Pairing wine with pizza
Wine and pizza. Like bacon and eggs and cookies and cream, it’s a classic pairing that brings together two beloved culinary delights. But when it comes to choosing the right wine for your pizza, the age-old questions lingers: does red or white wine pair better with pizza?
These days there are just about as many pizza toppings out there as there are wine varieties, and that’s where things can get a little tricky. Fret not, we’ve put together this handy little guide to help you navigate the wonderful world of pizza and wine pairings. Don’t dial delivery without it!
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PIZZA?
How long is a piece of string? You get the drift… there’s a huge variety of different pizzas due to the multitude of delicious toppings that make pizza the popular cuisine that it is. Ultimately, that just means there’s something that everyone will love. But for the purpose of this little exploration, we’ll focus on some of Australia’s favourite pizza varieties, the ones most commonly found.
How to pair your wine with pizza in a snapshot!
We often get asked: why is food and wine pairing essential in cuisine? It’s important because the right combination can elevate a dining experience by enhancing the flavours and textures, and who doesn’t want to have amazing culinary experiences! A well-matched wine can complement a dish’s characteristics, creating a harmonious balance that brings out the best in both the food and the wine. It adds a new dimension to the meal, enhancing the enjoyment and creating memorable moments.
So, what are the basic guidelines in pairing food and wine? Check out our Pairing Food and Wine guide for everything you need to know!
Favourite pizza and wine pairings
Margherita pizza with wine
Featuring the simple and classic flavours of tangy tomato, creamy mozzarella and fragrant basil, a margarita pizza lends itself to light/medium-bodied wines. The zesty flavours of a Pinot Grigio are just enough to bring out the pizza’s flavours, without overpowering it.
Pair with: Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese, or Rosé.
Best to avoid: Heavy bold wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz.
PEPPERONI PIZZA with wine
To balance out the strong spice of pepperoni, opt for a wine with rich, fruity flavours like a Sangiovese. Its savoury qualities and moderate acidity will cut through the pepperoni’s fat and saltiness, providing the perfect moreish match.
Pair with: Sangiovese, Barbera, Nero d'Avola, or Nebbiolo.
Best to avoid: Lighter-style wines such as Rosé.
HAWAIIAN PIZZA with wine
When it comes to pairing wine and Hawaiian pizza, it really is a case of opposites attract. A reasonably sweet Riesling will work beautifully as a counterbalance to the saltiness of the ham, while also enhancing the pineapple’s punch. The high acidity of a Riesling also provides a great palate cleanser to boot.
Pair with: Riesling, Prosecco, Sauvignon Blanc, or Fiano.
Best to avoid: Rich, fruity reds such as Shiraz.
MEATLOVERS PIZZA with wine
With these intense meaty flavours, you’re going to need a wine that’s up to the task and one never-fail variety is Cabernet Sauvignon. Its elevated tannins will match perfectly with the fattiness of the meat and the rich fruity flavours will provide an undeniable flavour combination.
Pair with: Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Shiraz, or Malbec.
Best to avoid: White wine.
BBQ CHICKEN PIZZA with wine
The smokiness and sweetness of the barbeque sauce will pair perfectly with the fruitiness of a Pinot Noir. Its light body and fine tannins will work beautifully with the chicken, without overpowering it.
Pair with: Pinot Noir, Dolcetto, Merlot, Chardonnay, or Rosé.
Best to avoid: Light-bodied white wines.
VEGETARIAN PIZZA with wine
If you like your vegetables where you can see them on a pizza, think about a wine that’s not going to compete with the mix of components going on in a Vegetarian pizza. An unoaked Chardonnay is a good place to start. With its gentle notes of citrus and herbs, it complements the similar flavours of the vegetables perfectly.
Pair with: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Prosecco, Fiano, or Rosé.
Best to avoid: Deep, full-bodied reds like Shiraz, which will overpower the humble veggies.
Of course, there really are no hard and fast rules when it comes pairing wine and pizza. However, if you’re ever at a loss, our Wine Selectors Panellist, Adam Walls says, “When it comes to pizza, I stick to the old theory of what grows together, goes together. Most Italian-style wines like Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Nero d’Avola, Fiano and Vermentino are all going to be good options with pizza.”
LEARN MORE about food and wine
For more great food and wine combinations, be sure to check out our dedicated Food and Wine Pairing guides.