True, a cold beer can hit the spot with pizza.
But, this time of year, you might be hanging out in front of a fireplace and a glass of wine makes more sense than a chilly brewski. Wine certainly enhances the pizza and think of the amazing choices. Keep these wines on hand, or have them delivered, to pair with that crave-worthy pizza pie. No cooking tonight.
Red Sauce Pizzas: Margherita or Other Veg Toppings
If noshing a lighter (new year, new you?) pizza, look to Italy for bright whites like Alois Lageder pinot bianco ($14). Or juicy reds including Il Bastardo Sangiovese Rosso di Toscana ($7.99), lush and fruity with a familiar tang—tastes like Italy where pizza was born. Nero D’Avola rosé Stemmari, Sicily, is dry with strawberry fields forever ($15).
Red Sauce: Spicy Italian Sausage, Meats, Crushed Red Pepper, Jalapenos
Go bold with Los Vascos Grande Reserve Carmenere ($14), which will charm the pants off a meaty pizza. Or Marques de Casa Concha Syrah kissed with spice—a great value line. Juicy, moderately tannic California zinfandel like Kunde Winery ($14) is smashing with these hearty pies. Ravenswood is another reliable label with several tiers to try ($7.99 and up).
White Pizzas With Pesto or Seafood
I’m dreaming of Coltivare in Houston’s puffy-edged shrimp, olive, lemon, oregano, horseradish pizza with a slightly rich white wine like St. Pauls Plotzner pinot bianco, Italy. Zaccagnini pinot grigio bianco ($14) is crisp and fragrant packaged in a cool Old World Italian bottle. Or try 2018 Lubanzi Chenin Blanc, S. Africa ($18)—a white with verve and a mouthwatering finish.
Inventive combinations like harissa with sweet potato, salsa verde, pickled onion and peanuts at Bufalina in Austin make for fun pairings. Try a crisp, food-friendly sauvignon blanc like lip-smacking Quivira ($12.99) or Cono Sur organic sauvignon blanc ($14.99). Or consider Champagne/sparkling Rotari Trentodoc brut, Italy ($19) with yeasty, brioche notes just like pizza crust. Silky, fruit-forward Wente Vineyards pinot noir shines with duck, exotic mushrooms or beet-accented pies. The pie and the sky’s the limit!
Where to Hook Up For Pizza & Wine
Coltivare Pizza & Garden: the name says it all–these locavore pizzas are garden-fresh and creative. The popular Heights haunt also is known for its remarkable yet affordable wine list and pizza pairings. Arrive early to get on the waitlist and check out the garden.
Vinny’s: Owned by Agricole Hospitality (like Coltivare, above), this still new pizza emporium is a pioneer in food delivery with beer or wine in accordance with the new SB1450 law. Order up a delectable New York style pie like the Nicky P paved with Italian sausage, sweet onion puree, charred broccoli and Fresno chiles and a sommelier-vetted vino—both with just one click on the computer.
Bufalina: Refined Neapolitan pizza, an impressive wine list and great happy hour deals including half-off pizzas and $5 wines by-the-glass draw crowds. There’s always a wait, but delicate-crusted pizzas pop out of their post oak-fired oven in 60 seconds flat. Classic margherita and calabrese pizzas share menu space with inventive pies like the mushroom (herbed goat cheese, mozzarella, shallot, lemon, herbs).
Cane Rosso delivers its wood-fired pizzas via Uber but also has a nifty wine list if dining at the restaurant (plus an attractive happy hour). Popular on the menu: Farmers Only Dot Com pizza with fresh veggies, garlic, arugula, house mozzarella and pesto. Not so virtuous is Bacon & Bleu with gorgonzola, bacon, rosemary, arugula, caramelized onion and balsamic reduction. The bomb-dot-com.
Dough Pizzeria Napoletana: As seen on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” this San Antonio-born hotspot with several locations delivers pizzas through third-party apps (Uber, DoorDash, etc.). We dig the celebrity-lauded smoky-blistered pizzas and the all-Italian wine list. That’s amore!
BUY WINES: Houston Wine Merchant, Austin Wine Merchant, HEB Supermarket, Central Market Total Wine & More, Spec’s.
Cover courtesy photo
Robin Barr Sussman (email@example.com) is a freelance culinary and travel writer who studied at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone, Calif. As a chef for Sonoma County wineries, her specialty was food and wine pairing. Sussman is a columnist for Houston Modern Luxury Magazine, Prime Living and Houston House & Home. Her work also appears in Texas Monthly, Fodor’s and Private Clubs Magazine.