Pizza and Wine Pairings

Enjoy a flavor-filled evening with these combos
Photo by FornStudio/Adobe Stock

Whether you order from your favorite takeout spot or make your own pie at home, a pizza only gets better with the perfect Michigan wine pairing. These suggestions from sommeliers Jeremy Duggan, Randall Coats, Tristan Walczewski, and Cortney Casey are sure to elevate any pie, from a deep-dish pepperoni to a thin-crust Margherita — and everything in between.

Jeremy Duggan, a sommelier at Dusty’s Cellar in Okemos, recommends something to bring out the acidity …

“My favorite Michigan wines to serve with pizza are Cabernet Franc, Grüner Veltliner, and Pinot Gris,” he says. “When serving pizza with wine, you need some acidity, particularly with salami- or sausage-based wood-fired pizzas. Cabernet Francs like those from Fenn Valley and Black Star Farms work well.”

… and the perfect wine for a Margherita pizza.

Grüner Veltliner, a wine that features peppery aromas, is herbal and complements pizzas with arugula or basil in the mix, like a Margherita-style pizza.”

Randall Coats, the Detroit-based owner of Wine 4 Da Ppl, suggests something herbal …

Detroit Vineyards’ current release of Blaufränkisch would pair best with pizzas with green notes,” he says. “The notes of the wine match up really well with the herbs and tomato sauce that are typically featured in most pizzas. I would specifically recommend trying this wine with a supreme-style pizza.”

Tristan Walczewski, chief operating officer of Essence Restaurant Group in Grand Rapids, recommends something versatile …

“Working in an Italian restaurant, we like things with a lot of versatility to pair with different foods,” he says. “Something with a medium body and moderate in tannin pairs well with salt content and the flavors of pepperoni and cured meats. I’d recommend a Blaufränkisch wine for its bright, peppery flavors. Bowers Harbor and Hawthorne Vineyards make great ones.”

… and something creative!

“White wines are great for when you want to get creative with pizzas,” Walczewski says. “If you’re topping your pizza with pears or peaches, they would pair well with an off-dry Riesling from Bowers Harbor. You can also play around with orange wines, like [Pomeranz] from Shady Lane Cellars, because they have a little salinity to them that makes them taste fresh with a softer finish.”

Cortney Casey, co-owner of Michigan by the Bottle in Southeast Michigan, recommends something for easy drinking …

“With pizza, I typically enjoy a lighter-bodied, easy-drinking red — something that’s fruit forward with lower tannins to complement the tomato sauce,” she says. “Red blends tend to be a great option, like Chaos red from Verterra Winery or Abrazo from Sandhill Crane Vineyards. You could even do something with a touch of sweetness, like Blustone Vineyards’ Ad_Lib.”

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