protein effect the recommendations or can I use this thread as my guide?

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: TheRealAde

                            Good idea to use an existing, very informative thread. With calamari, I'd stick to the original rose/white suggestions.

                            There's a great Italian red, Masi Costasera Valpolicella - it's rested in Amarone casks - that we've found to be a superb match with firey dishes. However, some here may find the Valpolicella a little overwhelming when served with seafood.

                            1. re: shaogo

                              Slightly chilled, it's a great match, actually. In fact, you can do quite a few different 'reds' that will match well if they are slightly chilled.

                              My personal preference however, would still be a sparkling. But then again, even though sparkling is my favorite, I rarely drink it at home unless there's a special occasion, mostly bring to friends and/or order out. So if I was at home making this, I would either have a chilled Vinho Verde, Gewurtztraminer, or as above, chilled red.

                          2. I also tend to disagree with the red. I would pick a nice Pinot Grigio or similar to act against the spice of the dish and round it out.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: taboo

                              I love this thread and hope I can get a reply--- it's Mardi Gras! I'm making lobster fra diavalo. Decided just a moment ago to serve wine with it tonight, but no time to go back to the store--- on hand I have Pouilly-Fuisse ( Louis Latour) and (Cazes Le Canon du Marechal) blend of Muscat- Viognier.
                              Which of the two would be the better choice. I also have a bottle of Prosecco if neither of the other two would work well.

                              1. re: withabandon

                                Tasted the Canon du Maréchal for the first time on Thursday. While I enjoyed it, I have a hard time imagining its floral/perfumy aromas and flavours with lobster in a spicy tomato sauce. The friend who recommended it to me said he enjoyed it with the first two courses (mushroom rillettes, foie gras and cured duck, then an Asian steamed duck bun) of a duck-themed meal in a restaurant, food pairings that make a lot more sense to my mind's palate than LFD does (though I can see the wine working with plainer shellfish).

                                So, of the two, I'd go for the Pouilly-Fuissé, though again I doubt it'll be a match made in heaven: the wine's rich and buttery with a distinct oak note, which would be great with lobster and drawn butter, but less so with tomato, olive oil, chile and company. Still, compared with the Canon du Maréchal, it's a more neutral wine, a plus in this case.

                                If the Prosecco is dry and minerally, it could be your best bet.

                                1. re: carswell

                                  Thanks! I'm eager to enjoy the PF, but since it was a little bit pricey, I want it to pair well--so maybe I should save that for something else--There was a discussion of red pairing with Fra Diavolo at the beginning of this thread-- though the consensus seemed to be nothing red-- but then things change- the thread started in 2007--I have Cotes du Rhone, Pino Noir, and a decent Chianti on hand as well-- oh and also an Elyse Cousins---any better?

                                  The Canon Du Marechal does go well with plain seafood--it's also among the ingredients I'll put in the sauce.

                                  1. re: withabandon

                                    Personally, I'm in the white camp on this one. The lobster (because of its sweetness and briny flavours) and tomatoes (because of their fruity acidity) present a challenge for a red wine. If I had to choose a red, it'd be a low tannin, high acid wine that could stand being chilled -- a light Valpolicella or Bardolino, for example -- not a Côtes du Rhône and definitely not a Chianti.

                                    Since the Canon will be open, why not taste it with the dish (either in the kitchen or at table) before deciding whether to uncork another wine? Everyone's palate is different and you may think it works just fine with LFD.

                                    1. re: carswell

                                      Thanks-- I was thinking to try the Canon since it'll be open. Only problem is I think the PF may be too cold if I don't take it out of the fridge for half hour or so before I serve it . Would it hurt it to let it warm up a bit and then put it back in the fridge if the Canon works. I have a feeling the Canon is not going to stand up well to the spice.

                                      1. re: withabandon

                                        Take the bottle out of the fridge about 20 minutes before you'd open it. If you don't open it, put it back in the fridge right away. No harm will come to it. Actually, it's unlikely any harm would come to it even if it warmed to room temp before being returned to the fridge, not that that is something you'd want to do frequently to a wine.

                                        1. re: carswell

                                          and whatever you are eating/drinking this evening-- bon appetite!