How to Pair Pizza & Wine
Who’s in the mood for pizza? (Looks like everybody!)
When pizza is on the menu, you simply can’t go wrong. But just because “pizza night” sounds casual, you can still make it a special evening. Just add wine.
The right glass of vino will complement the delicious flavors in your favorite ‘za. Plus, it’ll make dinner feel a little fancy.
Whether you’re ordering in from your local brick oven spot or you like to craft your own pizza with hand-picked ingredients, this guide is here to help you find the perfect glass of wine for your favorite pizza.
When it comes to choosing a wine to pair with your favorite slice, it’s really all about the toppings.
Tomatoes can be a tricky food to pair wine with, and obviously, it’s often the dominant flavor on pizza. So, which wine should you pick? An Italian red wine with moderate acidity like Chianti or Barbera is usually a safe bet. You could also go with a medium-bodied red with medium or mild tannins, like Syrah or a GMS blend.
If you like your pizza with meat, you can go with a red wine with stronger tannins, like Cabernet Sauvignon.
Oh and white wine lovers? Don’t fret. Certain types of pizza taste great along a crisp white wine like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon blanc. Vegetarian pies also pair nicely with rosé.
Wine & Pizza Pairings
Regular pizza with cheese and tomato sauce pairs well with a medium-bodied red wine like Barbera – a popular Italian wine with notes of tart cherry and dried herbs – or a red Rhône blend, aka GSM blend. Made with Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, this French red has complex flavors of dark fruit and rosemary.
A favorite on game days and movie nights, pepperoni pizza pairs well with a medium- to full-bodied red wine like Sangiovese, Nero d’Avola, or Cabernet Franc. With bright fruit flavors, a hint of spice, and medium tannins, these reds all pair well with both tomato sauce and red meat.
If you like your pizza on the lighter side with fresh veggies like peppers, olives, and onions, go with a dry rosé or light-bodied white wine. A crisp Sauvignon blanc with notes of citrus and a hint of grass or bell pepper is a great choice alongside green veggies like spinach or broccoli.
BBQ Chicken Pizza
While it’s considered sacrilegious in Little Italy, BBQ chicken pizza is super popular just about everywhere else. Pair sweet and smoky barbecue pizza with a red wine like Malbec or Touriga Nacional, a Portuguese red wine with notes of blueberry and plum.
With fresh tomatoes, basil leaves, and thick cut buffalo mozzarella, Margherita pizza pairs well with a medium-bodied red like Grenache or Barbera. You could also go with a dry rosé for this artisan pie.
This may come as a surprise, but Hawaiian pizza actually pairs well with white wine. Off-dry Riesling is a pretty perfect pairing for the salty ham and sweet pineapple on your favorite tropical slice. If you prefer red wine, you could go with a slightly-sweet and fizzy Lambrusco or a dark and smoky Zinfandel.
Meat Lover’s Pizza
Attention carnivores! As you may know, meat lover’s pizza can come with a variety of toppings including meatballs, sausage, and pepperoni. This hearty pizza pairs well with a medium- to full-bodied red wine like Chianti, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, or Zinfandel.
Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza
This gourmet pizza is perfect for date night. If there’s tomato sauce involved, your best bet is a red wine like Chianti. If you prefer this combo without tomato sauce, you can go with a white wine like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc.
Hearty and flavorful, mushroom pizza pairs well with a light-bodied red wine like Pinot Noir or Beaujolais. You could also go with a medium-bodied white wine like Chardonnay or Chenin Blanc.
Sausage is often infused with aromatic spices like fennel, anise, thyme, and oregano, so a wine with a slightly savory note can be an excellent pairing for sausage pizza. Try Syrah, with notes of black plum and peppercorn, or Pinotage, a South African red wine with notes of black cherry, fig, and olive.
This beautifully cheesy pizza pairs well with white wine. You can either go with a light, brightly acidic white wine like Sauvignon blanc or sparkling Cava, or you can match the creaminess of this pizza with a creamy white wine like Chardonnay. If you prefer red wine, go with a light red like Pinot Noir.
Eggplant Parmesan Pizza
Made with breaded fried eggplant, this specialty pizza pairs well with a light- to medium-bodied red wine like Pinot Noir, Chianti, or Barbera. Bright fruit notes and a slight earthiness in the wine brings out the best in this rich, flavorful pie.
While you’ll often find fresh tomatoes and mozzarella on this pizza, the pesto sauce is the star of the show. Pair pesto pizza with light-bodied white wine with herbaceous notes, like Sauvignon Blanc or Grüner Veltliner.
Bacon is basically the perfect topping on anything, so it’s no wonder it goes well on pizza. What’s more, this decadent pizza pairs well with either red or white wine. Enjoy bacon pizza with a sparkling wine like Cava or a Spanish red wine like Garncha or Tempranillo.
Eggs Florentine Pizza
Have you ever tried cracking an egg on your pizza just before sticking it in the oven? If you’re not familiar with this pizza, get ready to discover your new favorite thing. A cool, crisp white wine like sparkling Cava or Sauvignon Blanc pairs nicely with this pie. If there’s tomato sauce in the mix, you could go with a dry or sparkling rosé, or a light red wine like Beaujolais.
In Vino Finito
Did we miss your favorite kind of slice? Email us and we can help you find the right wine!
For more wine wisdom, subscribe to our newsletter, Glass Half Full.