Wine and pizza are a match made in heaven.
Whether you enjoy a classic combination of mozzarella and marinara sauce, a creamy ‘white’ pizza with ricotta cheese and mushrooms, or a sizzling meat feast pizza, there’s a wine out there that will enhance your pizza and take it to the next level.
However, which wine to pair with which pizza can be something of a conundrum if you usually reach for a beer with your Saturday night pizza.
That’s why we put together this article. We’ve covered the best wine types, best wine colors and provided our top recommendations for wines to pair with pizza – so you know exactly which bottle to reach for next time you make or order pizza.
Best for simple, Napoletana pizza
If you’re enjoying a classic, simple Napoletana-style pizza with tomato and mozzarella, a wine with good acidity and plenty of bright fruit flavors will balance out the tangy tomato sauce.
Italian reds are perfect for this – think Barbera d’Asti or the Frappato from Sicily.
Keep it simple. Lighter reds like Gamay or Sangiovese work well and will further enhance the comfort of pizza night.
Best for spicy or meat toppings
If you’re adding toppings to your pizza, particularly ones with a hint of spice such as pepperoni, you can opt for a more robust wine with higher levels of tannin.
Nero d’Avola wines from Sicily have bold fruit flavors and have become a regular on pizzeria wine lists. They also go particularly well with meat-based pizzas. A young, chilled Chianti can also go well with meaty or spicy pizzas.
Generally, you’ll want a heartier or more robust wine to match a hearty, meat pizza. Think Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, or Merlot.
Best for “white pizza”
White pizza – known as Pizza Bianca – is pizza made without tomato or marinara sauce, and topped with white cheeses. They usually feature garlic, clams, spinach, and alfredo sauce instead of tomato sauce, which means that the acidity in the tomato sauce is no longer an issue.
For white pizza, look no further than a classic white wine such as Chardonnay. This full-bodied white wine boasts the structure and body to support the density of white pizza.
The cream-based sauce enhances the natural creamy notes of Chardonnay, which will provide your meal with subtle notes of lemon, peach, pineapple, pear, and passion fruit.
Chardonnay’s trademark ‘creaminess’ is not caused by oaking, but instead by malolactic fermentation which is responsible for the imparting butter and cream flavors.
Best for pineapple toppings
Pineapple is often a controversial topic when it comes to pizza. Back in 2017, Pizza delivery app Slice surveyed 34,000 people on their taste in pizza toppings. 54% of respondents (out of the 9,474 who responded to this question) were adamant in saying “no – pineapple is not for pizza!”
Nonetheless, if you’re a fan of this sweet topping, you may want to opt for a white wine with good acidity and enough body to balance out the pineapple.
A semi-dry (demi-sec) Vouvray or Riesling will suit a sweet and savory pizza well. The acid of the wine cuts through the rich tomato sauce, while the sweetness will match that of the pineapple.
These wines also go well with dessert pizza, such as those adorned with chocolate or caramel, and we recommend going for the sweetest bottle of Riesling or Vouvray possible.
When it comes to pairing wine with desserts, the general rule of thumb is to make the wine sweeter than food. This prevents the wine from tasting bitter when you take a sip in between eating your dessert.
Best for vegetarian pizza
Chianti makes a frequent appearance on the wine lists of pizzerias, and good Chianti is both savory and spicy, with red fruits, bitter herbs, and notes of balsamic vinegar, smoke, and leather.
If you’re going for a veggie pizza, particularly one with lots of fresh herbs, look for a Chianti Classico, which is at least 80% Sangiovese, or a Brunello di Montalcino, which is 100% Sangiovese.
A Sauvignon Blanc also pairs well with vegetarian pizza, as it has a bright acidity that balances well with a variety of veggies. A dry rose wine would also perform well.
Best for pizza with mushrooms or potato
For pizza loaded with mushrooms and potatoes, Beaujolais, a light red wine, is a great option. Its earthy flavors mimic those of the toppings well, and it’s similar to Pinot Noir but for a fraction of the cost.
Best color wine for pizza: red, white, or rose?
There’s no simple answer to this question, as red, white, or pink wines can pair well with pizza, it’s more so a question of your choice of topping, as this will be the big determinant of which wine to opt for.
Full-bodied red wine, such as Shiraz or Merlot, goes great with hearty, meat pizzas. Lighter reds such as a medium-bodied Chianti or a mellow Beaujolais pairs well with veggie pizza or potato and mushroom toppings.
For white wine, think creamy pizzas like “white” pizza or those with a touch of sweetness, like pineapple or Hawaiian pizza.
Finally, a dry rose wine will suit veggie pizza and is the perfect halfway point between red and white varieties.
Top Wines for Pizza Pairing
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This is an Italian red wine with vibrant cherry and red berry flavors, and hints of tobacco, leather, cedar, white pepper, and a touch of flint.
This Chianti Classico is derived from carefully selected grapes from the traditional Chianti Classico region and features velvety tannins, a firm acidity, and a subtle lingering finish of rosemary.
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A medium-bodied Sangiovese with hints of spice, strawberry, and cherry, this wine has silky tannins that pair well with acidic tomato or marinara sauce, as well as pizza topping with spicy meats.
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A summery wine that pairs well with mushroom toppings and vegetarian pizza, this New Zealand wine has a fresh, crisp taste with tropical notes and a zesty finish.
It’s undergone a slow, temperature-controlled fermentation and is bottled young to ensure the wine’s elegant varietal characters are retained.
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This smooth, medium-bodied French wine has flavors of juicy cassis and blackberry with hints of mocha. From the celebrated vineyards of rural France, this well-balanced Cabernet Sauvignon pairs perfectly with most pizzas – from classic Italian Margareta to those with red meats or vegetables.
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Bogle Merlot is aged for 12 months in American oak barrels and is a full-bodied red wine that pairs perfectly with Margarita pizza. In 2018, Bogle received the Green Leader Award for sustainability, and 96% of all grapes crushed at the winery are certified green.
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This Californian wine has been aged for 6 months in American oak barrels and finished for 6 months in charred bourbon barrels. It has a strong, complex taste and is bursting with flavors of blackberry, raspberry, black pepper, and vanilla, along with a touch of clove and caramel and a smoky finish.
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This delicate Pinot Noir has a soft and silky texture, with supple tannins which accentuate the ripe berry flavors. Decoy wines were established more than 30 years ago by legendary vintners Dan and Margaret Duckhorn, and their wines are crafted to the highest standards.
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The Les Pierres Vineyard is known worldwide for its rocky soil that infuses the grapes with varied mineral essence. The result is a single vineyard wine that is a firm favorite among Chardonnay drinkers.
This vintage wine reflects a balance of fruit flavors and oak aging, creating a fuller-bodied Chardonnay that will pair perfectly with creamy white pizza. It provides a signature citrus acidity that will perfectly balance the creaminess of the white pizza’s cheeses.
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With refreshing flavors of peach, green apple, mango, and citrus, this crisp and fruity Riesling is perfect for sweet-savory pizza with pineapple toppings, or sweet dessert pizza.
Refreshing and flavorful, this “everyday Riesling” is easy to drink and has a tart finish to balance out the sweetness of Hawaiian or pineapple pizza.
Pizza and wine are a perfect combination, and once you try the two together, you’ll find it hard to have one without the other. Whether you lean more towards white wines or red wines, chunky American-style meat pizza, or simple Napoletana pizza, there are so many choices when it comes to pairing wine and pizza.
Just remember, look for wines that balance the acidity of tomato pizzas, or enhance the creaminess of white ones.