Choosing what wine to pair with pizza is like choosing what Eagles song to play while cruising around in a drop-top– you can analyze it a bunch of different ways, but there’s really no way to go wrong. That’s because a big part of what makes pizza delicious - acid and salt - also makes it quite wine-friendly. But while you’ll be happy with pretty much any high-acid red wine, here are a few that’ll land like “Life In The Fast Lane.”
Côtes du Rhône
Folding a slice of pizza while partially blocking foot traffic on the sidewalk is a NYC rite of passage. It’s a simple, highly enjoyable activity, which should be accompanied by a simple, highly enjoyable wine like Cotes du Rhone. If there’s a red wine to drink out of a red Solo cup, this is the one -- don’t feel bad about it.
Ideal Pizza Style: Plain Cheese
Ideal Wine: Jean-Louis Chave Selection, 'Mon Coeur' Côtes-du-Rhône 2018
Barbera has a lot of acidity, and it’s low in tannins. That combination makes it a great complement to pizza, and a consistent crowd-pleaser, especially given the fact that it’s affordable.
Ideal Pizza Style: Margherita
Ideal Wine: Castello di Verduno, Barbera d'Alba 2019
Central & Southern Italian Reds
When it comes to food and wine pairing, a good rule of thumb is to choose wine from the same place the food comes from. And despite what New Yorkers might lead you to believe, that doesn’t mean pairing pizza with wine from Long Island. It means choosing wines from Central and Southern Italy, where people have been drinking Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, nero d’Avola, and sangiovese since a time when calling “Neapolitan-style” was just called “pizza.”
Ideal Pizza Style: Pepperoni
Ideal Wine: Tiberio, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2018
If you’re dead set on not drinking white wine with pizza, then we’d say that’s a pretty strange thing to feel so passionately about. We’d also say that while you can substitute this recommendation with pinot noir, you really should let the creamy, buttery notes in chardonnay match the same ones in a ricotta-topped white pie. And if you go for a white clam pizza, then try Etna Bianco.
Ideal Pizza Style: White Pie
Ideal Wine: Walter Scott, 'La Combe Verte' Chardonnay Willamette Valley 2018