Wine and Pizza

wine pizzaYou don’t need a fancy, home cooked meal to enjoy a nice bottle of wine. While I don’t recommend drinking a 1961 Cheval Blanc with a burger and onion rings, there is no reason why you can’t pair an everyday wine with an everyday food… like pizza.

Ok, so who cares that you pairing wine with pizza? If you take the time to make a good match, it’s just as classy and as enjoyable as any other occasion.

The key to pairing wine with any type of food is striking a balance between the boldness and flavors of the two, and the same holds true with pizza. While it’s nice to be able to pair wine with a nice, gourmet pizza, it’s not at all necessary. Both frozen pizzas and delivery are so popular because they ARE great tasting, and can just as easily be paired with wine as a more expensive gourmet pizzas.

Food and wine pairing can be pretty complicated given the vast options for wine types and cooking styles.Since there are far fewer types of pizza then there are wine varietals, the easiest thing to do when trying to pair wine and pizza is to decide on a type of pizza first.

Pairing Wine with Cheese Pizza:

This is the most basic pizza, but it’s also much more versatile than the others. Since one of the most dominant flavors in cheese pizza is the acidic tomato sauce, you’ll need a wine that’s not overloaded in tannins.

If you prefer white wines, a full-bodied Chardonnay will pair well with the bread, cheese and tomato sauce.

If you’re into reds, a Chianti Classico or Sangiovese (made from the same grape) would be one of the best possible matches for this type of pizza.

Pairing Wine with Meat Pizza:

With the exception of ham, most meat pizzas (sausage, salami, pepperoni, etc…) will have a much hardier taste to them. You don’t want a wine that is too light or smooth as it’s flavor would simply be washed away by the strong flavor of the meat.

When pairing wine with meat pizzas, look for juicy and/or crisp. Either a Chardonnay, a Pinot Grigio or Syrah would work best here.

Pairing Wine with Hawaiian Pizza:

A huge delivery favorite, this pizza is whole lot sweeter than most and really goes well with a nice Riesling. You don’t need a really sweet Reisling to balance out the flavor of the Hawaiian pizza.

If you’re not into sweet/semi-sweet wines, other wines like Sauvignon Blanc or perhaps a light-bodied Beaujolais will also taste great.

Pairing Wine with Vegetarian Pizza:

No, I haven’t forgotten about you veggie lovers. The flavors in a veggie pizza are a little more complex but not as strong as those found in a traditional meat pizza. With any kind of veggie pizza you’ll want to stay away from really bold wines.

Pinot Noir is a delicate enough that it won’t overpower the veggies but will still draw out the flavor of the sauce. You can also learn more about wine pairing tips for vegetarians here.

Pairing Wine with Pizza Leftovers:

Come on, what are we talking about here? This really is a no-brainer. Cork your bottle and throw the pizza box in the fridge and you can enjoy it again tomorrow!!! If you’re into cold leftover pizza, a cold, crisp white wine would wash it any type of pizza well, in addition to the specific pairings we mentioned above.

As with all other forms of wine pairing advice, do what tastes best. If you find Merlot and Anchovie Pizza to be the most irresistible combination in the culinary world, don’t give that up for the sake of a more “traditional” pairing.

Also, as with all types of wine pairings, don’t be afraid to experiment. Any master sommelier can scientifically piece together the best wine pairings and still not manage to create a pairing that suites your tastebuds. Drink what you like, even if it’s what everyone else says shouldn’t be paired together.

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