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August 31, 2017 | By RJS Craft Winemaking

Pizza and Wine Pairings: Let the Sauce Guide You!

Pizza and wine go hand in hand, but when it comes to choosing the perfect wine to complement your favourite pizza, do you know which wine to turn to?

There are almost as many (if not more) pizza toppings and styles, than there are wine varietals… so finding the perfect pairing can be a daunting task! Most often than not, wines derived from Sangiovese such as Chianti, are a classic go-to pizza pairing; but there are other pairing options that the RJS Craft Winemaking team wanted to recommend you try! We’ve broken out the recommended wine pairings by pizza type and explained why the pairings will work best.

Pizza Rossa (Tomato-based Sauce)

Pizza types: Margherita, deluxe, cheese

Wine Type: Light Red

Recommended winesCru Select Italy Style Sangiovese, En Primeur Winery Series Australia Pinot Noir

As a general rule for pizzas based with a tomato sauce (pizza rossa), the emphasis is on red. If your pizza has only a few toppings, such as a pizza Margherita, deluxe or a peperoni pizza; it is recommended to opt for a simple wine, so as not to dominate the flavours of the dish. The acidity of the tomato sauce will echo that of the sangiovese and be a delightful marriage between the flavours of the wine and the pizza.

Pizza Rosa with Heavy Garnishing

Pizza types: Meat lovers, Hawaiian

Wine Type: Rich Red

Recommended wines: En Primeur Winery Series Italy Super Tuscan, En Primeur Winery Series Italy Rosso Grande Eccellente, En Primeur Winery Series Italy Amarone, En Primeur Winery Series Italy Valpola

If you like your pizza with loads of toppings like meats (sausages, bacon, etc.) and other garnishes, we recommend pairing it with a wine that is able to support all these flavours without fading. In this case, you should look for an opulent and rich wine that will offer a pleasant complexity, such as a blend of Italian and international grape varieties.

Pizza Bianca (white sauce based)

Pizza types: Grilled chicken, garlic and spinach, zucchini and sausage

Wine Type: Light to Medium White

Recommended wines: En Primeur Winery Series Chile Chardonnay, En Primeur Winery Series Italy Pinot Grigio

Pizza bianca or white pizza – a pizza that generally has no sauce and is typically covered in ricotta and mozzarella; it might also be topped with garlic, vegetables, clams or Alfredo/bechamel sauce. This pizza tends to be rich and slightly heavy signaling that a white wine would make for an ideal pairing. Some prefer a round and creamy white wine to enhance the creaminess of the sauce, while others prefer a light and crisp white wine to cleanse the palate and lighten the rich feel of the white sauce. An example of an opulent white wine, would be a Chardonnay wooded in warm climate, such as our Chardonnay Chile from the En Primeur range or our Chardonnay style from Australia from the Cru Select family. In this type of Chardonnay, the wine evokes flavours of ripe fruits such as yellow apple, peach, lemon meringue, and many others. This richness coats the mouth and blends perfectly with the pizza. If you are looking for a wine that cleanses your palate between mouthfuls, you can opt for our refreshing Pinot Grigio from Italy. The acidity of the wine will settle with the pizza, and you will be ready for another bite!

Pesto Pizza 

Wine Type: Light White

Recommended wines: En Primeur Winery Series Italy Pinot Grigio

For pizzas that use pesto instead of a tomato sauce, we recommend pairing them with an iconic Italian wine, Pinot Grigio.  This wine will complement the light, herbal, vegetable flavours topping the pizza and won’t overpower them. The wine’s crisp acidity will also refresh and cleanse your palate between bites!

BBQ Chicken Pizza 

Wine Type: Medium Red

Recommended wines: Cru Select Chile Style Malbec

BBQ chicken pizza is sweet and savoury. To balance the flavours of the wine and this pizza, we recommend a Malbec – a fruity red. This wine’s bouquet of dark fruits with subtle hints of oak, vanilla, and spices will bring out the flavours of BBQ in the pizza and make for a delicious combination.

As you can see from our pairings, using the sauce and toppings to guide you in making your wine pairings is the best first step – if the pizza is high in acidity opt for a simple red, if the pizza is rich and heavy, pair it with a crisp white to refresh your palate! Don’t forget to have fun and try new combinations – it will certainly elevate your typical pizza night. 😉

Share with us in the comments your favourite wine and pizza pairings.

Bon appétit and cheers!

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