Pairing Pizza with Wine: The Ultimate Guide

Ah, pizza! Whether it’s a quick weekday dinner, a weekend treat, or the heart of a celebration, pizza’s versatile nature makes it a beloved choice worldwide. But did you know that just as pizza has its array of toppings, the world of wine provides a diverse palette to enhance each slice? Let’s dive into the art of pairing your favorite pizzas with vino that truly complements them.

  1. Classic Margherita

The simplicity of tomato, mozzarella, and basil calls for a wine that honors its purity.

Wine Pairing: Stick to Italy’s roots and go for a Chianti. The wine’s acidity and cherry notes are a match made in heaven for tomatoes. If you’re in a white wine mood, a Pinot Grigio can be equally refreshing.

  1. Pepperoni or Spicy Sausage

With the spicy kick of these toppings, your wine needs to have enough character to stand up to the heat.

Wine Pairing: A juicy Primitivo or Zinfandel (they’re genetically the same grape!) offers a burst of fruit that can counteract the spice. The wine’s peppery notes can also resonate with the meat.

  1. Veggie Supreme

Loaded with peppers, onions, mushrooms, and olives, this pizza is all about the earth and the garden.

Wine Pairing: A Sauvignon Blanc, with its green and herbaceous notes, reflects the garden vibes. For red lovers, a Côtes du Rhône, with its mix of fruity and earthy, can be a delightful partner.

  1. White Pizza (Pizza Bianca)

Foregoing the tomato sauce for a creamy base, often enriched with cheeses like ricotta or feta.

Wine Pairing: The creaminess calls for a wine with body. Try a buttery Chardonnay or a fuller-bodied Garganega from Italy’s Soave region.

  1. BBQ Chicken Pizza

Sweet, tangy BBQ sauce, chicken, and often a sprinkle of cilantro or red onion make this pizza a flavor bomb.

Wine Pairing: A Shiraz from Australia, known for its dark fruits and a touch of sweetness, can play well with BBQ notes. Alternatively, a Gewürztraminer offers a slight sweetness that can be a surprising yet delightful pairing.

  1. Anchovy or Seafood Pizza

The briny taste of the sea comes to the fore with these toppings.

Wine Pairing: Opt for a minerally and saline wine. A Vermentino from the Italian coast or an Albariño from Spain’s Rías Baixas can echo the ocean’s vibes in each sip.

  1. Hawaiian Pizza

The ever-controversial pineapple and ham combo, loved by many (and debated by just as many!).

Wine Pairing: The sweet and salty profile calls for a wine with good acidity and a touch of sweetness. Think Riesling from the Mosel or a Chenin Blanc from South Africa.

Crust Considerations

Yes, the crust matters in wine pairing!

  • Thin and Crispy: This crust style calls for a wine that’s equally crisp and light, like a Prosecco or a light-bodied Beaujolais.
  • Deep Dish: With its hearty and thick base, a more robust wine like a Barbera or a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo can stand up to its weight.

A Note on Bubbles: Sparkling wines, from Champagne to Prosecco or Cava, have a special place in pizza pairing. Their effervescence can cleanse the palate, especially when dealing with greasy or very cheesy pizzas. So, when in doubt, bubbles might be your best bet!

In the vast realm of gastronomy, pizza holds a special place for its universal appeal and adaptability. And the world of wine, with its infinite palette of flavors, aromas, and textures, is ready to elevate your pizza experience. Whether you’re a Margherita purist, a BBQ chicken enthusiast, or a brave pineapple-on-pizza defender, there’s a wine out there waiting to make your slice even better.

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Written by

Bernard Marr has a deep passion for wine. He has written hundreds of articles on wine, including features for Forbes, covering wine-making and industry trends. Away from the world of wine, Bernard is a world-renown business and technology futurist. He is the award winning author of over 20 best-selling books and has a combined audience of nearly 4 million people across his social media channels and newsletters.

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