wine and pizza pairing

Pizza may seem like it is a reasonably straightforward meal consisting of bread, sauce, and cheese. However, variations in the flavor profile of a pizza can affect the wine that would best accompany the dish. When choosing a wine that pairs with pizza, people tend to reach for hearty reds. This would be a good choice for classic pizzas, but what about lighter pizzas such as a white or Margherita style pizza?

To help you find the wine that will pair with your pizza appropriately, it is best to break down pizzas into categories. This way, we can identify the wines that would be best suited to accompany the ingredients most commonly used to make these recipes.

Margherita Pizzas

Margherita pizzas are all about basil, mozzarella, and tomatoes. It is a simple recipe, but the flavor that results from these three ingredients is spectacular. A Margherita pizza is typically lighter than a traditional pizza; it is not uncommon for them to be served on a thin crust or flatbread. When looking for a wine that pairs with this pizza, look for something that is light on the pallet, like a Pinot Grigio or a Rosé.

The delicacy and sweetness of the Rosé would bring out the flavor of the basil used in a Margherita pizza. On the other hand, Pinot Grigio is known for its rich flavors and light body that ideally pairs with a hearty dish like pizza.

Cheese Pizzas

A slice of cheese pizza with a rich, savory tomato sauce and creamy cheese on top is the classic slice of pizza. The most notable flavor in a cheese pizza is probably going to be the sauce. Traditional tomato sauces used in pizza recipes are typically olive oil and tomato forward. Coupled with salt, garlic, and basil, tomato sauces create that comfort-food effect on the pallet.

Wines that pair well with cheese pizza are full-bodied reds with bold flavors. A Syrah or a Malbec would pair nicely with a slice of cheese pizza. The fruity, spiced, bold flavors of these wines would offer a suitable balance to the tomatoes and cheese.

Meat Pizzas

Meat pizzas are often topped with sausage, pepperoni, ham, or beef. These ingredients tend to dominate the flavor profile of a pizza, and as such, it is a good idea to look for a wine that will accompany the savory flavors of a meat-forward pizza.

Cabernets and Pinot Noirs are two wines that pair wonderfully with all kinds of meats and hearty flavors like those present in tomato sauces. Pinot Noir, in particular, has a wide range of flavors versatile enough to accompany virtually any meat-topped pizza.