Wine Pairing for Pizza Toppings

October 14, 2015 by | Comments Off on Wine Pairing for Pizza Toppings

Cold beer has long been the traditional beverage choice of pizza lovers when enjoying their favorite slice of deliciousness, but today’s changing culinary scene has brought wine into the picture. Pairing wine and pizza might seem like a mystery to some,¬†complicated by the fact that most pizza features strong flavors. The trick is to select wines with large flavor profiles so that their charms aren’t overpowered by the pizza toppings.

Classic Pepperoni Pizza

Wine Pairing for Pizza Toppings-Classic Pepperoni Pizza

Southern Italian primitivo

Ice cold American lager and hot pepperoni pizza is a culinary classic that’s hard to beat. It takes a big wine to compete with cold beer where this type of pizza is concerned, and inky, intense primitivo from southern Italy pulls off the necessary flavor profile perfectly. Rich in tannins, primitivo brings out the best in spicy pepperoni and any other pizza crafted with red meat.

Classic pizza dishes almost always pair best with wines from Italy because food and wine evolved together. However, many of today’s pizza chefs are experimenting with nontraditional ingredients. When in doubt, go local if the pizza isn’t prepared in authentic Italian style.

Prosciutto Pizza

Wine Pairing for Pizza Toppings-Prosciutto Pizza


Earthy, spicy Chianti pairs well with cured meats such as prosciutto, sausage, and salumi. Chianti is a medium-bodied red wine with notes of cloves, pepper, and ordinary kitchen garden herbs such as thyme, oregano, and dill. It also pairs well with Canadian bacon pizza because it’s got traces of fruit in its bouquet that blend seamlessly with fresh pineapple chunks.

Smoked Salmon Pizza

Wine Pairing for Pizza Toppings-Smoked Salmon Pizza

Pacific Northwest Pinot Noir

One of the reasons why wine has popularity among pizza lovers recently is that the face of pizza has evolved significantly to include nontraditional ingredients. Smoked salmon is excellent on pizza, particularly when paired with grilled mushrooms and white cheese, but it needs something besides beer to be at its best. A Pacific Northwest pinot noir complements smoked salmon pizza perfectly. Keep in mind that pinot noirs produced in France have softer bouquets than earthy Oregon and Washington varietals and might not stand up well when served with salmon.

Seafood Pizza

Wine Pairing for Pizza Toppings-Seafood Pizza


Seafood pizza featuring crab, halibut, mussels, shrimp, and various other treasures from the ocean should be enjoyed with a properly chilled bottle of muscadet. Muscadet typically grows in vineyards near the seashore and features a soft bite of salty tang in its bouquet.

Vegetarian and Vegan Pizza

Wine Pairing for Pizza Toppings-Vegetarian-Pizza

White wines

Although most pizza calls for red wine, vegetarian pizza can be enjoyed with the right white wine, but wine selection will depend on the actual ingredients. Vegetarian pizza featuring smoked goat cheese cries out for accompaniment by a softly floral Gr√ľner Veltliner, while pizza topped with classic mozzarella and garden vegetables such as broccoli and diced carrots goes better with a simple pinot gris. Vegetarian pizzas that are heavy on the cheese are enhanced significantly when enjoyed with a light Beaujolais or a sparkling rosato.

Vegan pizzas pair best with tart white wines with crisp green notes such as sauvignon blanc.

Barbecued Chicken Pizza

Wine Pairing for Pizza Toppings-Barbecued Chicken Pizza

Malbec or pinot noir

Slightly sweet and smoky barbecued chicken pizza needs a wine that features fruity notes high on its flavor profile. Malbec from Argentina is perfect for pairing with smoked chicken pizza that was crafted with molasses, while barbecue sauces made with honey should be served with a pinot noir.

The kind of wine enjoyed with pizza is also a matter of personal preference. Finding the best wines to serve with pizza may just mean having to undertake an enjoyable culinary journey for yourself!

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