The Best Wine To Drink With Any Type Of Pizza

Pizza may be the perfect food for many people, but finding the perfect wines to pair with it isn't always easy. After all, the dish can be enjoyed both hot and cold, at any meal, and with a disparate array of toppings, opening it up to a good number of pairing options.

That being said, there are some expert ideas that can help you find the right fit. Catherine Falls, Master Sommelier at Bright Cellars (and only the fifth woman ever to achieve the Master Sommelier title) shared some ideas with Food Republic. According to Falls, it's best to start with the basics of pizza to find good wine pairings. 

While pizza may have a lot of potential toppings, it invariably begins with a base of tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, along with a chewy crust. The salty, sometimes sweet, and rich flavors associated with these ingredients, in general, go well with "light, crisp, and dry whites, as well as light, delicately spicy, and even tart reds that cleanse the palate and encourage another bite," she says.

Falls also believes these accommodating wine styles can further be mined for specific selections based on the kind of pizza you like best — whether it's meat-lover style pies with sausage, pepperoni, or bacon toppings, or those that are cheesier or feature more vegetarian fare.

The best red wines to pair with pizza

Not every wine type will pair well with pizza. Bigger, bolder reds like Cabernet Sauvignon are typically not recommended, for example, because their tannins don't mesh well with the acidity in tomato sauce. As a general rule, white wines are a better fit with pizza bianco-style pies — while rosé or light red wines like Pinot Noir are a good complement to pizzas with tomato-based sauces.

One of Catherine Falls' favorite wines to pair with pizza is the Cactus Park Paso Robles Pinot Noir 2020. This tart red wine, with its fruitiness and earthy mushroom notes, seems as if it were custom-created as an accompaniment to mushroom pizzas. As well, wines made from Pinot Noir grapes are often noted for their elegant versatility, and this one is no exception, especially when it comes to pairing it with cheese and meaty toppings like ham. So if you're someone who prefers pizza with ham and mushrooms, this is the absolute perfect wine to choose. 

Falls is also a fan of Orlan Cellars Garnacha Spain 2021. This smooth yet slightly spicy Spanish red would be a terrific complement to a pizza showcasing sausage, peppers, and onions. But the wine is also full-bodied enough to stand up to pork and pies featuring herbs, such as the basil-forward Neapolitan-style margherita pizza or even a pie topped with roasted vegetables.

The best white wines to pair with pizza

White wines mesh more naturally with pizzas that eschew a tomato sauce – or use a white sauce as an alternative — but the toppings, too, should be an important consideration when choosing your pairings. 

For those who prefer vegetable-oriented pizza toppings, and like white wines, Master Sommelier Catherine Falls has the perfect pairing partner: Silverscape Chenin Blanc Clarksburg 2022. Chenin Blanc is a grape noted for its honeyed minerality and fruit-forward flavors, and this California selection has all of these signature attributes and more. It has a biscuity, shortbread flavor that's the perfect foil to a pizza's chewy crust — while its honeyed quality matches up well with even sweeter vegetable toppings like butternut squash.

Chenin Blanc isn't the only white wine that goes well with veggie-topped pizzas, it should be noted. Sauvignon Blanc is also an apt pairing partner. For a Hawaiian-style pie topped with ham and pineapple, meanwhile, a white wine like Riesling is often a surprisingly good choice.