3 Unique Wine & Pizza Pairings That You'll Love

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Oh pizza, how I love you so. You’re one of my favorite foods and you know it.

Whether we need it after a long week, scarf it down while watching a big game, or enjoy it during a lengthy Netflix binge, pizza holds a special place in many of our hungry hearts. 

Pizza and wine go together like peanut butter and jelly...like Bieber and tattoos...like Buffalo Bills fans and unwavering hope. The various flavor profiles that wines can exhibit complement many of the different toppings that can end up on your pie.

Below I’ve come up with three unique pizza and wine pairings that I think you’ll love.

Four Cheese Pizza & Gamay

Gamay is like Steve Martin—it’s extremely versatile. Because of its low tannin, low alcohol, and high acidic profile, Gamay can pair well with just about any food. It’s light and approachable, yet expressive and complex at the same time. It’s an awesome food-pairing wine.

The reason I like cheese pizza and Gamay so much is because the cherry and raspberry flavors of the wine match well with the tomato sauce, while the acid cuts through the residual oil and flavors of the pecorino, parmesan, mozzarella and fontina cheeses.

I particularly enjoy Gamay wines from Fleurie, a commune in the Beaujolais region just south of Burgundy. If you can find a 2013 Barbet Fleurie Chateau de Fleurie, buy it. You’ll love it.

Pepperoni Pizza & Albarino

There are a lot of red wines that pair well with pizzas topped with cured meats. The go-to, typical pairing for pepperoni pizza is a medium-bodied Italian red like Sangiovese or Montepulciano. Those work very well but we don’t want to pair like everyone else, right?

Here’s a weird one for you to try next time you order pepperoni on your pizza: pick up a bottle of Albarino. This white wine’s high acidity and sweet aromas help it stand up to spicy pepperoni or salami, but the two never clash. Take a bite of the pizza and immediately refresh your palate with a few swigs of the Albarino. It’s a really nice pairing.  

I tasted a 2013 Adega Pombal Arcan Albarino that I encourage you to seek out for this delicious experiment. It’s thin, fruity, acidic, and refreshing—a perfect pal to the pepperoni pie (Say that five times fast). 

Veggie Pizza & Gruner Veltliner

You can put just about any combination of vegetables on bread and melted cheese and they’ll taste great. But let’s say you order a standard veggie pizza with tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, olives, and mushrooms...

If you haven’t heard of or tasted Gruner Veltliner before, check it out. I hadn’t tasted it before until recently. Head over to the Central Europe section of your wine store and look for it. Gruner Veltliner is a dry, acidic, fruit-forward varietal that grows almost exclusively in Austria. 

With all those vegetables on top of your pizza, you’re going to want to drink a wine that is crisp and can hold up to all the dominant, aromatic flavors the veggies bring to your tongue: earthy tones from the bell peppers and mushrooms, salty tones from the olives, and the sweet and savory tones from the tomatoes and onions. Gruner Veltliner is up to the challenge.

If you read this and taste Gruner Veltliner for the first time, shoot me an email at sam@sambrenner.com and let me know what you think.

Last Bit of Advice

Don’t overthink pairing your foods and wines. It can be a ton of fun if you just relax and enjoy the whole experience. Try a bunch of different pairings, don’t be afraid to get it wrong every once and awhile, and take note of the combinations that work best for you. 

Thanks so much for reading. Let me know what your favorite pizza & wine pairings are in the comments.