Paring wine and pizza
September 09, 2023
For Italians, pizza and wine are both in our DNA but until recently, the two were rarely served together, pizza would go with beer and everything else with wine. As time has evolved, and pizza has become "gourmet", pizza and wine is now an accepted and refined pairing but it has also become a challenging and fun exercise due to the myriad of toppings that can be used for a pizza and the thousands of wines. Not only there is a wine for every palate, but there is also a pizza, lets combine the two together for a delicious journey through the Italian's flavours.
Generally speaking, white, rosé and sparkling wines are more suited for pairing with pizza, however, pizza with a tomato sauce base can be paired with low tannins red wines. White base pizzas require white or sparkling wines because of the greater acidity that balances the fattiness and richness of the cheeses.
Before we look at some pairings, when pairing wine with pizza we need to balance flavours, textures, and aromas and there are different ways of doing it, similarly to when pairing wine with food.
• Complementary flavours. Choose a wine that complement the ingredients and flavours of the pizza.
• Contrast. Contrasting flavours can, sometime, create a delightful balance. A crispy white wine can cut through the richness of a cheesy pizza.
• Regional Pairings. Choose a wine made in the same region the pizza comes from.
Lastly, but not least, experiment, don't be afraid to discover your personal favourites and have fun, share with family and friends, organize a pizza and wine tasting evening to explore various combinations together.
Due to the endless pizzas and topping combinations, I have chosen only some of the most famous pizza or maybe the ones I like the most, the traditional, the classic Italian, however, if I left out your favourite pizza just remember to follow the principle above.
Margherita and Bufala
A light, fruity, fresh and floral Gavi di Gavi will not overpower the delicate flavour of the margherita.
Mushrooms or porcini pizza
The earthy, umami flavours of mushrooms and porcini are elevated by a Barbera d’Asti with its bright acidity or a Pinot Noir.
Fresh Sausage and friarelli pizza
Structure, fruity notes and acidity of a Primitivo di Manduria will beautifully pair this very rich, umami packed pizza.
Quattro formaggi pizza
A young classic method sparkling wine, made using the same method as Champagne, with a lovely fruit and lively acidity will perfectly cut through the richness of this creamy slice.
The pepperoni pizza with its strong and spicy flavour will need a spice filled wine such as the sirah or a sangiovese based wine.
A seafood pizza with prawns, clams, and mussels, asks for a wine with citrusy notes and a bright acidity to complement the seafood such as vermentino or custoza.
Capricciosa or Quattro Stagioni pizza
Both pizzas, Capricciosa and Quattro Stagioni, have several toppings and this unique combination require a light and fruity red wine such as the Bardolino Classico.
Vegetarian or vegan pizza
The Vegetarian or vegan is a tasty and a light pizza and this combination of fresh and light flavours pairs perfectly with a Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo.
Capers and anchovies pizza
A Capers and anchovies pizza require a white wine with an important structure without introducing aromatic notes, such as the Greco di Tufo or an Etna Bianco.
These are only some of the possible pairings and we had a lot of fun in the process, so remember, have fun and make your own pairings.
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