Pairing Wine With Your Favorite Gourmet Pizza
Originating in Italy, pizza is a dish consisting of a bread base, often covered with tomato sauce and cheese, and baked in the oven. Despite tradition, there are now so many types of pizza that the name can actually be attributed to virtually anything you want.
However, a handmade pizza, made entirely of fresh ingredients and served soon after being finished in a wood-fired oven, is undoubtedly an extraordinary dish, capable of going well with almost every wine. Let’s not get stuck in the “pizza e birra in compagnia” cliché: in this article I intend to address, in a necessarily succinct manner, but as comprehensively as possible, the possible pairings of pizza and wine.
Since there are endless types of pizza, it seems appropriate to try to define the ideal wine pairings according to the characters of both the dish and the wines to go with it. The character of the dish is defined by a few key ingredients like cheese, protein, and vegetables. The character of the wine, though influenced by a multitude of natural and human factors, is essentially defined by the producer, when he decides what he will do with his fruit: the choice of grape varieties, pruning in the vineyard, maceration times, wood ageing and so on.
The basic principle is that the more intense, robustly flavored the pizza is, the more assertive the wine to pair it with. Light pizzas, such as Marinara and those topped with white cheese and vegetables usually go well with sparkling or clean, simple white wines, with good acidity and most often unoaked. Here is a caveat: if the pizza is focused on Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, or in asparagus or artichoke, the sulfur compounds present can make wine taste metallic. In these cases, it’s a good idea to pair by approximation, joining the green to the green: with young, crisp Sauvignon Blanc.