Without a doubt, pizza is one of the world’s most popular meals. People all around the world love the Italian dish, and many have created their own variations. While it’s common to enjoy it with beer or soft drinks, it’s absolutely possible to create delicious pizza and wine pairings.

The best wine to pair with pizza is a Chianti from the Lombardy region in Italy. The red wine has enough acidity to cut through the dough and the cheese and delicious fruity and earthy notes to match the tomato sauce. It is not too bold, though, so it won’t overpower the meal.

Of course, there are other wines that are similarly good, and in some cases, even better. The best pizza and wine combination depends on the toppings of the pizza. In the following paragraphs, we will discuss the most popular combinations in detail.

What Is Pizza?

Pizza is an Italian dish which has a history of hundreds of years. Traditionally, it has a round base of wheat-dough, coated with tomato sauce and cheese and topped with a wide variety of ingredients. After baking in the oven at a high temperature, pizza is a crunchy, somewhat savory meal. While the tomato sauce adds fruitiness and a bit of acidity, the final flavor profile depends on the toppings.

How to Pair Pizza and Wine

In general, pizza goes with red wine. A wine with aromas of red or black fruits works very well with the fruity tomato sauce. To stand up to the savory dough and the cheese, decent levels of tannins and acidity are necessary. So, as a rule of thumb, a medium-bodied fruity red wine is a good choice.

However, the toppings can create the need to adjust the wine pairing. Especially fatty meats like pepperoni can call for bolder wines. And when choosing lighter or no additional toppings, white and rosé wines might become an option. In the following paragraphs, we’ll discuss the best wines to match the most popular pizza preparations.

Pizza Margherita and Wine

Pizza Margherita is the simplest type of pizza. With tomato sauce, Mozzarella cheese, and basil, it’s a light and fruity variation of the famous Italian dish.

The best wine to match these flavors is an Old World dry rosé with decent acidity. It’s similarly light and fresh like the pizza and helps bring out its rather subtle flavors without being too dominant. French rosé wines from the Provence tend to be good matches:

La Bernarde Cotes de Provence Rose Les Hauts de Luc 2020

  • type: rosé, still, Vintage
  • origin: France, Provence
  • varietal: Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvedre, Rolle, Syrah
  • alcohol: 12.5%

Fleur de Mer Rose 2020

  • type: rosé, still, Vintage
  • origin: France, Provence
  • varietal: Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache
  • alcohol: 13.0%

Mirabeau Cotes de Provence Rose 2020

  • type: rosé, still, Vintage
  • origin: France, Provence
  • varietal: Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah
  • alcohol: 13.0%

If you are a white wine lover, you can also choose a Pinot Grigio. Sweeter variations from France don’t match the pizza’s flavor profile. So make sure to pick a dry Italian style from the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region or the Trentino-Alto Adige region:

Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio 2020

  • type: white, still, dry, Vintage
  • origin: Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige
  • varietal: Pinot Gris
  • alcohol: 12.5%

Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio 2019

  • type: white, still, dry, Vintage
  • origin: Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige
  • varietal: Pinot Gris
  • alcohol: 12.5%

Schiopetto Pinot Grigio 2018

  • type: white, still, dry, Vintage
  • origin: Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia
  • varietal: Pinot Gris
  • alcohol: 13.0%

Pepperoni Pizza and Wine

One of the most popular toppings for pizza is pepperoni. This soft type of salami typically is a fatty mix of pork and beef seasoned with pepper and chili. It adds smoky and salty aromas and makes the pizza significantly bolder.

To match this meal, you need a wine that can stand the fatty pepperoni. For a consistent Italian experience, choose a Sangiovese wine. Especially young Chiantis are excellent pairings for Pepperoni pizza. The fruity and earthy notes of these DOCG wines from the Tuscany region complement its flavors superbly. They have significant levels of acidity and tannin to cut through the fatty meat. But they aren’t too bold to overpower the pizza.

Pizza Pepperoni

Pizza Pepperoni

These Chiantis are worth trying with your Pizza Pepperoni:

Tiamo Chianti 2019

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: Tuscany, Italy
  • varietal: Sangiovese
  • alcohol: 13.0%

Da Vinci Chianti 2020

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: Tuscany, Italy
  • varietal: Sangiovese, Merlot
  • alcohol: 13.5%

Santa Cristina by Antinori Chianti Superiore 2017

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: Tuscany, Italy
  • varietal: Sangiovese
  • alcohol: 13.0%

Prosciutto Pizza and Wine

Another classical meat topping for pizza is Italian Prosciutto. Prosciutto is a cured type of ham from the city of Parma in the Emilia-Romagna region. It offers a rich combination of salty and subtle sweet flavors. Some kinds of Prosciutto also add herbal notes because they were seasoned with pepper, rosemary, and similar herbs.

The right pairing for Prosciutto pizza is a medium- to full-bodied red wine. On the one hand, it should have a decent level of acidity to stand the ham. But on the other hand, it shouldn’t be too heavy, so especially the ham’s subtle sweet notes can shine. Brunello wines have these characteristics, so they are excellent matches. Alternatively, you can also rely on the formerly mentioned Chianti to make a fantastic Prosciutto pizza and wine pairing.

Try one of these bottles:

La Magia Brunello di Montalcino 2016

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: Tuscany, Italy
  • varietal: Sangiovese
  • alcohol: 15.0%

Val di Suga Brunello di Montalcino 2016

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: Tuscany, Italy
  • varietal: Sangiovese
  • alcohol: 14.0%

Col d'Orcia Brunello di Montalcino 2015

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: Tuscany, Italy
  • varietal: Sangiovese
  • alcohol: 14.5%

Pizza Hawaii and Wine

Hawaiian pizza might be the most controversial variation of pizza that you can come across. People either love or hate it for its composition of salty ham and sweet pineapple. Although Pizza Hawaii isn’t as fatty as pepperoni or sausage pizza, it’s quite rich in taste.

The right pairing for this interesting dish is an off-dry to semi-sweet white wine. Wines with these characteristics complement the pizza’s flavors perfectly. Be aware that acidity is critical to cut through the meat. A German Riesling fulfills all of these requirements. You have to select carefully, though, because many German Rieslings are completely dry, and those wouldn’t be a great match. Instead of Riesling, you can also try a French Vouvray. Here are some recommendations:

Domaine Huet Vouvray Sec Le Haut Lieu 2019

  • type: white, still, Vintage
  • origin: Loire, France
  • varietal: Chenin Blanc
  • alcohol: 13.0%

Marc Bredif Vouvray 2019

  • type: white, still, Vintage
  • origin: Loire, France
  • varietal: Chenin Blanc
  • alcohol: 13.0%

Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux 2020

  • type: white, still, Vintage
  • origin: Loire, France
  • varietal: Chenin Blanc
  • alcohol: 13.0%

Rebholz Von Rotliegenden Riesling Trocken 2020

  • type: white, still, Vintage
  • origin: Pfalz, Germany
  • varietal: Riesling
  • alcohol: 12.0%

Burklin-Wolf Pfalz Estate Riesling Trocken 2020

  • type: white, still, Vintage
  • origin: Pfalz, Germany
  • varietal: Riesling
  • alcohol: 12.0%

Von Winning Deidesheimer Paradiesgarten Riesling Erste Lage Trocken 2020

  • type: white, still, Vintage
  • origin: Pfalz, Germany
  • varietal: Riesling
  • alcohol: 12.0%

In case you like sparkling wine, there are some more delicious options for you. Try dry Prosecco or a sweet Lambrusco. Both come from Italy and match Pizza Hawaii very well. Here are some sparklers to try:

Cinzano Prosecco

  • type: white, sparkling
  • origin: Veneto, Italy
  • varietal: Glera
  • alcohol: 11.0%

Ca' Furlan Prosecco

  • type: white, sparkling
  • origin: Veneto, Italy
  • varietal: Glera
  • alcohol: 11.0%

Fantinel One and Only Prosecco Brut 2017

  • type: white, sparkling, Vintage
  • origin: Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
  • varietal: Glera
  • alcohol: 12.0%

Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco Di Sorbara Vecchia Modena 2020

  • type: red, sparkling, Vintage
  • origin: Emilia-Romagna, Italy​
  • varietal: Lambrusco
  • alcohol: 11.0%

Bertolani Lambrusco Dolce

  • type: red, sparkling
  • origin: Emilia-Romagna, Italy​
  • varietal: Lambrusco
  • alcohol: 12.0%

Venturini Baldini Marchese Manodori Lambrusco

  • type: red, sparkling
  • origin: Emilia-Romagna, Italy​
  • varietal: Lambrusco
  • alcohol: 12.0%

Seafood Pizza and Wine

Seafood is not everybody’s cup of coffee. But some people love their pizza with anchovy, clams, prawns, or shrimps. While these ingredients don’t taste exactly the same, they share an intense salty note. In many cases, they are combined with garlic (or garlic oil), adding another dominant flavor to the mix that makes seafood pizzas special.

To match seafood pizza, you need a strong wine. Otherwise, it will be overpowered by the salty and pungent aromas. Actually, seafood pizza is one of the very few pizzas that you can enjoy with a bold red wine. Consider a Rioja or a Syrah:

Jean-Louis Chave Selection Saint-Joseph Offerus 2018

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: France, Rhône Valley
  • varietal: Syrah
  • alcohol: 13.5%

Jaboulet Crozes Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert 2019

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: France, Rhône Valley
  • varietal: Syrah
  • alcohol: 15.0%

M. Chapoutier Ermitage Le Pavillon 2006

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: France, Rhône Valley
  • varietal: Syrah
  • alcohol: 13.0%

La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904 Tinto 2011

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: Spain, Rioja
  • varietal: Tempranillo
  • alcohol: 13.5%

La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva 2012

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: Spain, Rioja
  • varietal: Tempranillo
  • alcohol: 14.5%

Torre de Ona by La Rioja Alta Reserva Finca Martelo 2014

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: Spain, Rioja
  • varietal: Mazuelo, Tempranillo
  • alcohol: 14.5%

Vegetarian Pizza and Wine

Vegetarian Pizza with Tomatoes, Onions, and other Toppings

Vegetarian Pizza

As vegetarian food becomes more and more popular, you can find many pizzas without meat toppings. Some are very light with ingredients such as spinach, arugula, or tomatoes. Others are a bit bolder, featuring roasted eggplants or artichokes. Depending on the toppings, vegetarian pizzas can differ perceivably in terms of boldness and flavors. So consider carefully which pizza and wine pairs you pick.

In general, it’s best to match veggie pizza with wine on the white side. Sauvignon Blanc is a great choice. Especially for pizzas with green toppings, the fresh citrus flavors of this wine are a delicious match. Another wine with comparable characteristics is Verdejo:

Shaya Habis Old Vines Verdejo 2018

  • type: white, still, Vintage
  • origin: Spain, Rueda
  • varietal: Verdejo
  • alcohol: 13.5%

Marques de Caceres Verdejo 2020

  • type: white, still, Vintage
  • origin: Spain, Rueda
  • varietal: Verdejo
  • alcohol: 13.5%

Bodegas Vatan Nisia Verdejo 2018

  • type: white, still, Vintage
  • origin: Spain, Rueda
  • varietal: Verdejo
  • alcohol: 13.5%

For a more savory veggie pizza, you might prefer a red wine like Cabernet Franc. This medium-bodied red wine has just enough acidity and tannins to deal with fleshy roasted vegetables and also with tasteful types of cheese. And its aromas of red fruits, bell peppers, and herbs work perfectly with the pizza. As New World Cabernet Franc tends to be a bit too bold to pair with vegetables, better pick a wine from France or another European Country:

Domaine Dozon Chinon Clos du Saut au Loup 2019

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: France, Loire Valley
  • varietal: Cabernet Franc
  • alcohol: 14.0%

Bernard Baudry Chinon La Croix Boissee 2018

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: France, Loire Valley
  • varietal: Cabernet Franc
  • alcohol: 13.0%

Thierry Germain Saumur Champigny La Marginale 2019

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: France, Loire Valley
  • varietal: Cabernet Franc
  • alcohol: 13.5%

Greek Pizza and Wine

Greek pizza comes with a wide variety of toppings. Fruity cherry tomatoes, tangy red onions and bell peppers, salty olives, crunchy pine nuts, and creamy feta cheese create a unique flavor composition. This pizza typically has a thin crust flavored with lots of olive oil, distinguishing it notably from Italian pizza.

Greek pizza is vegetarian as well. But because of its numerous intense ingredients, you need to rethink your pizza and wine pairing. The wine must be able to stand the salty and pungent aromas. For that, it needs a high level of acidity. Dry New World rosé wines from the United States have exactly what it needs. Especially wines with red fruit aromas add superbly to the flavor mix. Try one of these bottles:

Joel Gott Rose 2020

  • type: rosé, still, Vintage
  • origin: United States, California
  • varietal: Cinsault, Counoise, Grenache, Mourvèdre
  • alcohol: 13.5%

Chateau Ste. Michelle Rose 2020

  • type: rosé, still, Vintage
  • origin: United States, Washington State
  • varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah 
  • alcohol: 13.0%

WillaKenzie Estate Rose 2019

  • type: rosé, still, Vintage
  • origin: United States, Oregon
  • varietal: Pinot Blanc, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir
  • alcohol: 13.0%

Another wine to match with Greek pizza is Merlot. Its intense aromas of red and black fruit are fantastic when combined with the spicy and salty pizza flavors. While its acidity and tannins are strong enough to stand the cheese, they are not too dominant.

Gaja Ca'Marcanda Promis 2019

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: Italy, Tuscany
  • varietal: Merlot, Sangiovese, Syrah
  • alcohol: 13.5%

Tenuta Guado al Tasso Cont'Ugo 2019

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: Italy, Tuscany
  • varietal: Merlot
  • alcohol: 14.5%

Le Macchiole Messorio 2017

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: Italy, Tuscany
  • varietal: Merlot
  • alcohol: 14.5%

Mushroom Pizza and Wine

Mushrooms are popular add-ons for many types of pizzas, and sometimes they are the main topping. Button mushrooms are the most common choice, but many people also like truffles or porcini. Of course, mushrooms are vegetarian-friendly, although they add a special earthy fleshiness, comparable to lean meats. That fleshiness creates a much richer eating experience.

When searching for a pairing for mushroom pizza, look for a wine that features similar earthy notes. It should have some tannins, but they shouldn’t be too aggressive. Many Pinot Noir wines from California belong to this category. They deliciously combine earthy and fruity aromas and often add herbal notes to the bouquet as well. Try one of these wines:

Joseph Phelps Freestone Vineyards Pinot Noir 2019

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: United States, California
  • varietal: Pinot Noir
  • alcohol: 14.0%

Belle Glos Las Alturas Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: United States, California
  • varietal: Pinot Noir
  • alcohol: 15.0%

DuMOL Wester Reach Pinot Noir 2019

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: United States, California
  • varietal: Pinot Noir
  • alcohol: 14.0%

A white wine that matches mushroom pizza is Chardonnay. Especially the dry, oaked wines from the French Burgundy region are excellent pairings:

Joseph Drouhin Macon Villages 2019

  • type: white, still, Vintage
  • origin: Burgundy, France
  • varietal: Chardonnay
  • alcohol: 13.0%

Bouchard Pere & Fils Meursault (Domaine) 2017

  • type: white, still, Vintage
  • origin: Burgundy, France
  • varietal: Chardonnay
  • alcohol: 13.5%

Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles Premier Cru 2018

  • type: white, still, Vintage
  • origin: Burgundy, France
  • varietal: Chardonnay
  • alcohol: 13.0%

White Pizza and Wine

While a red tomato-based sauce is a crucial ingredient for original Italian pizza, white pizza is made without it. Instead, it has a layer of garlic oil and three types of cheese: Mozzarella, Grana Padano, and Ricotta, an Italian cream cheese. Various herbs such as oregano, rosemary, and thyme complete the dish.

Without tomatoes, white pizza is significantly less acidic than traditional pizza.  To create a great white pizza and wine pairing, consider a Carignan. With its high acidity, this red wine can cut through the cheese, and its rich fruit flavors complement the pizza’s herbal notes very well. These Californian wines are good picks:

Ramble Buddha's Dharma Vineyard Carignan 2019

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: California, United States
  • varietal: Carignan
  • alcohol: 12.0%

Railsback Freres Cuvee Speciale Le Carignan 2019

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: California, United States
  • varietal: Carignan
  • alcohol: 12.9%

Precedent Mule Plane Vineyard Carignan 2017

  • type: white, still, Vintage
  • origin: California, United States
  • varietal: Carignan
  • alcohol: 12.5%

For white wine lovers, a Chablis Grand Cru Chardonnay from the Burgundy region in France is a great alternative. These rich, buttery wines provide just the right mixture of a medium to full body, fruity aromas, and mineral notes. They are rather expensive but definitely worth trying:

Domaine Drouhin Vaudon Chablis 2020

  • type: white, still, Vintage
  • origin: Burgundy, France
  • varietal: Chardonnay
  • alcohol: 12.5%

Brocard Vau de Vey Chablis Premier Cru 2019

  • type: white, still, Vintage
  • origin: Burgundy, France
  • varietal: Chardonnay
  • alcohol: 14.5%

William Fevre Chablis Vaudesir Grand Cru 2018

  • type: white, still, Vintage
  • origin: Burgundy, France
  • varietal: Chardonnay
  • alcohol: 13.0%

BBQ Chicken Pizza and Wine

Just like white pizza, barbeque chicken pizza differs significantly from traditional Italian pizza. The main reason is the sauce: Instead of a tomato sauce, the dough gets covered with barbeque sauce that combines smoky and sweet flavors. The main topping is cooked chicken breast, which is a light type of meat. Other typical toppings are red onions that add some subtle spiciness, cheese, and several herbs.

To avoid overpowering this flavor profile, you should stay away from wines with firm tannins. A light- to medium-bodied red wine with fruity flavors is an excellent pairing, though. Try, for instance, a Pinot Noir or an Italian Dolcetto. Some full-bodied wines that aren’t too high in tannins like Malbec can be a good alternative, too:

Crocus L'Atelier Malbec de Cahors 2018

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: France, Southwest France
  • varietal: Malbec
  • alcohol: 14.5%

Cosse et Maisonneuve Cahors Solis Malbec 2018

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: France, Southwest France
  • varietal: Malbec
  • alcohol: 14.5%

Chateau Du Caillau Cahors 2019

  • type: red, still, Vintage
  • origin: France, Southwest France
  • varietal: Malbec
  • alcohol: 13.5%

Alternatively, try a rosé wine. You have to go for the bolder styles from New World wine countries such as the United States, though. Old World rosé tends to be too light to match BBQ chicken pizza. Zinfandel rosé from California is a fantastic option.

Final Words

With the numerous variations of pizza, it’s not easy to find the perfect wine pairing. But with the information from this article, you are prepared for your Italian dinner night. Feel free to do some experimenting to find your perfect pizza and wine match.