When you think pizza, you think beer. We know that. Heck, we think that, too. It’s an iconic duo. But here’s a little secret: Pizza takes on new levels of deliciousness when paired with a glass (or two… or three…) of wine. Now, that doesn’t mean it’ll be your drink of choice when kicking back and eating a pizza while watching a game, but it could make you rethink date night.
Which is useful considering Valentine’s Day is coming up quick. Maybe in years past you’ve shelled out a few hundred dollars on a fancy dinner and a sparkly gift to match. Here’s a more low-key (and dare we say more enjoyable) approach: Take your new knowledge of the magical combination that is pizza and wine and create an evening that gives you both what you really want, which is simply to be in the company of each other and your favorite food.
Here are six combos to guide your menu planning. Add a few candles to the table to amp up the romance factor and, who knows, this could be the start of a Valentine’s Day tradition.
Rosé + Buffalo Chicken
Fruity. Light. Refreshing. A glass of rosé is nothing like our rich, bold Buffalo Chicken pizza, with its trio of cheeses (cheddar, mozzarella, and bleu), chicken, and buffalo sauce. But that’s exactly why it works. The sips of rosé balance out the spicy bites.
Barbera + Laura’s Favorite
The Kitchn recommends picking a fruity Barbera wine to go with a tomato-heavy pizza (like Laura’s Favorite). Tomatoes are acidic, so you need an acidic wine like Barbera that’s on the same level. As a Serious Eats article notes, Barbera is also incredibly versatile, which means it’ll mesh well with nearly every topping combination you could dream up if Laura’s Favorite isn’t your jam.
Chardonnay + Nick’s Super
An earthy, somewhat oaky Chardonnay (rather than a fruity option—save that bottle for another day) matches up to this mushroom-heavy pizza. The vino plays nicely with the sausage, bell pepper, and onion, too.
Cabernet Sauvignon + Chicago’s Best
Someone who considers themselves a wine connoisseur will go straight for a Cab or a similar full-bodied varietal to mimic the richness of pizza. Because even though there are ways to lighten up your order, few would call pizza a diet food. We say, if you’re going big, go big on all levels and order Chicago’s Best, which is a deliciously hefty option with sausage, pepperoni, and smoked bacon.
Pinot Grigio + Strictly Veggie
A light and bright Pinot Grigio with fruity notes will help draw out the flavors of this pizza’s zucchini, yellow squash, and fresh basil. The killer pairing is best served with a sunset on a warm summer night, but since it’s February in Chicago, putting on a solid playlist in the background is probably the best ambiance you can get.
Champagne + Garlic Fireball
Just when you thought our garlic butter crust couldn’t be improved upon, we tell you to pair it with bubbles—ideally a Champagne that veers toward sweet rather than dry. That sweetness will balance nicely with a pizza that packs heat. Our suggestion? The Garlic Fireball, which piles sausage, jalapeño, and giardiniera onto that oh-so-delicious crust.