Many people think of eating pizza with a soda or beer but wine is also a good match and can turn the meal into more of an occasion. The complex flavors of wine match the different flavors of pizza.
However, not all wines go with all pizzas, and, in this article, we will tell you which wines pair with which type of pizza.
1 – Margherita Pizza
The Margherita pizza was created in Naples to honor Queen Margherita at the unification of Italy. It has just three toppings, mozzarella cheese, tomato, and basil, and is considered by many Italians to be the true pizza.
The three colors of the ingredients symbolize the Italian flag, tomato for red, basil for green, and mozzarella for green. Italians favor this pizza and tend not to choose pizzas with lots of different toppings.
One of the best wines to pair with the Margherita pizza is Sangiovese which is a red Italian wine. It has vibrant acidity, sour cherry flavors, and hints of oregano and thyme.
It is earthy and rustic and as it has hints of roasted tomato, it goes perfectly with this pizza.
If you prefer white wine, Pinot Grigio is a good choice. It is dry and light-bodied, with aromas of lemon, lime, pear, and stone fruit. On the palate, you have melon and green apple. The fresh ingredients of the pizza go well with the lightness of the wine.
Pinot Grigio doesn’t overpower the classic flavors of the pizza so you can still taste the tanginess of the tomatoes and the creaminess of the cheese.
Dry rose wine is also a good pairing with the Margherita pizza as these wines tend to be on the lighter side.
2 – Hawaiian Pizza
The Hawaiian pizza shouts controversy. Italians wouldn’t dream of putting pineapple, or any other type of fruit on a pizza but it is a popular choice in the US and in the UK.
White wines are the best choices for this type of pizza, Try a Riesling. Its sweetness and acidity pair well with the rich flavor of the pizza.
Riesling has subtle fruit flavors of peach, pear, grapefruit, apple, and apricot which don’t overpower the flavor of the ham and pineapple.
Torrentes and Viognier are also good picks as they both have subtle fruit flavors. Torrentes tastes of citrus, nectarines, and grapefruit, and Viognier has flavors of apricot, peach, and honeysuckle.
Neither overpowers the saltiness and sweetness of the toppings.
3 – Vegetarian Pizza
A vegetarian pizza has tomato sauce and cheese on top with any mixture of vegetables. Mushrooms, artichokes, sweetcorn, bell peppers, and onions are all good choices.
As the vegetables have subtle flavors, you need a wine that doesn’t overpower them so that you can taste their delicious flavors. Try an unoaked Chardonnay which has subtle flavors of apple, lemon, and papaya.
An oaked Chardonnay isn’t suitable as it has hints of vanilla which isn’t a good match.
Sauvignon Blanc is another good choice. It is crisp and aromatic with grassy notes and plenty of citrus. The herbaceous flavor pairs well with vegetables.
Another choice is sparkling Prosecco with light notes of lemon, green apple, and pear.
4 – Meat Lovers Pizza
A meat lover’s pizza usually has tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, cooked sausage, pepperoni slices, bacon, grated Parmesan, and crushed red pepper flakes as the toppings.
This pizza needs a wine that will cut through the taste and fattiness of the meat. Red wines have the ability to do this. Their flavors and tannins will match the meat in the pizza.
Try Cabernet Sauvignon which has flavors of blackberry, blackcurrant, and black cherry, with notes of spice and green bell pepper. Shiraz is also a good choice. It is rich and juicy with flavors of pepper, sweet red fruit, and spice.
Malbec is known for its strong kick and fruit flavors of blackberry and blueberry.
5 – Anchovy Pizza
Anchovies are an acquired taste, and you tend to either love them or loathe them. They smell fishy but don’t taste like fish when cooked. They are very salty and need a wine that blends with the pizza’s savory and umami flavor and doesn’t overpower the saltiness.
After all, it is the saltiness that you want when you choose anchovies.
The white wine, Assyrtiko, is a good match for anchovy pizza. Its citrus flavors blend well with the flavors of the anchovies.
Alvarinho white wine is also a good choice. Its acidity, salinity, and bitter notes of almond and citrus pith complement the saltiness of the fish.
6 – Pepperoni Pizza
Pepperoni is a spicy salami made from cured pork and beef, together with paprika or chili pepper. It is one of the most popular pizza toppings for meat eaters. A red wine with medium acidity matches the saltiness of the pepperoni. Sangiovese, Nero d’Avolo, and Nebbiolo fit the bill.
They are all fruity as well which balances the saltiness. Sangiovese has red fruit flavors, Nero d’Avolo has flavors of black cherry and plum, and Nebbiolo tastes of cherry and raspberry.
7 – BBQ Pizza
BBQ pizza usually has a barbecue sauce, chicken, onions, peppers, cilantro, and Colby-Jack cheese. The barbecue sauce is usually sweet so you don’t want to drink a sweet wine with this pizza as you will get a sweetness overload.
The dry red wine, Zinfandel, is a good choice. Although it has some fruit flavors such as blueberry, cherry, and plum, this is followed by a touch of spice and a tobacco-like smoky finish.
Red Zinfandel is also a good choice. It has blue and black fruit flavors with spice, so complementing the sweetness of the barbecue sauce.
If you prefer white wine, try a dry Riesling. Don’t go for a sweet Riesling as it will be too much sweetness with a BBQ sauce.
8 – White Pizza
White pizzas are unusual as they don’t have any tomato sauce, just cheese, normally ricotta, and vegetables. Popular toppings include spinach and mushroom. A light red wine like Pinot Noir is a good choice as it won’t overpower the mild flavors of the pizza.
It is a herbaceous wine that complements the freshness and creaminess of the pizza. It doesn’t have strong tannins like many red wines, so it is the perfect match.
9 – Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza
The Chicago Deep-Dish pizza is different from normal pizzas. It is baked in a tall circular pan and has a very thick crust with cheese on the bottom, toppings in the middle, and tomato sauce on the top.
It is highly calorific as it is packed with cheese. In fact, you could eat a pound of cheese with each slice. It’s definitely not a pizza to have if you have heart problems.
Sagrantino, a red wine from Italy, is the best choice of wine to pair with this pizza. It is tannic, dry, savory, earthy, and herby. It also contains many polyphenols which help prevent heart attacks.
10 – Four-Cheese Pizza
A four-cheese pizza has a tomato sauce with four different kinds of cheese. The traditional cheeses used are mozzarella, parmesan, gorgonzola, and fontina although this can vary from restaurant to restaurant.
This pizza pairs well with a light white wine like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. The acidity of the wine helps cut through the richness of the cheese.
If you prefer red wine, a Cotes du Rhone blend is a perfect choice. It too is acidic and has the right amount of tannins to complement the tanginess of the tomato sauce.
11- Pesto Pizza
Pesto is an Italian sauce made from crushed garlic, pine nuts, basil leaves, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and olive oil. It is a classic flavor and quite hard to pair with wine.
However, as long as you don’t add meat to the mix which would be unusual, mineral-driven white wines would be a good choice as they allow the herbaceous flavors to flourish. Vermentino is a good choice.
It has a high level of phenols which give it a slightly bitter finish of grapefruit and almonds. Chenin Blanc is another excellent choice as it has high acidity. Both these wines are light and refreshing and elevate the flavors of the pesto pizza.
12 – All Pizzas
Yes, there are a few wines that are versatile enough to pair with any pizza, be it cheese, vegetarian, meat, or deep-dish. The first wine that comes to mind is Lambrusco. It is an Italian red or rose sparkling wine.
It is a zesty, light-bodied wine with high acidity, and is fruit-forward with tastes of berries. However, the flavors are subtle, so they don’t overpower the flavors of the pizza.
Lambrusco has light tannins, just enough to clear your palate from the richness of the tomato sauce and the creaminess of the cheese.
It pairs equally well with vegetables and meat. Although you wouldn’t normally chill red wine, Lambrusco tastes even better chilled so put it in the fridge before serving.
Another wine that goes well with any pizza is Prosecco, a white sparkling wine. It is crisp, textured, and savory so it is the perfect combination with pizza.
I don’t know about you but writing about pizza and wine has whetted my appetite. Hopefully, it has done the same for you and you are now ready to try one of our pizza and wine combinations.
In general, red wines pair with meat pizzas while lighter whites are a good match for non-meat pizzas although this is not always the case.
We wish you happy eating and drinking.