September 01, 2021 by Arden Montgomery
Best Wine for Pizza
They go together like peanut butter and jelly; like ice cream and birthday cake; like…well…pizza and wine!
These two iconic Italian staples were quite literally made for each other (or at least alongside one another.) One of the earliest archeological traces of wine was found on the island of Sicily, with an estimated origination date of around 4,000 BCE. Pizza as it exists today is a much more recent phenomenon, specifically described just over 1,000 years ago. But pizza-like foods — flatbread with toppings, essentially — have been around since before even the Italian viticultural scene made its debut.
We like to picture the first Italian foodie who had this world-changing thought (walking the streets of Rome, toga draped over one shoulder, goblet in hand): “Quid si Etruscum cum vino comedi?” Translation: what if I ate pizza with wine?
While it’s difficult to mess up pizza and wine, the right pairing will bring out the best of both. Here are a few tips for matching your Margherita to your Merlot, as well as a few choice bottles from our collection perfect for your next pizza party.
How to Pair Wine With Pizza
Rule number 1: drink what you like.
Seriously. Pizza is all about having fun and enjoying yourself, and if obsessing over the perfect wine pairing is making this meal feel more like business than pleasure, grab your favorite label and pop that cork.
Rule number 2: pair with the toppings, not the base.
The bready aspect of pizza is important to consider, and there are a lot of wines out there that help to elevate the tasting notes in a whiteflour dough. But the sauces, cheeses, veggies and meats you throw on your favorite pie are what make it unique and will clue you in on which wines will make the ingredients sing.
A few things to consider:
- Tomato based sauces or veggie-heavy topping spreads pair well with dryer wines including Grenache Rosés and lighter reds.
- White sauces go well with white wines of all kinds, but especially bubbles that help to cut through the fat of creamier toppings.
- Meat-heavy pizzas can be balanced with sweeter wines like Sauternes or Sangiovese.
- Different cheeses lend a variety of flavors and textural qualities to your pizza, but in general call for a bold wine: think full-bodied reds like Tempranillo, or a strong white such as a California Chardonnay.
Best Red Wine for Pizza
- 2020 Bodega Chacra ‘Cincuenta y Cinco’ Pinot Noir – $58
Our first recommendation on this tour-of-Italy listicle hails from Argentina (we know.) This deep Pinot is beautifully bright, with a range of tasting notes from berries, to smoke, to game meats. Serve with herbaceous sauces — a good pesto wouldn’t go amiss — or a cheesy arugula and prosciutto pie.
- 2017 Oddero Barolo Classico – $60
An elegant wine that offers an even more exquisite flavor the longer you wait (if you can wait), this quintessential Barolo is dark, acidic, herbaceous and earthy. A true Italian legend, the Oddero winery has been in business since 1878. For reference, Pizza Hut is almost 100 years younger. Whatever pizza you drink the Classico alongside, make sure you top it with plenty of parmigiano.
- 2019 Gouchas Luján de Cuyo Malbec – $22
A fresh and juicy Malbec that’s just waiting to become your new, summery drink-of-choice. Blueberry, cherry, cranberry and cocoa notes will trick you into thinking you’re drinking an incredibly grown-up fruit punch. Sip chilled next to a wood-fire oven and this fennel and sausage pizza.
Best White Wine for Pizza
- 2019 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Santenay Comme Dessus Blanc – $67
Think white-wine sangria, but with those flavors pulled through the roots of the grape itself. Green apple, stone fruit and citrus shine through above a floral and minerally base. This wine loves feta, and should be paired with a greek-inspired pizza topped with cherry tomatoes, kalamata black olives and red onions.
- 2019 Moreau-Naudet Petit Chablis – $35
Youth, bottled! Young, low-yield vines produced the precocious grapes that went into making this gorgeous Chablis. Creamy, flowery, fruity and utterly delightful, this is the bottle to reach for when you’re having a Quattro Formaggi for dinner.
- 2020 Les Athlètes du Vin Chenin Blanc – $25
A bouquet of citrus flowers, tropical fruits and white peach make this white the ideal post-workout beverage (after you’ve hydrated, of course!) Consider this vino while you’re carbo-loading on a classic Hawaiian-style pizza, or with this grilled honey and goat cheese pie.
Best Rosé Wine for Pizza
- 2020 Storm Watch Hill Vineyard Grenache Rosé – $28
A dry, dry California rosé, this old-vine Grenache is surprisingly fruity and refreshing. This wine pairs incredibly well with melon, so: If you like getting a little weird with your pizza, try shirking a bready base and swap it out for a grilled watermelon pizza experience. If you’re more traditional, a classic Neapolitan will do nicely.
- Shades of Rosé – 2020 Château Montfrin ‘Paumiste’ Rosé – $18 to 195
Another athletic bottle for the sporty sippers among us, the Paumiste offers a refreshing and fruity bevy that quenches any thirst with a botanical and berry-forward flourish. A perfect pair for a creamier pie, try this wine with any pizza made with ricotta as the primary dairy.
- NV Domaine de la Taille Aux Loups Triple Zéro Rosé Pet Nat – $39
A bottle of bubbles is just what the chef recommends after any pizza-eating experience. Old, old vines produced the beautiful bunch that went into this sparkling wine, delighting the palate with notes of tart red berries. Try with a meat-lovers pizza, or a straightforward and down-to-earth pepperoni and mozz.
How Argaux can Help
From fire-roasted pizzas made of 100-year-old sourdough starters to your favorite take-and-bake frozen pizza from the grocery store, there’s a wine that will go with it.
Argaux’s Food and Wine Pairing Kit is designed to help you find a wine for literally any food you can imagine, but especially the bready and the cheesy. Choose from a 2, 3 or 4 bottle kit and receive a copy of Vanessa Price’s wine pairing guide: Big Macs and Burgundy, as well as a hand-picked selection of featured wines guaranteed to bring out the best in your guilty-pleasure meal.
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