National Pizza Day (February 9) is one of my favorite holidays (right behind Christmas and these other wine-related holidays). Of course, you don't have to wait until this national holiday to pick up a pizza (and pair it with some great wine).
Every Saturday night at my house it is a tradition that we have family pizza night. Over the years we have changed where we get it, but we tend to stick with the same things. We always get one pizza with pepperoni and black olives and then one less traditional pizza. Our less traditional pizzas have ranged from a Herb Chicken Mediterranean Pizza from Papa Murphy's to our latest Porky the Pie Pizza from Hotbox.
But Saturday night is also the best night of the week for my husband and I to kick back and relax. Staying home watching movies, it is the perfect chance to open a bottle of wine. We are always looking for the perfect wines to pair with the pizzas. Everyone else may think that beer goes with pizza, but for wine lovers, that isn't an option.
I've done some research (and taste testing) and found some great suggestions for people like us who love both wine and pizza. What do you think? Are you up for some wine and pizza pairings?
Sometimes it is easiest to start with the wine if you are a fan of certain types of wine and work backward. The sauce (red or white) and the toppings are what will help you find the best matches.
Your best bet with most pizzas is going to be red wine because of the tomato sauce. Depending on the types of meet and cheese that you have on the pizza, you can go with different red wines.
Chianti is a popular choice with all red-based Italian foods, so it is usually a safe bet. It makes a nice basic pairing with a Margherita.
Zinfandel is a a read that most red drinkers love and would be perfect with pepperoni pizza. Pretty much any pizza with meat would go well with Zinfandel.
Pinot Noir is a perfect match for pizzas with mushrooms. It's too bad that I love Pinot Noir but hate mushrooms! So I pair Pinot Noir with just about any red sauced pizza that I order. Pinot Noir can also pair with a white sauce pizza.
Sangiovese just sounds like it would go with pizza, right? It's a great Italian wine that will help cut through strong meat flavors on a pizza. You'll find some nice blends made with Sangiovese.
Barbera is one of my personal favorite reds with pizzas. It's very versatile and good for a crowd with varied tastes.
Lambrusco is a top pick of many sommeliers when it comes to pizza. A slightly sparkling red wine can help make the meal feel less heavy.
White wine tends to be a little bit harder to pair with wine. If you want to drink white wine with your pizza, consider ordering a pizza with white sauce. That's part of the reason we were hooked on the Herb Mediterranean Chicken for so long!
Pinot Grigio pairs well with a lot of foods, particularly pizza with white sauces. It's also a nice match for a thin crust Margherita pizza.
Chardonnay is another wine that goes with pizzas that have a creamy white sauce. Chardonnay can also pair with your basic red sauced cheese pizza.
Riesling will pair well with Hawaiian pizza–the one with the pineapple and bacon in it.
Can Champagne or other sparkling wines pair with pizza? You bet! If you are a fan of both Champagne and pizza, you owe it to yourself to try it at least once. Stick with a thinner crust and fewer heavy toppings to keep the pairing simple.
As with all food and wine pairings, it really comes down to what YOU like best. While pairing the right wine with your food can certainly help bring out different flavors to make you enjoy both of them more, it still comes down to personal preference.