Pizza has to be one of the most versatile foods in the world. It can be customised to our exact tastes with an almost infinite combination and variety of toppings. The toppings are what influences which wine pairs best with your pizza. So, it can offer wine lovers the opportunity to try a variety of wines with their favorite pizzas. But, if you are a casual wine drinker, don’t worry, you don’t need to choose a different wine for every pizza! There are lots of great wines that can be paired with almost any pizza.
It is also important to note that taste is subjective, so you should drink what you want and like, even if it is not a classic pairing.
Match the wine to the occasion
First things first, pizza is an everyday food, so there is no need to break the bank here or bust out your best wine or Champagne. It’s not necessary to spend a lot of money to get a tasty quality everyday wine to enjoy with your favorite pizza.
Flexible wines to have with pizza
The almost endless variety of pizza toppings (and their different flavors) means that pizza can be paired with lots of different wines. So, first lets talk about low-risk or flexible wines – wines that you can drink and enjoy with pretty much any type of pizza.
Some wines are riskier than others when pairing with food. Big, bold wines with high levels of tannins, acidity and alcohol can make the most interesting and delicious pairings, but they can also be the most problematic. The more complex the wine and the food, the more taste interactions there will be, making pairing more complicated. That’s not to say that you cannot have a big wine with your pizza, but if you want a wine that you know will go well with whatever pizza you may choose to have, then going for more flexible or low-risk wines makes sense. Generally speaking, simple, dry, unoaked wines are pleasant with most dishes.
So, light-bodied wines with low tannins and high acidity is what you should look for or ask for at your local wine shop. Pinot Noir, Gamay (e.g., Beaujolais) and rosé are all flexible wines. Simple Italian reds, and southern Rhône wines, like Châteauneuf-du-Pape will also do the trick.
Pairing pizza with high acidity wines
Most pizzas contain either tomatoes, which are acidic, cheese or meat, or they contain all three, for example, a pepperoni pizza. Combining acidic wines with acidic, fatty or oily foods (which is most pizzas) can be very satisfying. The acid from the wine cuts through the fat and richness in the food, cleansing the palate.
Red wines with good acidity include: Chianti, Valpolicella, Rioja, and Pinot Noir.
White wines to have with pizza
Red wines are traditionally recommended for tomato-based pizza, but you can, of course, drink white or rosé wine if you prefer. There are many flexible, palate cleansing white wines with high acidity, such as dry Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Albariño and Sauvignon Blanc that are worth experimenting with.