For me, nothing beats putting my feet up, ordering a pizza, and sipping a glass of my favourite wine. That’s why Saturday night is treat night. But what wine works best with what pizza? A very important question that must be answered! I’ve put together a list of pizzas and wines that I think would marry beautifully.
First of all you need to consider the following:
1. What sauce are you having on your pizza? Tomato? Garlic? Cream based?
2. What topping have you opted for? Meat? How spicy is it? Veggie?
3. What kind of cheese? Mozzarella? Goat’s cheese?
Once you have identified the pizza’s main characteristics then you can choose a wine to complement it. For example: tomato-based sauces tend to be high in acidity; pepperoni can be spicy & salty, and pesto adds a sweet, herbal kick. You don’t need to worry too much about the crust – unless it’s packed with personality. (Stuffed crust anyone?!)
Of course, everyone has different tastes, but here are a few suggestions of pairings that I think would work wonderfully.
Pepperoni – Sangiovese or Cabernet Franc
Pepperoni is a powerful flavour and it’s also packed full of spice. Due to its fat content the flavour permeates through the cheese in every slice (*tummy rumbles*) so you need a wine that can hold its own against the pepperoni. Chianti would be a perfect pairing. No surprise that the source of some of the best pizza wines is also the home of pizza!
Margherita – Grenache or Rosé
Here we have notes of fresh basil and other lightly flavoured fresh ingredients. Something as delicately flavoured as a margherita needs a lighter red or rosé to accompany it, so as not to overpower it.
Italian sausage – Syrah or Pinotage
You tend to find that bolder, fuller flavoured reds pair well with sausages. These wines are ideal with fennel, anise, thyme & oregano, spices often used in flavouring sausages.
Hawaiian – Riesling or Zinfandel
A slightly sweet Riesling is the perfect match for the salty/sweet flavours of a Hawaiian pizza. Also, the acidity in the Riesling will act as a palate cleanser and will take your ham & pineapple experience to a whole new level! If you’re not keen on Riesling then pick a slightly sweeter red such as Zinfandel.
BBQ Chicken – Malbec or Touriga Nacional
You will find that BBQ topping on a pizza has a sweeter, smokier kick to it which will pair well with an Argentinean Malbec or Portuguese T-Nac. It’s best to stick to fruitier wines as it is a fruitier, sweeter style of BBQ.
Veggie – Rosé or Pinot Noir
Red wine can overpower a lot of vegetables; therefore it’s safer to stick to lighter reds such as Pinot Noir, Beaujolais or Rosé.
Mushroom – French Chardonnay or Pinot Noir
Mushroom pizza is all about the earthiness and herbal flavours. This flavour profile pairs perfectly with Burgundian Pinot Noirs. If there’s a little oregano on the pizza too this will elevate the heavenliness of this pairing.
The only DON’T that comes to mind when pairing pizza and wine is to avoid reds that are high in tannin as the combination of the tomato flavour and lots of tannin can leave a metallic taste in your mouth. Apart from that, have fun pairing your favourite pizza with your favourite tipple!