Pizza and Beer…a combination as rooted in American culture as peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti and meatballs or even Beavis and Butthead. But now that wine has taken over beer as the most popular beverage in the land, I think it’s time to start talking Pizza and Wine. But which ones are the best to drink with your favorite pie? Sure, the safe and easy move is to go with a Chianti or an Italian blend, and of course they will pair quite nicely. But why go the easy and safe route when you can be bold and daring! It’s so much more fun, and in the end, rewarding.
One of my favorite wines to pair with just about any style of pizza is a California Pinot Noir, specifically from Carneros. The light to medium bodied nature of these wines holds up well to the pizza’s consistency. Plus the cherry and spice characteristics that Carneros Pinots are famous for really bring out the robust flavors of the tomato.
If you are a traditionalist and feel the need to stick with the Italian wines, instead of reaching for a Chianti why not try a peppery Primitivo. In California they call it Zinfandel, but it is the same grape just grown in a different area. Primitivos tend to be very approachable; lots of lush dark fruit flavors and that classic peppery aspect just combines so well with the sauce… especially if you throw some crushed red pepper on your slice!
When veggies take center stage on the pizza, just the right white wine (yes… white wine) can really complement the combination of flavors. Any version of the Sauvignon Blanc grape, with its citrus flavors and crisp style, will help bring out all the goodness that vegan pie has to offer. The flinty style of the Sancerre wines tends to lend itself very well to this type of meal.
Is meat lover’s pizza more your style? Well if you like to pair your steak with a big Napa Cab or a classic Bordeaux, why not do the same with your pie?!? A pizza loaded with meatballs, sausage, ham and whatever other meat you can think of is full of big flavors. The only way to offset that is with a big wine! So don’t be afraid to reach for that bottle of Far Niente or Chateau Lascombes just because it’s pizza night. You may be surprised what a special bottle of wine can do to enhance the enjoyment of your favorite pizza pie. Salute!
Below are some of my favorite value picks for all the wines mentioned above.
Artesa Pinot Noir Carneros, CA
Acacia Pinot Noir Carneros, CA
BV Pinot Noir, Carneros, CA
Castle Rock Pinot Noir, Carneros, CA
Amano Primitivo Puglia
Cantele Primitivo Southern Italy
Layer Cake Primitivo – IGT Puglia
Brancott Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough, NZ
Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma, CA
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough, NZ
Michel Redde Sancerre Les Tuilieres
BV Cabernet Napa, CA
Liberty School Cabernet Paso Robles, CA
Stag’s Leap Artemis Cabernet Napa, CA
Far Niente Cabernet Napa, CA
Chateau Greysac Medoc
Chateau des Graviers Margaux
Chateau Talbot Saint Julien
Chateau Lascombes Margaux