Pizza happens once a week in our house, and we’re willing to bet it’s common in your abode, too! It may not be fancy, but a glass of wine with your pizza gives an elevation to the meal you’ll just have to try to believe. Pick out your favorite cheesy option, and you’ll know just what to grab at the liquor store for pizza night!
1. Plain Pepperoni & Syrah
Pepperoni is a fatty meat. Its (delicious) juices spread throughout the entire pizza giving it a slightly spicy, multi-leveled taste. To handle a pizza with this depth, reach for a Syrah. Full bodied red wine has what it takes to pair with fatty meats. If you’re a white wine fan, test out a Sauvignon Blanc. Look for a bottle with bright citrus aromas to stand up to the pepperoni!
2. Extra Cheese & Chianti
Italian fare and Italian wine go hand in hand, obvi! Pair an Italian Chianti with your tomato based, cheese covered pizza and you’ll be in heaven —we promise!
3. Quattro Formaggi & White Crozes-Hermitage
The best four cheese pizzas include bleu cheese. As it’s a mighty strong flavor, its best to pair your wine choice directly with the bleu cheese. Pick up a vintage white Crozes-Hermitage to do your bleu cheese obsession justice.
4. Hawaiian & Riesling
The Canadian bacon on a Hawaiian pizza is ideally paired with a Riesling because of how light and sweet the wine is. You’ll be surprised at this yummy combination.
5. Meat Lovers & Cabernet Sauvignon
A full bodied, hardy red is exactly what you need to go with your carnivore side. Pick a Cabernet Sauvignon or, if you prefer, choose a Shiraz or a Merlot. Any of these wines will help break down the meat and do the trick!
6. Healthy(ish) Veggie Overload & Sauvignon Blanc
Think white wine with your veggie addiction. Shoot for a bottle of crisp refreshing Sauvignon Blanc boasting the acidities needed to take on any vegetable diced a top your pizza. Bonus points for those of you willing to try a dry rosé here, too!
7. Mediterranean & Pinot Noir
With a taste for Mediterranean pizza comes a love for kalamata olives. A Pinot Noir’s aromas are usually made of black cherry, berries, fruits, roses, and current. It’s low tannins and high acidity is perfect for the olives that dawn your delicious slice of ‘za.
8. Margherita & Rosé
This just so happens to me my favorite pizza and my favorite wine. Coincidence, I think not! The lighter flavor of a rosé is perfect for the herb touch of basil and lightness of a great margherita pizza.
9. Buffalo Chicken & White Zinfandel
Tread lightly with buffalo flavored foods and wine. It takes a sweet wine to do justice to the combination so stick with a white Zinfandel, or a Riesling. Less sweet wines may make the meal taste far worse instead of better!
10. White Pizza & Chardonnay
White cream sauces open up your flavor profile to a few options, among them include Chardonnay and even Pinot Noir. Both of these wines are fermented twice and both pair exceptionally well with tarragon, the herb you will find on top of your white pizza.
What makes the pairing?
Pizza, traditionally speaking, is made of a thin crust with a zippy layer of tomato sauce and cheese. Complimentary wines take these three aspects into consideration. Generally speaking, red pizza sauce joins harmoniously with a red wine. Because pizza and many red wine varieties originated in Italy, countless opportunities exist for pairing wine with pizza. Of course there are other sauces to consider (we’ll get to those in a bit!).
Sauce and cheese are the most important factors to consider when pairing wine with pizza. The majority of pizzas sport red sauces, which are usually acidic. A white or creamy sauce demands a richer white wine. Next up, consider the cheese. Cheese mellows the acidic punch of red pizza sauce, so you’ll want a wine with a medium-high to high acidity to balance the cheese. A word of caution: super-dark red wines like Shiraz produce a metallic taste with the average pizza pie. But as per usual, there are always exceptions. Shiraz does go well with a bold sausage pizza.
Variety is the spice of life, and pizza is peerless when it comes to possible variations. That said, there are always exceptions to the rules, and sometimes the only right thing to do with established norms is break them. Follow the guidelines outlined below to discover the best glass to go with your pie, or blaze your own trail in pairing wine with pizza!
The sauce is boss
Pairing wine with pizza starts with the sauce. In general, match your wine to the color of the sauce.
Is your sauce a bossy red? It’s begging to be paired with a fruity red.
- Red wine
- medium-high to high acidity
- Fruity and young
Is your pie a little more on the creamy side? Follow these guidelines to find the perfect wine pairing.
- Buttery white wines
- Medium-high acidity
- Aged and nutty