The Top 5 Wines to Pair with Pizza
By Zach Glassman, Certified Specialist of Wine
As I struggle yet again to lose these same 25 pounds that I’ve been trying to lose since I hit 30, I return to pizza as a viable food source. And though my ideal pizza might be the reason the tire on my waist remains (but seriously, who could say no to a bacon, pepperoni, extra cheese pizza??), there’s no doubt that wines go great with a variety of toppings! Here’s my list of the top 5 wines to pair with 5 different pizzas:
#5: Meat Lovers’ Pizza - Paired with Italian Sangiovese Let’s start in the most obvious place: pizza with meat paired with a Tuscan red. Whether that meat be wild boar sausage, pepperoni, meatballs, or some combination of those and more, Sangiovese is the clear choice. First of all, it’s built to be paired with food. Second, it becomes even more food friendly when it’s blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, creating a classic Super-Tuscan. Many would suggest a Chianti and I happen to agree. Borgo Scopeto Chianti Classico 2019 is a great way to go, with deep, intense aromas and flavors.
#4: Cheese Pizza with Stuffed Crust - Paired with Long Island Chardonnay The name of the game here is “complementary”. All that cheese is lush, round, and full of fat and demands a wine that is the same. Oh, sure, you can pick something with bright acid like a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc to play against the cheese, but if you’re eating pizza it’s because you love that delicious greasiness from the cheese. My choice is Lenz Gold Label Chardonnay, aged in oak and rich enough to stand up to the best Mozzarella.
#3: Hawaiian Pizza - Paired with California Sauvignon Blanc I present you with two very divisive concepts: Hawaiian pizza, the beautiful combination of pineapple, ham, cheese, and red sauce, vs California Sauvignon Blanc, which can oftentimes pick up tropical flavors of pineapple, guava, and white peach, and both of which you either love… or you don’t. But I happen to be in the former camp, loving the complementary flavors! When it comes to these flavors, no one does California Sauvignon Blanc better than Merry Edwards. It’s a higher price tag, but the flavors are unforgettable and well worth it.
#2: Veggie Pizza - Paired with Natural Orange Wine Mike sometimes tells the story of the first time we met and I asked him for an interesting white wine. He suggested an orange wine and I was excited because I’d never had one. Yeah, well, I really didn’t like it lol. But! My tastes have evolved since then and I’ve come to find that there’s a South Fork Orange wine that I fell kinda in love with! Veggie pizza is fresh and usually a good mix of umami flavors like mushrooms and peppers. With this, I have to recommend Channing Daughters’ Ramato. It’s an orange Pinot Grigio, full skin contact, naturally made with beautiful flavors. I found it insanely easy to drink, and I think you will too!
#1: Bacon Pepperoni Pizza with Extra Cheese - Paired with Australian Shiraz Spice? Yes. Acid? Yes! Australian Shiraz is generally rich, but light, with great acidity to cut through all the fat and meatiness in this kind of pizza. But it also has a spice note to it that makes the spiciness of the pepperoni stand out all that much more. My choice is Woop Woop, because when I’m doing pizza night, I’m already spending too much on the toppings to spend more on the wine.