The Best Wine and Pizza Pairings According to a Sommelier
Anna Maria Kambourakis is a certified sommelier, pizza connoisseur, and founder of Chania Wine Tours. Take her sage advice when it comes to the ideal pizza and wine pairings.
Anna Maria Kambourakis is a Massachusets native, certified sommelier, and owner of Chania Wine Tours located in the beautiful landscape of Crete; the largest of the Greek islands known for its hidden beaches and invigorating plateaus that reward the discerning world traveler.
Her credentials for pizza and wine pairing? Well, besides being a certified sommelier trained in Chicago, her father owned a pizza shop for 30 years that she worked at since she was "old enough to reach the register." This woman knows her pizza!
Years later of training and a courageous leap to her ancestral home of Crete, Anna Maria has established herself as a leader of wine tourism on the island. She delights in sharing wine stories with her guests on her tours and with the world through her writing.
Although we might not be able to travel to Greece at the moment, given the current circumstances, Anna Maria has graciously passed on the best pizza and wine pairings you can enjoy from home. Read and indulge, my friends.
Margherita Pizza with Dry Rose or Gamay
Sommelier Insight: Aromatic basil and the delicate flavors of fresh mozzarella won't be overpowered by a dry rose with a medium acid content. Gamay has an herbal character to compliment the basil and is light-bodied so won't overwhelm the mozzarella.
Plain Cheese Pizza with Pinot Grigio or Sangiovese
Sommelier Insight: The high acid of the wines cuts through the fat of the cheese and also neutralizes the acids in the tomato sauce. Basic pizza, basic wine!
Sausage Pizza with Xinomavro or Aglianico
Sommelier Insight: Xinomavro comes from northern Greece and has a sun-dried tomato character which makes it a great compliment to pizza with red sauce. Aglianico is quite savory to compliment the spices in the sausage.
Pepperoni Pizza with Nero d'Avola or Syrah
Sommelier Insight: Both have a spicy component that can handle the smoky, spiciness of the pepperoni. Nero d'Avola is the main grape of Sicily.
Hawaiian Pizza with Torrontes or Viognier
Sommelier Insight: Both of these white wines have a tropical aroma with enough acidity to handle the saltiness of the Canadian bacon.
Mushroom Pizza with Pinot Noir or Gruner Vetliner
Sommelier Insight: Two earthy wines to compliment the mushrooms, light in body with good acidity. Gruner Vetliner also has a white pepper finish.
BBQ Chicken Pizza with Shiraz or Zinfandel
Sommelier Insight: The jamminess of these wines compliments the smoky sweetness of the bbq sauce.
Visit the Chania Wine Tours' website to learn more about the private and semi-private tours Anna Maria offers.