Valentina Silovic

Pizza Wines 101: Elevate Your Slice With These Wines

Image of friends with glasses of red wine cheering over pizza
Photo: Friends with glasses of red wine cheering over pizza

When it comes to beloved comfort foods, few can compete with the universal appeal of pizza. This scrumptious and versatile dish has won the hearts (and taste buds) of people worldwide. Whether you prefer a classic Margherita, a meat-lover’s delight, or a veggie-packed masterpiece, there’s a pizza for everyone. But have you ever considered the art of pairing pizza with the right wine? In this article, we will explore the top pizza wine pairings that will leave your taste buds singing with joy. But first, let’s uncover what exactly are pizza wines.

What are pizza wines?

Image of pizza and glass of wine on a wooden table
Photo: Italian pizza on a wooden table


Before we dive into the specific types of wines that pair well with pizza, let’s understand why certain wines work so well with this iconic dish.

The beauty of pizza lies in its simple yet bold flavors. The combination of tangy tomato sauce, gooey cheese, and various toppings creates a symphony of taste that calls for wines with certain characteristics.

Pizza typically has a savory and sometimes slightly spicy character, which means the wine should be able to complement and enhance those flavors.

A good pizza wine should have enough acidity to cut through the richness of the cheese and toppings while providing a refreshing contrast to the tomato sauce.

Classic wine and pizza pairings:

  1. Chianti: When it comes to classic pizza wines, Chianti is a top contender. Hailing from the picturesque vineyards of Tuscany, Chianti is a medium-bodied red wine made primarily from Sangiovese grapes. It’s high acidity and moderate tannins make it an ideal partner for pizzas topped with tomato sauce and meats. The wine’s cherry and plum notes create a delightful harmony with the pizza’s savory elements.
  2. Barbera: Another Italian gem, Barbera, comes from the Piedmont region. This red wine is cherished for its lively acidity and fruity profile, often showcasing flavors of raspberry and black cherry. Barbera’s brightness and approachability make it a fantastic match for a variety of pizzas, especially those with pepperoni, sausage, or mushrooms.
  3. Rosé: If you prefer a lighter and more refreshing option, a dry rosé can be a splendid choice. Rosé wines offer a versatile palate with flavors of red berries and a crisp finish. They are excellent companions for Margherita pizzas, white pizzas, or any pizza with a lot of vegetables.

While red wines tend to be the go-to for pizza pairings, there are other options worth exploring:

  1. Prosecco: The effervescence of Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine, can elevate your pizza experience. Its zesty and fruity character brings a delightful contrast to the pizza’s savory notes. It pairs wonderfully with lighter pizzas, such as those featuring seafood or simply topped with fresh herbs.
  2. Craft Beer: If you’re not a wine enthusiast or simply want a different experience, consider pairing your pizza with a craft beer. A hoppy IPA can complement the spicy kick of a pepperoni pizza, while a refreshing wheat beer can harmonize with a veggie-loaded slice.

While classic pairings are a great starting point, don’t be afraid to trust your own palate and experiment with different wines to find your perfect pizza match.

If you prefer white wines, try a crisp Sauvignon Blanc with a pesto-based pizza or a buttery Chardonnay with a white pizza.

If you’re a fan of reds, explore Italian reds like Nero d’Avola or a fruit-forward Zinfandel.

Ultimately, pizza wines are about personal preference and enjoyment. The next time you order or make your favorite pizza, grab a bottle of wine that tickles your taste buds and enhances the experience.

After all, the magic of pairing pizza with the right wine lies in the adventure of discovering what delights your senses the most. Cheers to the perfect pizza and wine pairing!

Why drink wine with pizza?

You might wonder if pizza wines are worth your attention, and why pair them with pizza. The resounding answer is YES, and here’s why:

  • Comfort in pairing: just as we indulge in comfort foods on gloomy or tired days, pizza wines offer a similar comforting experience in the world of wines. When you return home after a long day at work, ready for some pizza time, you may not want to fuss over a complex and aged Bordeaux that demands decanting and the perfect glassware.
  • Wine elevates the pizza experience: The right combination can enhance flavors, balance the meal, and provide a delightful contrast to the richness of the pizza. Wine’s acidity, sweetness, and tannins can complement the various toppings, sauces, and cheeses, creating a harmony of taste that simply delights the palate.
  • Perfect pairings: pizza and wine have a natural affinity for each other. Pizza, with its dough, tomatoes, mozzarella, and various toppings, naturally pairs well with wine. The acidity in the wine complements the tomato’s sweetness, and the wine’s flavors enhance the pizza’s deliciousness.
  • Versatility: pizza wines come in various styles and grape varieties, offering a wide range of options to suit your preferences. For red pizza wines, look for wines with moderate tannins and high freshness, such as Merlot, Chianti, Beaujolais, or young Pinot Noir. For white pizza wines, seek out crisp and fruity options like more complex Graševina, Malvasia, or Chablis. These wines can elevate your pizza experience and make every bite even more enjoyable.

What kind of wine goes with pizza?

When it comes to enjoying a delicious pizza, the delightful combination of tangy tomato sauce and rich cheese calls for a well-matched wine.

Whether you prefer traditional Margherita or a hearty meat lover’s pizza, choosing the right wine can enhance the flavors and take your meal to the next level.

For pizzas with a tomato-based sauce and cheesy toppings, red wines with a touch of freshness are an excellent choice. The acidity of these wines complements the sweet and tangy notes of the tomato sauce while balancing the richness of the cheese.

White wines with a good amount of freshness and a robust body can also be a great option for these kinds of pizzas.

If you’re indulging in a more elaborate pizza topped with smoky meats and savory sausages, consider pairing it with red wines that have a bit more body and depth while maintaining their refreshing quality. These wines can stand up to the bolder flavors of the meats and enhance the overall dining experience.

When pairing wines with pizza, it’s essential to strike a balance between the wine’s characteristics and the pizza’s toppings. The acidity in the wines helps cut through the richness of the cheese and meats, cleansing the palate and preparing it for the next delightful bite.

Red wines with moderate tannins and a touch of freshness can beautifully complement a wide range of pizzas. The tannins interact with the proteins in the cheese and meat, softening the overall taste and making for a harmonious pairing.

For white wine enthusiasts, opt for varieties like Chardonnay or Viognier, which possess both freshness and body. These wines can offer a delightful contrast to the flavors of the pizza, creating a balanced and enjoyable dining experience.

Remember, personal preferences play a significant role in wine pairing, so feel free to experiment with different combinations to find what suits your taste buds best.

Do you drink red or white wine with pizza?

When it comes to indulging in a delightful pizza, the age-old question of whether to pair it with red or white wine often leaves foodies and wine enthusiasts pondering.

Before we delve into the enological realm, let’s understand the essence of pizza.

Traditionally, a pizza comprises a thin crust adorned with a variety of toppings such as tangy tomato sauce, melting cheese, savory meats, and vibrant vegetables. The diverse flavors and textures of this Italian masterpiece create a harmonious symphony on the palate.

Red wine has long been associated with pizza, and for good reason! Its robust, fruit-forward character and tannins tend to complement the richness of pizza toppings.

For classic pizzas featuring meats like pepperoni, sausage, or salami, a medium-bodied red like Chianti, Barbera, or Merlot is an excellent choice. These wines bring out the smoky and savory flavors of the meats without overpowering the pizza’s essence.

Moreover, tomato-based pizzas, such as Margherita or Napoletana, are a natural fit for red wines. The acidity in the tomatoes works harmoniously with the wine’s tartness, creating a delightful balance. A light-bodied Beaujolais or a versatile Pinot Noir can work wonders with these tomato-based delights.

While red wine may be the conventional choice, white wine enthusiasts need not despair! White wine can be a delightful and unexpected pairing for certain types of pizzas, especially those with lighter, creamier, or seafood-based toppings.

For a pizza with a white sauce or featuring creamy cheeses like ricotta or mozzarella, consider a crisp and refreshing white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc or an unoaked Chardonnay. The wine’s bright acidity cuts through the richness of the cheese, offering a palate-cleansing sensation.

Furthermore, seafood pizzas like shrimp or crab, or even vegetarian options with artichokes and spinach, find an excellent partner in white wine. A dry Riesling or a Grüner Veltliner can amplify the pizza’s herbal notes and bring out the inherent sweetness of the seafood or vegetables.

Top 10 pizza types with wine pairing suggestions

Pizza is undoubtedly one of the most beloved and versatile dishes worldwide. Here, we present the top 10 pizza types, each with a perfect wine pairing suggestion to enhance your dining experience.

1. Best wine with pizza margherita

Image of pizza margherita
Photo: Pizza Margherita

This Italian masterpiece is adorned with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil, and a drizzle of olive oil.

For this simple yet flavorful pizza, try a medium-bodied red wine like Chianti Classico, or Barbera.

And when it comes to Croatian wine opt for Ante Sladić Plavina, Testament Babić, or Prgin Babić.

These reds offer a balanced acidity and a hint of cherry and plum notes that harmonize perfectly with the tomato sauce while cutting through the richness of the cheese.

2. Best wine with pepperoni pizza

Image of pepperoni pizza
Photo: Pepperoni pizza

For pizza enthusiasts who crave a bit of spice, a mouthwatering Pepperoni pizza is the way to go.

To balance the bold flavors of the spicy pepperoni, reach for a Sangiovese or a Zinfandel (in Croatia, where Zin originates, it goes by the name Crljenak, Tribidrag, and Pribidrag).

This fruity and robust reds wine will bring out the smokiness of the pepperoni and provide a delightful contrast that will leave your taste buds tingling.

3. Best wine with meat lover’s pizza

Image of meat lover's pizza
Photo: Meat lover’s pizza

Indulge in the flavors of a meat lover’s dream pizza with a generous selection of sausage, bacon, and ham.

To complement the hearty flavors, a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon is a perfect match.

The wine’s dark fruit notes and tannic structure will stand up to the richness of the meats and create a harmonious symphony of flavors.

4. Best wine with mushroom and truffle pizza

Image of truffle and mushroom white pizza with arugula
Photo credit: Urban Bakes, Truffle and mushroom white pizza with arugula

For the gourmet pizza enthusiasts, a Truffle and mushroom pizza is a sophisticated choice.

The earthy flavors of mushrooms and the luxurious essence of truffles call for a wine that won’t overpower the delicate nuances.

Enter Pinot Noir, a red wine known for its light to medium body, subtle red fruit notes, and earthy undertones, making it the perfect companion to this refined pizza.

5. Best wine with BBQ chicken pizza

Image of BBQ chicken pizza
Photo: BBQ chicken pizza

The smoky and tangy flavors of BBQ chicken pizza call for a wine that can hold its own.

Syrah or Shiraz fits the bill with its rich, spicy profile and notes of black pepper and blackberry.

The wine’s intensity will elevate the flavors of the pizza and create a tantalizing combination.

6. Best wine with hawaiian pizza

Image of Hawaiian pizza
Photo: Hawaiian pizza

Despite being a subject of debate among pizza purists, the Hawaiian pizza with its blend of sweet pineapple and savory ham is a delightful choice for many.

To complement the sweetness of the pineapple and the saltiness of the ham, opt for an off-dry Riesling.

This white wine’s fruity and floral notes will cut through the pizza’s flavors, creating a refreshing and balanced pairing.

7. Best wine with vegetarian pizza

Image of vegetarian pizza
Photo: Vegetarian pizza

For veggie lovers, a colorful vegetarian pizza loaded with fresh vegetables and herbs is a healthy and delicious option.

To match the pizza’s light and crisp flavors, choose a Sauvignon Blanc.

Its zesty acidity, herbal undertones, and citrusy notes will highlight the freshness of the vegetables, creating a delightful combination.

8. Best wine with white pizza or pizza bianca

Image of pizza bianca
Photo: Pizza bianca

White pizza, also known as Pizza Bianca, is a delightful departure from the traditional tomato sauce-based pizzas.

Its creamy and cheesy base pairs wonderfully with the effervescence of Prosecco, a sparkling north-Italian wine.

When it comes to Croatian bubblies, pair it with Enosophia Nice To See You, or Enosophia Today Blanc sparkling wine.

The wine’s lightness and fruitiness will complement the pizza’s richness, making it a match made in heaven.

9. Best wine with spicy sausage and jalapeno pizza

Image of spicy sausage and jalapeno pizza
Photo: Spicy sausage and jalapeno pizza

For the adventurous pizza eaters who enjoy a fiery kick, a spicy sausage and jalapeno pizza is a must-try.

To counterbalance the heat, opt for a bold and spicy Malbec. This Argentine red wine boasts dark fruit flavors, a velvety texture, and a hint of smokiness that will tame the spiciness and enhance the overall experience.

10. Best wine with pizza napoletana

Image of pizza napoletana
Photo: Pizza napoletana

Originating from Naples, this traditional pizza is crafted using a few essential ingredients: San Marzano tomatoes, Fior di Latte or buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and yeast-leavened dough.

The result is a simple yet divine masterpiece – a crispy, chewy crust with the perfect balance of flavors.

The joy of pizza napoletana lies in its simplicity and respect for quality ingredients.

When pairing wine with this iconic dish, remember to prioritize balance, simplicity, and regionality.

Whether you opt for a classic Chianti, a sparkling Lambrusco, a lively Falanghina, a robust Aglianico, or a versatile rosé, the key is to savor each bite and sip, letting the flavors dance harmoniously on your palate.


Pairing the right wine with your pizza can take your dining experience to new heights.

Whether you prefer classic combinations or want to explore unique and adventurous pairings, these top pizza wines pairings are sure to elevate your pizza feast.

So, the next time you enjoy a delicious slice of pizza, consider uncorking a bottle of wine to unlock a world of delightful flavors.


Our Expertise

Valentina Silovic is an experienced sommelier and content creator with over a decade of expertise in the wine industry. She has worked in various settings, from luxurious hotels to cozy wine bars, and has explored the grandest wineries in Croatia, tasting and discussing an uncountable number of bottles along the way.

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