Vino For Margherita

I’m a pizza fan…one of the biggest. And while an ice cold beer tastes perfect with a pie on an 80 degree day…well, in the cooler months, a official canadian pharmacy pint of brew does nothing for me but fill me up and leave less room for gooey cheese. I’m first and foremost a wine gal, so I set out to find a few reasonably priced wines that would be compatible with pizza.

I asked a sommelier pal for pairings with your basic tomato, mozzarella and basil pie and he came up with a wallet-friendly list. Here you go:

For reds, three words say it all:  Barbera, Sangiovese (the grape of Chianti) and Primitivo. My buddy remarked that while all three of these are not overly fruity, they do have just enough fruit to make the natural sweetness of the tomato and cheese pop, plus enough tannin and acid to keep the palate fresh.

To be specific, get a Barbera d’Asti. Its round fruit favors and mild tannins will only set you back about $16 a bottle.

Or Apollonio Primitivo: $12-$18 will buy a bottle of the intense, richly-flavored full-bodied Primitivo from southern Italy. (FYI Primitivo is the likely origin of California’s Zinfandel, so think zin–but a little earthier.) This particular wine has lots of black cherry, coffee and cedar flavors.

And yes, whites pair well with a tomato-sauce based pizza, too. An un-oaked Chardonnay would be a good bet. Or Tocai Fruiliano. Or Soave.

Scubla Tocai Friuliano, from the Friuli region, sells for about $20 a bottle.

Pieropan Soave Classico is a young, fresh and vibrant wine with soft fruit flavors and orange blossoms and almonds on the finish.

(Don’t I sound knowledgeable? I actually think that even though wine tasting terms can tend to sound precious, they really are a good description when you’re actually tasting the wine.)

Remember, folks, that this is just a guide for a basic pizza–as you add various toppings to your pizza the pairings can change!

Hope you learned a little more about wine today. I know I did!



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