Classic wine pairings for pizza are usually fruity wines with high acidity to balance the natural acidity in tomato sauce and to help cut the fat in the melted cheese. Barbera, the varietal traditionally grown in the Piedmont region of Italy is a nearly perfect traditional pizza wine. Its low tannin structure is also key, as a highly tannic wine can combine with tomato to create an off-putting metallic taste. There are some fantastic Barberas being produced in the Shenandoah Valley in the Sierra foothills of California. The Shenandoah Vineyards ReZerve 2013 Barbera and the Helwig 2013 Barbera are great choices, AND they both just won Double Gold medals at the San Francisco International Wine Competition where I recently worked as a volunteer!
Sangiovese and Chianti are great for spicier meat pies as are fruity Syrahs made in the Rhone style with nice peppery flavors. It’s also fun to break from the red wine with pizza mold by trying a full-bodied white such as Grüner Veltliner. I love the Grüner made by Zocker from the Edna Valley in California. It has nice acidity as well as a steely minerality; a great call on pizza night.
And don’t forget bubbles! Prosecco and other sparkling wines would be delicious paired with our new White Clam and Garlic Pizza as well as other white pies. My go-to Prosecco is from La Marca, and for good value domestic sparklers I always love Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs from Sonoma and Roederer Estate Brut from the Anderson Valley in California.