Italian Food 101: Pairing Wine with Pizza
Wine is the perfect guest at any pizza party. Italians love to drink wine with their pizza. It doesn’t matter the pizza type or the toppings, there are wines to pair with all of it. And, pairing wine with pizza doesn’t require you to take an expensive sommelier course either!
We’re breaking down all the wine and pizza pairing basics to bring all your pizza experience to the next level.
Pairing Wine with Pizza 101
This is one of the most versatile pizzas when it comes to wine. That’s because a pizza margherita features very simple ingredients: mozzarella, tomato, basil, and extra virgin olive oil!
If you’re a white wine drinker, any wine with bright acidity will match the juicy acidity of the tomato sauce. What better pairing than a wine from the lands nearby Napoli, the home of the margherita! Go for a Falanghina. This crispy white wine made just South of Napoli will wash down everything perfectly. A Pinot Grigio or an unoaked Chardonnay can work wonderfully too.
For red wine drinkers, try to avoid a super bold wine for a Margherita – this pizza is too delicate for oak and dark fruit. You will want a wine that is fruity and offers great acidity, like a Sangiovese.
Classic Cheese Pizza
Red wine drinkers – rejoice! A cheesy delicious pizza only gets better with a great glass of red wine. But, what kind of red wine are we talking about?
You will need a wine with the fruit and acidity to match and cut through gooey cheese. A Pinot Noir or Syrah works wonderfully since they offer just enough structure to complement the cheese. You can even opt for a Sangiovese, as it pairs well with cheese and the herbs in the tomato sauce.
Nothing beats a pepperoni pizza. Well, there’s one thing that does – a pepperoni pizza with a glass of wine.
The salty spicy of pepperoni needs a wine that has enough tannin and fruit to balance it all out. A classic Barbera, Nero D’Avola, or even a Dolcetto are all fantastic combinations. They’re medium-bodied wines that have the fruit to marry with the spice and tannin to cleanse your palate from the saltiness. Or, if you’re looking to be a little fancy, you can even indulge in an Amarone Della Valpolicella. The concentrated fruit in this classic Italian wine just makes pepperoni pizza taste even more heavenly!
Meat Lovers Pizza
Whether it’s sausage, meatballs, bacon, or all of the above – if you’re enjoying a pizza with meat, you’re going to need a more robust wine. White wines usually aren’t the best pair for a meat lover’s pizza, as these meaty pizzas can overpower most white wines. But, like with everything, there are exceptions! If you’re enjoying a simple white pizza with sausage, you can definitely pair it with a bodied and acid-driven Chardonnay.
But, let’s talk red wines. A Cabernet Sauvignon is a great pick for a fully loaded meat lovers pizza. Its full-body can keep up with the meat, cheese, or dough. You can also pair a meat lover’s pizza with a full-bodied Syrah. The natural pepperiness of this grape is an amazing match for meat.
Pizza Marinara (or Vegan Pizza)
One of the most underestimated pizzas, the pizza marinara is a staple Italian pizza that’s also vegan. It’s an awesome pair for juicy red wines with acidity to match all the tomato sauce on this pizza. You can go for an easy Barbera or Pinot Noir. Or, if you want to go truly Italian, try a dry Lambrusco.
An all-cheese pizza needs just the wine to make those cheeses shine. You need a bold wine that can slice through all the creaminess. An Aglianico is a wonderful pick. A Sangiovese works as well, especially if there are mushrooms and herbs on the pizza.
If you’re eating a four-cheese pizza with zestier cheeses, you can spice it up by pairing the pizza with a Champagne or another sparkling wine that offers nutty flavors and aromas.
Vegetarian pizzas come in all kinds of styles. If you’re enjoying a veggie pizza without cheese, you can go for a simple refreshing white wine, like Sauvignon Blanc. But, if you’re eating a cheesy veggie pizza, you can pick a wine with a little more body. This goes for both red and white! A minimally oaked Sangiovese (or Chianti!) is a fantastic pick, as its earthy character is a wonderful pair for veggies. As for white wines, a floral Fiano or an unoaked Chardonnay can make a great pair too.
Pesto is one of the greenest sauces around. That’s because it’s full of delicious basil, a delicious green herb that pairs best with wines just ‘green.’
What do we mean? Well, wines that have a grassy, herbaceous character to them. Think Sauvignon Blanc. You can also try Verdicchio, an Italian white wine from the Marche region. This wine has a nutty finish that pairs so well with the Parmigiano cheese and pine nuts in pesto!
A Final Note on Pairing Wine with Pizza
Hungry for pizza yet? We hope this pairing wine with pizza breakdown inspired you to snag your favorite pizza and pair it with just the right wine. Curious about pairing wine with pasta too? We got all the info you need on that on our blog too!
The Domenico Family always welcomes you to visit us at our Osteria, where we make homemade authentic Italian pizzas. Come try out your wine and pizza pairing skills with us, anytime!