I think it’s safe to say that pizza is one of the most universally loved foods amongst children. I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t like it. The reality of this fact, however, is that parents are also frequently taking their children to pizza restaurants, ordering pizza delivery, and basically incorporating pizza into their regular rotation. That’s the case in my house, anyway.
I enjoy eating pizza, but prefer to change up the flavors we get. While my kids still prefer cheese, I will usually order a second pie just for my husband and I to share. That way, ours can be a bit more sophisticated, pairing it with wine.
I’ve found wine to be such a great complement to pizza — the acidity and tannins cut through greasy cheese and balance the acidic tomato sauce. You might be surprised at how much it enhances the flavors of both.
Here are a few of my favorite pairings that are definitely worth trying:
Cheese & Pinot Noir
Simple cheese pizza can be slightly acidic because of the tomato sauce and often has a thin layer of oil from the melted cheese. However, the flavor typically isn’t overwhelming, which is why a light aromatic red like pinot noir goes so well with it. The red fruit flavors of the wine match the fruity tomato sauce, and it has just enough acid to cut through oil.
Pepperoni & Syrah
Pepperoni gives pizza a meaty, spicy flavor, which means a full-bodied wine is in order. Try pairing pepperoni pizza with a bold peppery syrah. Its signature flavor profile of black pepper and currant will match beautifully with pepperoni, making it perfect for washing down slice after slice. However, if you prefer white wines, try pairing pepperoni with a sauvignon blanc. The sharp acid and bright citrus stand up perfectly to strong, spicy meat.
Veggie & Chardonnay
Veggie pizza tends to be slightly more neutral in terms of acid and flavor, which is why it goes well with unoaked chardonnay. With a flavor profile featuring citrus, herbs, and vegetables, chardonnay pairs with a pizza featuring similar flavors.
White & Champagne
White pizza is typically much less acidic because of the lack of red sauce. This means that the wine it’s paired with can be lower acid as well. That’s why I like to eat it with champagne. It might be surprising, but champagne and pizza go brilliantly together. The bubbles highlight the flavors and never overwhelm your palate.
Meat Lover’s & Cabernet Sauvignon
A rich meaty pizza topped with sausage, meatballs, and more can be just as heavy as beef stew. Rich foods deserve rich wines, which is why a high acid, high tannin cabernet sauvignon would be the best pairing with it. The bold, meaty flavors are well matched by the rich wine, featuring notes of dark red fruits; neither will overwhelm the other.
Margherita & Pinot Grigio
Unlike basic cheese, this pizza is typically topped with smooth mozzarella and aromatic basil. A light pinot grigio is ideal for serving with this pizza flavor. The light herbaceous character will highlight the basil and not overwhelm the mozzarella.
Hawaiian & Riesling
There is nothing quite like the combination of sweet pineapple and salty ham on pizza. This can make wine pairing trickier, so I recommend a semi-dry (demi-sec) vouvray or riesling. The sweetness in the wine will match the sweetness in the pineapple, while the acid in the riesling will cut through the rich cheese and fatty ham.