Great Wines for Pizza Night
Pairing wine with pizza is a snap when you follow these simple tricks.
I’ve ordered pizza twice in the last week.
Once when I got home from the cottage – fridge empty, a mountain of unpacking and laundry to do, and zero energy to hit the grocery store.
A few days later, I was having a swell time with friends on my sunny balcony, sipping rosé, and had absolutely no desire to leave my lawn chair.
Pizza delivery to the rescue.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “This is the part where she tells us the perfect wine to go with pizza.”
Got’cha. I’m not.
So often in my business, wine reviewers go for the low hanging fruit of deeming wines the perfect “picnic” wine, or “bistro” wine, or “Tuesday night” wine. Like we really know how you spend your Tuesday nights. And for Pete’s sake, can we just admit that no one, except for actors in rom-coms, actually picnics? “Pizza” wine, by the way, falls right into that ridiculous, occasion-specific "perfect" category.
Here’s the thing about pizza and wine:
White sauce, red sauce, meat lovers, veggie lovers … and then there’s the weirdo who adds arugula to theirs (guilty.) That’s a lot of flavours and components to consider. But just like when I wrote about Thanksgiving Dinner, trying to pick the one perfect wine for all the ingredient options will make you want to slap yourself with a hot pepperoni slice.
So, here is my counter offer: how about wines that are simply pretty good for any pizza?
Ya. I went there.
Flexibility, as with yoga and dating, is key to a good wine and food pairing match. So, no matter what your flavour of the week, these are pretty good wine picks for your pizza.
A slightly off dry, and full-flavoured rosé with rich, fruit-forward notes does wonders for salty, fatty meats like prosciutto, pepperoni and bacon. Plus, the delicate sweetness of the wine helps temper any heat from fiery spice. And the knock-out punch to this ultimate pairing trifecta? The salt in the pizza really pumps up the fruit in the wine. Delicious.
Try it with: Hawaiian
You knew we couldn’t side-step this one, right? There’s a reason Chianti has a guest starring role in all those old-time mobster movies set in New York taverna’s decorated with red checkered tablecloths.
Chianti is the classic pizza wine: medium bodied, bright red fruit, savoury spice, and bright acidity make this a can’t-go-wrong pairing. This especially works with your classic tomato sauce and meat pizza, but Chianti also has an herbal note that is delish with veggie-based pies.
Try it with: Classic pepperoni and mushroom
Sparkling wine is your get-out-of-jail-free card for just about everything. (Including when you forget to take out the trash and the whole kitchen reeks the next morning, but that’s a topic for another day. And another website, for that matter.)
Something really magical happens when you pair pizza and fizz.
If you’ve been following The Wine Sisters for a while on Instagram, you know how much we adore the high-low pairing of bubbly and chips or popcorn. The mouth-watering brightness and effervescent bubbles of the wine marries brilliantly with the fat, salt and richness of the food for a truly delightful match.
Try it with: White sauce pizza with truffles and parmesan.
Almost everyone's favourtie aromatic white, Sauv Blanc brims with tropical fruit flavours of gooseberry and kiwi set against the classic herbal note of asparagus, grass or basil. And the white grape's naturally high acidity (are you seeing a theme here?) help cut through the fattiness of the cheese.
Try it with: Pizza Genovese (pizza with pesto sauce)
Cab Sauvs, with their full body, grippy tannins, rich berry flavours, and powerful structure require food that has an equal amount of oomph. Pizzas blanketed in meat would be the answer, as the fat and protein has the stamina to take on a firm Cab.
Try it with: Meat lovers' pizza, of course
Riesling, while grown successfully all over the world, has its ancestral home in Germany and Alsace (which was once Germany, but that's not the point here). And those places make delicious Flammekueche, a type of flat bread similar to pizza that uses a fromage blanc as a sauce. Riesling is a gorgeous pairing for this regional dish as it pairs exceptionally well with the oozy cheese sauce, while the salt in the toppings helps promote the sweet fruit in the wine.
Try it with: Caramelized onion and lardon pizza
Pizza, like anything, is only limited to the cook's imagination. Butter chicken pizza, braised short rib pizza, and barbecue chicken pizza have all made their way onto main stream menus in the last few years. When working with smoky ingredients such as BBQ fare, Malbec is a great choice. Plush and fruity, with soft tannins and juicy berry flavours, Malbecs have been the go-to for Argentinian asado for years. Whether dealing with toppings of smokehouse charcuterie or barbecued meat, Malbec is the wine you want.
Try it with: Spicy and saucy barbecue chicken pizza