Just like bacon and eggs or peanut butter and jelly, wine and pizza create an unarguably divine pairing that can take your dining experience to a whole new level.
If you’re looking for the perfect wine option to jazz up your pizza night, we have some useful tips on what wine goes with pizza to help you find your ideal match.
Before you arrange your next pizza delivery, make sure to get yourself familiar with our wine and pizza pairing guide below to make sure you match your delicious food with just a perfect glass of wine.
Is Red or White Wine Better for Pizza?
Traditionally, pizza is made of a thin crust, tomato sauce, and, obviously, cheese. Considering this flavor profile, it’s generally the red wine that makes a great pair with pizza. Regardless of the toppings, pizza tends to have a doughy and yeasty crust, and an earthy taste. Pizza is also commonly regarded as a heavier meal, especially compared to light dishes, like leafy salads. All of those features indicate that pizza calls for red wine.
However, over time pizza has evolved and it is now available in a variety of options with a multitude of toppings to select from. So, while red wine is normally a great pairing with a classic pizza, there are now many possibilities that allow us to break the common wine pairing rule and experiment with other wine options, like white wine, sparkling wine, or rosé.
What to Consider When Pairing Wine With Pizza?
The same applies to the sauce – you can either pick plain tomato sauce or go for alternative creamy white or herbaceous pesto sauce options. All of those ingredients determine their own unique pizza pairing with the perfectly matching wine.
7 Best Wine Pairings With Pizza
Here are some popular and loved pizza-wine pairings that will enhance the quality of your dining sensations. It’s worth testing these excellent combinations but feel free to experiment with the flavors to find the pairing that suits you best.
The simple and classic Margherita, considered by many as the “original” pizza, is composed of three ingredients – fresh tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. As it’s delicate in flavor, it’s recommended to pair it with equally light-bodied wine. Margherita will pair nicely with lighter reds like Pinot Noir, Grenache, or Chianti Classico, as well as dry rosé wine.
If you’re more of a white-wine drinker, the crisp white wine like Pinot Grigio will also be a great choice, as it will enhance the delicate pizza flavor without overpowering it.
White pizza topped with creamy ricotta and a variety of quick-melting cheeses features an intense flavor of decadent toppings and the earthy taste of pizza dough. One of the favorite pairings is sparkling wine like Champagne, Vouvray, or sparkling rosé with naturally high acidity that will make up for the lack of tomato sauce. This also allows them to balance the fatty textures of cheeses and complement the flavors of yeasty dough.
A medium-bodied red wine, such as Barbera that features notes of tart cherry and dried herbs, will make a great pair with a rich, white pizza. Apart from the red wine, cheese pizzas will also match perfectly with a full-bodied white wine like Chardonnay, whose texture is complemented with some malolactic fermentation. A glass of creamy Char will enhance the creaminess of the pizza, providing a beautifully coherent taste.
A bold and spicy flavor of red meat and the strong taste of tomato sauce on the pepperoni pizza call for an equally rich wine with fruity notes that will balance out the spiciness and saltiness. A full-bodied red wine Sangiovese, produced from the Sangiovese grape, is your go-to choice as it will counterbalance the strong “pepperoni effect.”
Alternatively, you can opt for Cabernet Franc or Nero d’Avola with just enough of fine tannins to complement the spicy taste without overmagnifying it.
This unique pizza combines the saltiness of Canadian bacon with the sweetness of tropical fruit and will make a great pair particularly with white wine, which is light-body and has pleasant honey notes.
For example, a slightly sweet Riesling with high acidity will act as a palate cleanser while elevating the meat-fruit dining experience. If you prefer a light red wine with your pineapple pizza, go for a fruity Zinfandel, Primitivo, or even fizzy Lambrusco (which also goes very well with mushroom pizza).
BBQ Chicken Pizza
Juicy and tender white meat, along with the sweet and smoky taste of the BBQ sauce, is a combination that calls for a bold, red wine to go well, especially with the flavorful sauce.
Malbec is one of the full-bodied wines that will make a great pair with the BBQ chicken pizza thanks to its fruit-forwarded taste qualities. Apart from the famous Malbec, a light-bodied red wine Pinot Noir will also do the job as it’s equally fruity, and the low amount of tannins will not overpower the chicken.
A light veggie pizza topped with a variety of vegetables, like peppers, zucchini, or olives, will make a perfect match with dry rosé or light-bodied white wines. For example, a crisp Sauvignon Blanc with a tart flavor and citrus notes will make a divine pairing with the veggies.
Thanks to hints of grass detectable in Sauvignon Blanc, you can also combine it with a similarly veggie-packed salad pizza, that usually comes with fresh arugula or spinach leaves on top.
Meat Lover’s Pizza
This incredibly hearty pizza favored by real meat enthusiasts is packed with intense flavors of meatballs, sausage, and pepperoni. For that reason, it can only be complemented by equally rich red wine. Cabernet Sauvignon is undoubtedly your best bet, as its elevated tannins will match perfectly with the fattiness of the pizza, and the strong fruity flavor will enhance the bold taste of the meat.
Just like in the case of a sausage pizza, full-bodied wine has to pair nicely with the spices in the meat, so a peppery wine like Syrah or Zinfandel will also create a divine pizza-wine combo for all the meat lovers.
The Bottom Line
Knowing how to pair wine with pizza will guarantee an elevated dining experience regardless of the type of pizza you choose. When selecting the right wine for the pizza, consider the overarching flavor profiles of the dish – whether it’s savory, creamy, mild, spicy, meaty, or sweet. Depending on your preference, match these flavors to magnify them or contrast them to create an overall balance of taste.
If you’re still looking for your perfect bottle, you can make your wine search go smoother by signing up for our subscription box program. It will provide you with a selection of the best wines for great value for money, delivered straight to your doorstep. And if you want to read more about our recommendations for food and wine pairings, check out this guide!