Life

Sauce Up Your Pizza Night With These Wines Under $35

There are some things in things in life that are just better together. You know, ice cream and cake. Netflix and chill. Bonnie and Clyde. Sports and beer. But then there are those splendors of the world that are mighty forces all on their own. Then — when paired with another individually great thing — they create a cataclysm of awesomeness.

We’re talking about pizza and wine, obviously.

Since its 19th-century introduction to the U.S., we’ve loved pizza as a standalone dish, whether it’s topped with pepperoni or sausage, veggies or herbs. But a cheesy, gluten heavy pie is going to leave you thirsty. And while a sudsy pint of brew will wash down your meal just fine, we’d argue that a glass of red or white wine, paired with the toppings of your choosing, creates and equally-delicious-while-slightly-more-refined tandem.

Pizza and wine isn’t a particularly complicated pairing to enjoy, either. With so many types of grapes grown across the globe, it’s easy enough to find a bottle of wine to highlight even the most outrageous pizza creations. Vegan cauliflower crusted ‘za and Nero D’Avola? Hell yeah, sign us up!

To help you save some time, we’ve compiled a list of nine wines under $35 that will elevate even the most basic of mid-week pizza nights. These wines are all accessible in retail shops across the country and available for online delivery in the linked prices below. So go ahead and order from your favorite chain or mom and pop we’ve got the bottles to turn that meal into a full-on sensory experience.

Nicchia Lambrusco di Modena N/V DOC

We Speak Wine

ABV: 8.5%
Average Price: $12

The Wine:

First of all, there isn’t a pizza pie out that Lambrusco can’t make better. The sparking ruby red wine just has the right type of light fruity bubbles to make even the blandest slices of cardboard crust, sauce, and processed cheese taste like a delicacy. This blend of native Italian grapes including Salamino, Marani, and Grasparossa has a crispy texture and acidity to counter the fats of the cheesiest, meatiest pizzas down to the simplest slices.

Tasting Notes:

This is an effervescent medium-sweet wine that displays a ton of fruit on the palate like a basket of ripe strawberries, raspberries, and a splash of black currant. For all its fruitiness though, it cleans up nice with a slightly mineral and dry, quick finish.

Bottom Line:

Drink this wine slightly chilled with any type of pizza. It’s guaranteed to tingle your tastebuds whether you’re sipping it with a Papa John’s cheese slice or the fanciest pie from your favorite upscale pizzeria.

Lini 910 Labrusca Bianco N/V

Wine Chateau

ABV: 11%
Average Price: $16

The Wine:

Hailing from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, this is a white wine that’s drier than the napkin you’ll need to dab your grease-covered lips with after biting into a white pie. And yet, somehow, it displays a level of freshness that balances the decadent ricotta and olive oil topping on that classic pizza iteration.

Tasting Notes:

Because this is made completely of Salamino grapes, the smells of crisp pear and hard lemon candies from your grandmother’s purse spill out the bottle. On the palate, this wine is intense with stony acidity—probably a nod to the cement vats it’s aged in. It displays crisp expressions of citrus that last throughout its generous lingering finish.

Bottom Line:

You know those pizzas that are so amazingly decadent that it’s hard to breathe after wolfing down a slice? Well, this wine is the dry, frothy air to revive your lungs. Wash out your palate with this, and get ready for the next bite.

Trimbach Gewürztraminer 2016

Wine Chateau

ABV: 14%
Average Price: $25

The Wine:

The Alsace region of France is the largest producer of Gewürztraminer. The region grows a grape that tends to lead with a dry and sometimes floral freshness that can bring out the best of those sauceless flatbread pizzas smothered in soft tangy cheeses like Taleggio and Camembert.

Tasting Notes:

Get a whiff of the pear, white peach and lightly floral notes radiating from the bottle as soon as it’s uncorked. On the sip, the medium-bodied wine is dry and concentrated with notes of apple peels and lemon meringue. The texture lasts throughout the finish, which is crunchy with acidity and citrusy hints of clementine.

Bottom Line:

Do you like a pizza covered in prosciutto or speck, porcini mushrooms, and brie? This is a wine that will give all that salty goodness a refreshingly zesty uplift.

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages Nouveau 2019

Wine Chateau

ABV: 13%
Average Price: $13

The Wine:

Gamay—the grape this wine is made with—is typically light in body and high in acidity. That makes it the perfect partner for a wide range of foods like, say, a pepperoni pizza drizzled in hot honey oil and sprinkled with red pepper flakes. This one produced by Georges Duboeuf, who is heralded as the King of Beaujolais, is ripe and full of easy-drinking freshness.

Tasting Notes:

Aromas of strawberry are accentuated on the palate with notes of currant, raspberry and blueberry—literally alllll the berries. The quick finish gets a pleasant surprise from hints of smoke, but overall this wine is bursting with juicy berry fruit from start to finish.

Bottom Line:

This is the simple sipper you grab when you’re feeling too lazy to think too much about what to drink or eat. It’ll compliment any kind of pizza. And if you never actually get around to ordering that pie, well, this wine is good for crushing all on its own, too.

Opolo 2018 Mountain Zinfandel

Opolo

ABV: 15.7%
Average Price: $25

The Wine:

Here’s a hearty wine from California’s Paso Robles to pair with your heartier pizzas. The body and structure of this weighted-wine can stand up to all your meat-loving, sausage and bacon-loaded pies.

Tasting Notes:

As if the aroma of chocolate-covered raisins wasn’t alluring enough, this deep red wine serenades the senses with rich and ripe dark fruit flavors like blackberries and purple plums spiced with white pepper, clove and nutmeg. Although it has a silky smooth texture on the first sip, the weight of its tannins — the natural polyphenol found in fruit skins and seeds —backload the long and lingering finish.

Bottom Line:

This is the dry and heavy wine to soak up all the fatty toppings on a traditional “American” pizza.

Field Recordings 2019 Freddo

Field Recordings Wine

ABV: 11.9%
Average Price: $25

The Wine:

If you need a wine to counter all the intense flavors of a classic pepperoni pie or a veggie pizza, this is the one. Another from Paso Robles, this Sangiovese has the bones to hold up to meats and the flexibility to support not-so meaty pizzas. It’s delightfully light but has some complexity that makes it a nice companion for food.

Tasting Notes:

This garnet crystal red wine smells of sweet cherry pie, but—surprise!—it’s drenched with sour cherries on the palate and splashes of cranberry. A little strawberry balances out the tart in the refreshing, barely noticeable finish.

Bottom Line:

This is a brainless pizza pairing that can support almost anything you throw at it. Sangiovese, at its core, is like that for many edible things. So pile on all the toppings you can imagine. This wine won’t back down.

Pro tip: Pop it in the fridge to give it a slight chill. When the label turns blue, it’s ready.

Ferreira Casa Ferreirinha Vinha Grande

Wine House Portugal

ABV: 13 %
Average Price: $22

The Wine:

This blend of Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, and Tinto Cão is produced by a family who’s made wine for as long as pizza has existed. The family behind the Portuguese label Casa Ferreirinha has been in the wine business since the 1700s and continues to succeed at creating quality, complex wines that can provide an elegant experience for whatever meal it’s paired with.

Tasting Notes:

This is an intense, dark crimson-colored wine with a lot of character. Floral notes like violet and lilacs lead the aroma while the palate is rich with red and black fruit like strawberry, raspberry and blackberries that are underscored by flavors of cocoa and spiced oak. It’s a voluminous wine with velvety tannins that intertwine with touches of slate and minerals that last throughout the finish.

Bottom Line:

Are you a pizza snob who believes it’s all about the sauce? Then this is the wine for you. Its rich and soft tannin profile is a nice balance for those red-sauce pizza pies, whether the sauce leaning on the acidic or sweet side. Extra bonus points for taking down a Chicago deep-dish pie with a bottle of this.

Feudo Montoni Nero D’Avola Lagnusa Sicilia DOC 2018

Astor Wines

ABV: 13.5%
Average Price: $20

The Wine:

“Lagnusa” is a Sicilian term that means “lazy” and “produces small quantities,” but don’t let that definition fool you. In many instances, a vineyard that produces less equates to more quality wine. This organic ruby red sucker is exactly that: quality.

Tasting Notes:

Cinnamon and clove dominate the fragrance of this wine, but the juice is delectable with tastes of red plum, blackberry and all the sticks, seeds, leaves and dirt they grow with. Seriously, you get a sense of soil in every sip, but in an enjoyable, clean kind of way thanks to the slightest hint of menthol that gives the wine’s earthy underbite a spray of freshness. As for the finish, it’s refined and lingers with structure, compliments of it’s delicate tannins.

Bottom Line:

The earthy components of this Italian wine will bring out the best in every bite of your vegan or vegetarian pizza.

Masciarell Marina Cvetic ISKRA 2015

Drinks and Co

ABV: 14.5 %
Average Price: $33

The Wine:

There’s a reason why you’re likely to see bottles upon bottles of Montepulciano on the wine lists at fancy pizza joints: the wine has a relatively mild tannin profile and medium acidity, which pairs well with the most basic and bizarre pizza toppings. The tannins on this particular bottle lean on the firm side, which creates a more robust drinking experience.

Tasting Notes:

This wine features fragrances of cherry cola, spices, and herbs, but it’s pretty jammy on the palate—blackberry jam to be more specific—and it displays a subtle note of oak as well. Sturdy tannins give it an almost chewy mouthfeel that lasts throughout the long finish.

Bottom Line:

This is a good food pairing wine that will go with almost anything, but it’s definitely excellent with a plain old Margherita.

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