Pairing Wine with Pizza : The Italian Way!

Pizza: a word that everyone around the world knows. Pizza is one of the most popular Italian symbols. What is another famous symbol of Italy? Wine of course. Pairing with with pizza: how do we do that in Italy? Read on and I will reveal the wines to match that will make for an authentic, all-Italian evening.

Pairing pizza with wine

Who invented the pizza? Here is some history:

  • 3000 years ago in Egypt, a flatbread was eaten to celebrate the pharaoh.
  • In Greece, various types of flatbreads were eaten.
  • The term “Pizza” derives from the Latin word pinsére which means to pound or press.
  • Pizza was also eaten in medieval and Renaissance times but mainly used as a dessert.
  • There is also a legend about the birth of pizza. It is said that the god Vulcan, after finishing his work, sternly asked his wife Venus what she had cooked for lunch. The woman who hadn’t had time to prepare something to eat because she’d been out enjoying herself, took a piece of dough and cooked it on a hot stone. She then she garnished it with herbs, with savory berries and sprinkled on top some milk. (This is obviously a legend that comes to us from mythology.)

The traditional pairing in Italy

Don’t be surprised if in Italy you see us Italians drinking a beer with pizza, it’s our tradition. With pizza, our first thought is to order a glass of “barley wine”, as beer was formerly called. It is the quintessential combination for us: red, blonde, or dark beer.

Pairing Wine with Pizza

The choice of wine to pair with a pizza is determined by the type of ingredients used. Here are some basic rules: If the pizza is filled with very fat cheeses or mozzarella such as buffalo mozzarella, a medium-structured white wine will be suitable, such as Verdicchio, is a good example. This wine has a bright straw yellow color with light green reflections. Rich aromas of yellow flowers, peach, green apple, and jasmine with mineral hints. In the mouth it is dry, fresh, fruity with a great drinkability

If the pizza is stuffed with strong flavors (for example salami) it will be better to opt for a well-structured wine, such as the Greco di Tufo, originally from the Campania region, in southern Italy.

If the pizza contains acidic (tomato) or salty (anchovy) elements, soft white wines or sparkling wines are better. Here is an example: Pizza with mozzarella fiordilatte and guanciale can be paired with the sparkling wine Durello Brut Monti Lessini Doc. Durello is a local grape in Vicenza.

In general, it is better to remember that if pizza is topped with tomato, it should be accompanied by white wines because the tomato is characterized by a marked acidity, a red wine and a tomato pizza leave a bitter aftertaste on the palate.

Patrizia Vigolo

Wine Editor

Ciao a tutti! My name is Patrizia and I live in Vicenza located in the beautiful Veneto region. I am an AIS sommelier and WSET 3 certified. I have more than 10 years’ experience in the wine industry as sales director for several Italian wineries. Outside of work, I love to visit wineries, read, cook, travel, and spend time with my family. I love wine for many different reasons. One of the main reasons is that wine makes people meet and share experiences.: A glass of wine with friends, family or colleagues can make your day. In a glass of wine there is a story: the story of a family, tradition, and territory. I think a glass of wine can be an endless story to discover. You will never, and I say never, find two wines similar. I love to think that for every single situation, there is the right wine. Follow me if you want to learn more about Italian wines and tips about the amazing wine world. Cin Cin!

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