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Hattiesburg, MS

Assumptions about foods and beverages – and the circumstances under which they are consumed – can lead to doubts about what is appropriate to pair together. For example, because Americans aren’t necessarily known for being wine drinkers – soft drinks, beer, and hard liquor are favored instead – wine can sometimes seem like a sophisticated drink reserved for special or romantic occasions. Pizza, by contrast, has the reputation of being an everyday meal – the stuff of quick lunches or easy dinners in front of the television … possibly served with a cold beer. Some may wonder if wine and pizza should be enjoyed together.

While wine can certainly be sophisticated and a treat for special and romantic occasions, it is considered an everyday drink in southern Europe (Portugal, France, and Spain) and is enjoyed with practically every evening meal. Likewise, with the right ingredients, pizza can make for very elegant, gourmet dining. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in Italy: on nearly every evening in downtown Rome, Milan, or Naples, restaurants are filled with people enjoying or making pizza and sipping wine as they eat. Since Italians have historically known a thing or two about wine, and since they were the inventors of pizza, it seems practical enough to follow their judgment about enjoying them together.

Which wines go with pizza?

Essentially, good wine can be paired with almost anything. Admittedly, it is difficult to drink wine while eating anything with vinegar-based sauces; the taste buds, having tasted the vinegar, tend to interpret the wine as vinegar, too. It is also hard to enjoy wine with fruits that are very acidic, like grapefruit, oranges, or lemons, because these also overpower the taste buds. But since neither vinegar nor these fruits are typically on pizzas, any good wine will pair with pizza.

That said, some wines go much better with pizza than others, depending largely on toppings:

Cheese pizza, pepperoni pizza, and pizza margherita

Fairly light reds pair brilliantly with standard pizzas. These include Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, and Shiraz, which are best for cheese pizza and pizza Margherita. A Chianti is also often paired with these and especially pepperoni pizza because Chianti’s slight boldness matches well with the slightly bolder flavor of the pepperoni.

Meat lovers pizza, sausage pizza

Because a meat lovers pizza is a bit heavier, it allows for a more full-bodied wine. A Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are excellent partners for a meat lovers pizza. Alternatively, a Lambrusco (especially a semisecco) has enough pop to be tasted over salami and sausage and makes a great companion wine for a meat-laden pizza.

Hawaiian pizza, white sauce pizza

Hawaiian pizza is noted for using Canadian bacon and pineapple, which might prove challenging to pair with most wines. Pineapple is an acidic fruit that can overwhelm the taste buds and make wine taste overly sour or have no taste at all, and Canadian bacon has a light enough taste that a bold red would strike the wrong notes. With Hawaiian pizza, the best bet might be a Riesling. The sweetness of the wine will blend well with both the sweetness and the tartness of the pineapple and the acid in the tomato sauce and will bring out the subtle salty tones of the Canadian bacon.

For an even more vivid contrast, a sparkling wine such as a Prosecco might be ideal.

Both Riesling and Prosecco are also often recommended for white pizzas, complimenting the salty overtones of the white sauce.

Pizza and wine

Although the ingredients in different pizzas might call for varying kinds of accompanying wines, a good wine will go with practically any kind of pizza.

A vitally important ingredient in any pairing is responsibility, so enjoy your vino without pairing it with driving.

Whatever wine you choose to pair with your pizza, the Lincoln Road Package Store in the Hattiesburg area is the best place to find it. Its wide selection of drinking spirits of all types includes over 800 different types of wine. To find out more, call (601) 268-3677 or send an e-mail to


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