Who doesn’t love indulging in a delicious pizza now and then? This Italian specialty is one of those rare meals adored by everyone. It can be served during a dinner party or enjoyed alone as a midnight snack. Either way, pizza is truly the ultimate comfort food. Yet, many ask: Which are the best pizza and wine pairings?
The best wine with pizza is a wine that matches two components: the pizza sauce and your chosen pizza toppings. Below, we will share our top pairing recommendations for pizza and wine lovers.
Pizza Wine Pairing: Follow the Basics or Think Outside the Box
Choosing which wine to pair with pizza can feel a little daunting. Should you pay homage to the pizza’s origins and pair it with Italian wine? What should you do if you ordered a half-and-half pizza with different toppings? The good news is that there are no right or wrong answers. The best wine with pizza is often in the eye of the beholder.
Styles of pizza cover a broad category. For this reason, you can pair pizza with red, white, sparkling, rosé, or even orange wine. Yet, that isn’t to say that there aren’t classic pizza and wine pairing principles you can refer to. When finding the perfect pizza wine pairing, consider the sauce and toppings. Tomatoes and tomato sauce are high in acid, tart and a little sweet and have and have a juicy, fleshy texture. So, the rule of thumb is to choose a wine that compliments the flavour profile of the sauce and toppings not overpowering them. A good example for a pairing for a margarita pizza would be a light, dry Pinot Grigio. A not so complementary pairing would be a Shiraz for example.
Pizzas with meat toppings such as spicy sausage or pepperoni can handle a full-bodied red with distinct tannins like a plush new world Cabernet Sauvignon or a Tuscan Sangiovese. For lighter styles of pizza, such as vegetarian pizza, pair with a Rose or lighter white wine.
Yet, that isn’t to say you can’t think outside the box when searching for the best wine with pizza options. Experimentation is all part of the fun of the wine and food pairing journey.
Classic Wine and Pizza Pairing Options
For those looking for fool-proof pizza wine pairings, here are the combinations that we recommend you try next.
Pepperoni/Sausage with Spicy Reds
Pepperoni and sausage are classic pizza topping. They can be spicy, bold, and the fat content in the meat make the pizza rich and savory. As we mentioned, these styles of pizza are best matched with a full-bodied red. A juicy Primitivo or a new word Cabernet Sauvignon are great options. Their plush tannin profile provides enough oomph to cut through the fattiness of the meat and cheese but won’t overtake the sensory experience.
White Pizza with Dry White Wines
While not everyone is a fan of white pizzas, they present exciting pairing options. The best wine with pizza with a white sauce is dry white wine. There are no tomatoes, so you don’t have to worry about the high acidity. These pizzas tend to be lighter and pair well with a crisp, light Pinot Grigio or a zingy Sauvignon Blanc.
Classic Cheese with GSM or Pinot Noir
Often called the New York classic, a cheese pizza can pack a punch on the palate with its rich mouth feel due to the ooey gooey cheese. The key to this pizza and wine pairing is simplicity. Remember, cheese can be very high in fat, so you need to choose a complimentary wine.
A light Pinot Noir with fine, delicate tannins can be a nice pairing because the wine can refresh the palate for another bite. Another interesting pairing of a cheese pizza would be a GSM from southern Rhone Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre). The nice acidity of this red works well with cheesy pizza because the acid offsets the buttery cheese. The full, yet plush tannins don’t overwhelm it either, but enhance the mouth feel experience.
Margarita Pizza with Dry Rosé
Pairing a margarita pizza with a dry rosé may seem like a slightly unusual pairing, yet it is highly rewarding. The aromatic hints of fresh basil combined with the light buffalo mozzarella offer a great contrast to a dry rosés’ fruity and floral flavour profile. We would recommend an old world, savoury rose for this paring. But the classic, safe pairing is a light white, dry wine.
Hawaiian Pizza with Riesling
Hawaiian pizza is somewhat of a controversial pizza choice. Many pizza lovers debate about whether a pizza should be home to fruit (besides tomato). Yet, we believe cuisine should be an adventure.
For those looking for the best wine to pair with Hawaiian pizza, a Riesling will be the perfect palate cleanser. The freshness and acidity of a Riesling will help cleanse the palate to enjoy another bite. At the same time, the wine’s fruit forward and aromatic nature will elevate the sweetness of the pineapple.
Enjoy Pizza Night with These Great Bottles
When choosing the best pizza and wine pairing, you can choose to go down the classic wine pairing route or take the more risky approach and think outside of the box. However, often you can throw the rules out the window and the best wine with pizza is the wine you enjoy most.
Here at The Small Winemakers Collection, we enjoy pizza night as much as anyone else. We asked our team, and here are the bottles that they go to when choosing the best wine with pizza: