The Ultimate Pizza and Wine Pairings

by JJ Buckley Fine Wines

Thin crust pizza with tomato sauce and bell peppers alongside a glass of white wine

It’s pizza night, and you are ready to sink your teeth into a piping hot pie, but you have one problem: what wine to pair with it. Wine always goes with pizza, but pairing pizza toppings with the right wine is an art form of its own. 

Should you choose red, white or maybe sparkling wine? There are a few things to consider when pairing pizza and wine, such as weight and body, or basically the heaviness of the flavors. You want to match the level of intensity of the wine with the richness of the pizza. If one is too strong or has too much body, it can easily dominate the other, and the flavor will be mismatched. The best pizza and wine pairings match and the flavors work together and create a delightful culinary experience.

The best way to pair the melty cheese and tangy tomato sauce is to think about the acidity of the tomato, the richness of the melted cheese, and the crispy dough. Then, create a flavor profile including the pizza toppings you prefer, and from there you can start matching wines to pizzas. Here are a few suggestions of great matches for some of the most common kinds of pizzas.

Margherita Pizza

A Margherita pizza is a classic cheese pizza with a tangy tomato sauce and fresh basil. It’s a simple yet elegant pizza, and the best wine to pair with this classy pizza is zesty Pinot Grigio. It’s strong enough to match the flavor of the pizza without overpowering the taste. If you prefer red, a medium-bodied Sangiovese will work too. Try this divine Sangiovese from JJ Buckley Fine Wines.

It’s best to avoid a strong Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz, as they will overpower the subtle flavors.

Pepperoni Pizza

Pepperoni pizza is a favorite among many. It can be found at pizzerias across the globe. The best wine to pair with this is an Italian Chianti or a Syrah, both being heavy enough to cut through the richness of the pepperoni fat flavor profile. A classic Italian Chianti is an excellent choice.

It’s best to avoid light whites and Rosé.

Meat Lover’s Pizza

A  meat lover’s pizza combines sausage and pepperoni to create a spicy meaty combination. This bold pizza needs a heavy wine to match the mouthwatering richness of this classic pie. The best wine for a meat lover’s pizza is Merlot or Syrah. A bold wine with a high tannin profile is necessary to stand up to the intense meaty flavor. Try an excellent Merlot.

It’s best to avoid any whites, as the meat will overpower the taste.

Hawaiian Pizza

The Hawaiian pizza is a controversial pizza that combines salty pork and sweet, juicy pineapple. It’s not a traditional Italian pizza, but those who love it truly love it. The best wine to pair with the sweet and savory pizza is a Riesling, which can match the sweetness of the pineapple and the saltiness of the ham. Try a Reisling.

It’s best to avoid rich reds like a Merlot or Shiraz, as they will overpower the sweetness.

White Pizza

A white pizza is made with a creamy sauce instead of a tomato-based sauce. Removing the tomato sauce opens up the possibilities as the acidity from the tomato is normally a major flavor to work with. A white pizza pairs well with a Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay. A champagne or Prosecco could also work well, as they lighten up the heaviness from the cheese and sauce. Try this Champagne.

It’s best to avoid reds, as they will overpower.

Vegetarian Pizza

A vegetarian pizza is a great way to indulge in pizza night but without the heaviness and calories. This healthy pizza usually comes covered in mushrooms, peppers, olives, and other favorite vegetables. It's even better when paired with a Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. They match the lightness of the vegetables and enhance the flavor combination. Both Chardonnay or this Sauvignon Blanc from JJ Buckleys Fine Wines would be great with this pizza.

It’s best to avoid full-bodied red like Merlot or Shiraz.

Barbeque Chicken Pizza

Barbeque sauce on pizza is not for everyone, but those who enjoy the smoky sweetness of barbeque sauce mixed with melting mozzarella and tender chicken will enjoy it more with a Pinot Noir. It’s the perfect match of a light body that doesn’t overpower the chicken. A Merlot would also be a great choice. If you prefer white wine, a Chardonnay would be the best fit.

It’s best to avoid light whites, as the tangy barbecue sauce will be too strong.

Salad Pizza

Yes, you read that right, a salad pizza. Salad pizza is a healthy new option of pizza for those who are vegan or just prefer a healthy alternative to the heaviness of a traditional pizza pie. A salad pizza is exactly as it sounds, a fresh bunch of greens — usually spinach and arugula — covered in a tangy vinaigrette sitting on top of a pizza crust. The best wine to drink with this is a Sauvignon Blanc or a Chardonnay. They will be able to match the acidic taste of the salad pizza.

It’s best to avoid reds, as they will destroy the delicate flavors of the greens.

Helpful Tips for Choosing the Perfect Pairing

These pairings are for the most traditional types of pizzas but if you prefer other more adventurous pizza toppings you can still find the best pairing. Choosing the best wine pizza pairing doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Here are a few tips to help you decide on the best wine to enhance your favorite pizza:

  • Red wine matches best with red meat
  • White wine matches best with seafood
  • WIne should be less acidic than the pizza flavors
  • Wine should be sweeter than the pizza toppings
  • Full and medium-bodied reds work well with fatty meats

For your next pizza night, check out JJ Buckley Fine Wines. We have tasty reds, whites, and bubbly wines that will compliment your favorite pizza toppings. If you are having trouble finding the right pairing, we offer wine consultations. We can help you find the right pairing for your next pizza night, or any other night!