Wine and Pizza Pairings
I found myself in the throngs of an existential crisis, trying to determine my favorite wine and pizza pairings. A notably impossible task due to the vastness of these vices. Countless grape varietals and boundless blends create amazing wines, to pair with the ubiquitous combinations of flavors that can be found atop pizza. What is a human to do with this dilemma?!
To keep me from falling subject to a decision making-fueled panic attack, I teamed up with some amazing wineries to bring you the perfect wine and pizza pairings. They provided me with the wine and it was my job to find the perfect pizza counterpart.
With a pleasurable...not so healthy amount of research and development, I was able to carefully curate pairings that will have your belly full and your taste buds begging for more.
Oenophile Fact: Paula Abdul was wrong. Opposites do not attract - pair like, with like. Straight up, did she really think a relationship with a cartoon would last?
The Pizza Making Process
- Put your pizza stone in the Oven/Traeger
- Pre-heat Oven/Traeger to 425 Degrees (Important: pizza stone should heat up w/ oven)
- Turn on the Pizza Making Playlist on Spotify
- Open the Wine
- Pour a Glass
- Sip and get inspired
- Decorate a Firestone Naan with your desired toppings
- Cook for 7-8 minutes
- Retrieve and cut the pizza
- Take a bite and wash it down your gullet with some of these amazing wines
Meat Lovers and Merlot
Wine: 9 Hats Wines 2015 Merlot
Notes of fig, plum, and floral aromas deceive your palate, as it is met with the high power tannin of this full bodied Merlot. This wine was made for a dense pizza to compliment its jammy flavors and the high alcohol components.
It's comprised of three powerhouse grapes: 81% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot. I recommend decanting this wine for 30 minutes to an hour before pouring yourself a glass.
Pizza Pairing: Meat Lovers
Marinara Sauce, Pepperoni, Italian Sausage, Bacon, and Shredded Mozzarella
Why it works:
Merlot produces a high tannin wine. The high fat in the meat and cheese on the pizza, ease the bite from the tannin - balancing the flavors on your palate.
Meaty Margherita Pizza and Sangiovese
Wine: Cave-B Estate Winery 2017 Sangiovese
The vision of this wine's pale garnet color, will only be your first sensation that is tantalized when drinking this wine. Notes of tomatoes and cherries with a hint of tobacco pipe, fill the glass. The neutral oak used in the aging of this wine allows for the nuances of this grape to truly shine through.
It is a beautiful representation of the Italian Varietal grown in Washington. It is arguably passable for a nice Chianti...phphphphph.
Pizza Pairing: Meaty Margherita
Marinara Sauce, Italian Sausage, Fresh Basil, Fresh Tomato Slices, and Fresh Mozzarella
Why it works:
This pairing is one even Hannibal Lecter would opt for as his last meal. The high acidity in this wine keeps it from getting lost in the acidity of the tomato sauce and juicy fresh tomatoes. This Italian varietal shines with this combination of Italian flavors - what grows together, goes together.
BBQ Ranch Pizza and Imaginarium Red Blend
Wine: Forgeron Cellars 2017 Imaginarium Red Blend
Sweet notes of BBQ Sauce, black pepper and cherry hit your nose first. While dark fruits, cloves and brown sugar are nuanced throughout the wine and can easily be detected against its smokiness.
This wine is comprised of 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Cabernet Franc, 8% Merlot, 23% Malbec, and 19% Petit Verdot. The high percentages of Malbec and Petit Verdot are likely the grapes influencing the spice of the wine, making it the perfect fit for a BBQ pizza.
Pizza Pairing: BBQ Ranch Pizza
BBQ Sauce, Chicken, Red Onion, Green Onion, Roasted Garlic, Shredded Mozzarella, and Shredded Parmesan
Why it works:
I knew immediately what type of pizza I would be making after sipping on this wine at the Forgeron Cellars tasting room. The wine has flavor profiles reminiscent of spices used in common BBQ style dishes. The spice and smokiness in the wine, is enhanced by the flavors of the pizza and the smoke of the Traeger.
Mediterranean Pizza and GSM
Wine: Forgeron 2017 Blacksmith Rouge GSM
This Rhone style blend lends to dominant notes of caramel and vanilla. The Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre create a beautiful pale purple juice.
The wine tastes of holiday cranberries in the shape of a can (my favorite), as well as leather and slate to create a lovely amount of tannin on the mid palate. This wine is delectable and ready for sipping immediately after opening.
Pizza Pairing: Mediterranean Pizza
Olive Oil, Sundried Tomatoes, Artichoke Hearts, Olives, Red Onion, Basil, Oregano, Parsley, Feta and Shredded Mozzarella
Why it works:
The higher level of tannin in this wine works well with Mediterranean style spices and a heavy amount of olives. The olives on the pizza will re-hydrate your salivary glands, mitigating the harshness of the tannins on the palate.
Mushroom & Caramelized Onion Pizza and Cabernet Franc
Wine: Isenhower Cellars 2018 Road Less Travelled Cabernet Franc
"I shall be telling this with a sigh, [my wine] ages and ages hence. I am left to yearn for it, another day." Reminded of the deliciously earthy notes of mushrooms and balsamic, complimented by aromas of brown sugar and ripe plums. This well-balanced wine will leave your glass with wanted wear, the joys of which will have you on a road "less travelled by. And that has made all of the difference."
Pizza Pairing: Mushroom & Caramelized Onion
Olive Oil, Caramelized Mushrooms and Onions, Thyme, Oregano, Fresh Mozzarella and Ricotta Cheese
Why it works:
The caramelization of the onions and the mushrooms with the warm ricotta gave tangy, sweet, and earthy notes, paralleling those found in the wine. This pairing was a surprising delight and one of my favorites of the evening.
Oenophile Fact: All of the wines featured in this post came from the Columbia Valley AVA. This American Viticultural Area covers 1/3 of Washington State and experiences significant temperature diurnals with range changes up to 40 °F. Meaning the grapes in this area experience "mood" swings comparable to those experienced while moving your mom/mother-in-law into a new home. The results of which, cause the grapes to produce jammy and more alcoholic wines. I think you will find this to be true when you sample one or all of these wines.
The best thing about pizza, is it's incredibly easy to make. All you need is a pizza stone, naan bread and your favorite toppings. The best thing about wine is...it's wine.
Pizza making is perfect for an evening at home, a night with your gal pals, or for dinner parties with picky guests. Guests think they are having fun making pizza, when in reality they are making their own dinner!
I hope you take time to procure a bottle and make a pizza or two. I have linked each of the Wineries' Websites above in each pairing section. If you have questions on how to get your hands on a bottle or where to find the best pizza fixins - drop a note in the comments below, reach out to me on The Wine Tails Facebook Page, or DM me on Instagram.
As always, thank you for following along.
Cheers and Happy Sipping!