You’ll think twice before ordering a beer when the next pizza night rolls around.

Turn up to any pizzeria in Italy, take a peek at the tables around you, and your fellow diners are most likely to be enjoying a beer alongside their wood-fired meal. Wine is seldom served with pizza in Italy, but – when chosen thoughtfully – can be a true complement for the famous Italian dish.

How to pair pizza and wine?

When it comes to matching pizza with wine, there are two main components in the pizza topping to consider – in general, there will be the cheese, which can be quite rich, and calls for wines with relatively high acidity; and the tomato sauce underneath, whose sweet juiciness shouldn’t be overpowered by an overly robust wine – something lighter will allow the puree to shine through.

The origin of Pizza

Pizza is originally Neapolitan, and Campania – the Italian region in which Naples is located – has a breadth of local wines to pair with its most famous edible export. In the Campanian province of Avellino, the winery Feudi di San Gregorio produces a number of wines from native wine grape varieties. It produces the likes of Greco di Tufo, Fiano di Avellino and Falanghina wines, which pair well with the following selection of popular, classic toppings encountered at any local pizzeria.

Italy’s most classic pizzas and best wine pairings

Margherita

With just a couple of delicately flavoured ingredients – milky mozzarella and straightforward tomato sauce – alongside a touch of fragrant basil, this simple, classic pizza will pair well with a light white wine. The soft freshness of a Fiano di Avellino offers the right subtlety, with notes of chamomile and stone fruit that echo the mild tanginess of the fior di latte cheese.

Pizza Margherita

Pizza Margherita – by Garrett Ziegler

Quattro formaggi

Meaning ‘four cheeses’, this pizza bianca (‘white pizza’ prepared without a base of tomato sauce) usually combines mozzarella, gorgonzola, parmesan and a soft cheese like fontina or ricotta in its topping. The robust acidity of a Greco di Tufo is just the ticket to cut through the creaminess of all that cheese.

Funghi

The full body and spiciness of a Campania Piedirosso IGT is the ideal counterpart for the earthy notes of the champignon mushrooms that typically adorn this pizza.

Pizza ai funghi

Pizza ai funghi – by Suzanne Cadwell

Diavola

This one is essentially a margherita with the addition of spicy salami, which is so peppery that the pizza’s name is taken from the Italian word for devil. Its hot flavour begs for an Irpinia Rosato IGT, with its notes of fresh red fruit pairing well with sausage, while also being intense enough to balance out the gusto of the meat.

Ortolana

For a vegetable-based pizza, it’s best not to overpower the topping with your choice of wine. A Falanghina is characterised by a balanced flavour with delicate fruit and white flower notes; simple enough not to compete with the veggie-loaded ortalana, which is usually topped with eggplant, peppers, zucchini and mozzarella.

Pizza all'ortolana

Pizza all’ortolana – by Yuichiro Haga

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