Move over beer, pizza has a new life partner. I think that most can agree that there is not much better than a hot slice of pizza, but, they would be wrong. Hot pizza with a side glass of wine is even better. However, with the almost unlimited options of toppings and nearly as many possibilities with regards to the wine, finding the perfect pairing can be a bit intimidating. No worries, I got you!
The following how-to guide plus 8 delicious pizza and wine pairings will help ensure that yours will be a meal no one will soon forget.
Consider the Toppings:
While taste profiles are unique, if you truly want to know what real wine and pizza pairings are like, you must take the toppings (or lack thereof) into account. Certain toppings can easily overpower a not-so-bold wine, and vice versa.
Tomato-Based: Lighter wines are best for pizza with tomato-based sauces, however, depending on the toppings, that little rule could very well change.
Meaty: Ah, this is a tricky one. Meaty pizza typically brings strong flavors so would pair well with softer sweeter wines, BUT, the fattiness of the meat also works quite well with bolder, red wines. This one is down to taste and preference.
White Pizza: White wines are the most obvious choice but the creamy taste can also counterbalance nicely with a subtle red.
Cheesy: To balance out flavors, cheesier pizza (without toppings!) does well with either a strong white or bold red wine.
Vegetarian or Vegan Pizza – Sauvignon Blanc:
Sauvignon Blanc is both refreshing and crisp, blending well with the earthy assortment of plant-based goodies topping the pie. The wines’ fruitiness and bright acidity offer the ideal offset to the complex flavor profile of the pizza.
Sausage and Peppers – Syrah:
Sometimes you have to meat (see what I did there? I’m here all night, folks) bold with bold and a full-bodied Syrah provides the perfect balance to the intense flavors of the sausage and peppers.
Margherita Pizza – Rose:
The simplistic flavors and notes of the Rose will bring out the fresh and aromatic characteristics of the pizza ingredients without overpowering them.
Classic Cheese – Grenache:
Grenache tends to be fruity with a hint of spiciness yet it is quite soft on the palate. This bold and flavorful wine helps to counteract the richness of the cheese and its high acidity amplifies the flavors of the sauce.
White Pizza – Pinot Noir:
Being that the Pinot Noir is both smooth and rich, it does beautifully competing with the pizza’s overall creaminess. Although still red wine, Pinot is a bit more subtle than its bolder siblings and as such, will not overwhelm the flavor.
Meat Lovers – Cabernet Sauvignon:
A tannin-heavy red wine, like Cabernet Sauvignon, is always a good choice to pair with rich, meat, which includes a meat lovers pizza. With its fruity elements, this wine blends quite well with this hearty dish for an unbeatable taste combination.
Hawaiian Pizza – Riesling:
Salty meets sweet when it comes to Hawaiin Pizza, with its heavenly combo of ham and pineapple. What better to sip alongside it than a glass of sweet and slightly acidic taste of Riesling.
Classic Pepperoni – Sangiovese:
Last but certainly not least, the classic pepperoni pizza needs a wine partner that can provide a fruity and rich offset to the strong, boldness of the pepperoni and Sangiovese is a terrific option. Slightly savory with moderate acidity provides an intense flavor combination but not overwhelmingly so.
A-Ok to Play it Safe:
Choosing a sparkling or bubbly wine is a great fall back for those not interested in switching it up. The bubbles both work well with pretty much any toppings, tend to act as a palate cleanser, and cut through doughiness superbly.
There you have it; all you need to know about joining your favorite Italian dish with an equally impressive wine style beverage. The thing is, as much as these would be classic pairings, everyone has their own individual tastes. What works for others might not be your forte (and that’s okay!). Preference is unique. Just remember the most important rule of wine enjoyment: Drink the wine that you like, as long as you’re drinking wine.