Napolitan pizza (pic: Internet)

Napolitan pizza (pic: Internet)

Italian wine expert Averardo Borghini Baldovinetti of Vino e Finanza, gives a definitive guide to pairing wines with three different types of Neapolitan pizza.

1. Margherita 

Hot Margherita Pizza baked In Oven (pic: iStock)
Hot Margherita Pizza baked In Oven (pic: iStock)

The signature pizza Margherita is created by Raffaele Esposito, the owner of a famous tavern called Pizzeria di Pietro e Basta Così. The pizza was named after Queen Margherita of Savoy (1851 – 1926), the first queen of unified Italy, when she visited Naples with King Umberto and tried Raffaele’s hand-made pizza. 

The ingredients are mainly tomato, sliced mozzarella, basil and sometimes extra virgin olive oil, perfectly resembling the red, green and white colour of the Italian flag. 

Averardo would generally focus on the texture and toppings when pairing Neapolitan pizza with wine. For pizza Margherita, the only sauce used should be tomato sauce, spicy or sweet, combined with the soft crust of the pizza and the use of mozzarella or other cheeses. A wine with high acidity, dry freshness and minerality rather than a rich, full-bodied or aromatic wine would be a perfect match, according to the wine expert.

Recommendations from Averardo 

Whites: Greco di Tufo, Falanghina, Costa D’amalfi, Ischia, Falerno del Messico

Reds: Vesuvio DOC, Falerno del Massico, Sannio DOC, Terre del Volturno

2. Marinara 

Marinara pizza (pic: Pizza recipe))
Marinara pizza is made without cheese but topped with topped with tomato sauce, oregano, garlic and virgin olive oil (pic: Pizza recipe)

Pizza Marinara has simpler ingredients than Margherita. It is made without cheese but can come with a stronger taste.

It is topped with tomato sauce, oregano, garlic and virgin olive oil, often with anchovies as well. According to Averardo, the complex taste of the spiciness, the tomato sauce and the anchovies would match better with a sharp and high-acidity white or sparkling wine such as a fragrant and refreshing Costa D’Amalfi Bianco made from local white varieties of Falanghina and Biancolella.

Reds are not recommended if anchovies are used on the pizza topping, but if you insist, a light red wine with zero or little oak ageing served cool could be a good option, says Averardo.

Recommendations from Averardo 

Whites: Costa D’Amalfi, Irpinia, Ischia, Campi Flegrei 

3. Friarielli e Salsiccia 

Friarielli e Salsiccia is topped with mozzarella, black cabbage and spicy sausage (pic: Scatti di Gusto)

The classic recipe of the Friarielli e Salsiccia usually exclude tomatoes, and only use mozzarella topped by black cabbage and spicy sausage. 

Without the tomatoes, the flavours of the pizza are dominated by the spiciness of the sausages and creaminess of the mozzarella, with a hint of bitterness from the black cabbage or broccoli. 

For this type of Neapolitan pizza, white wines of Fiano or Greco native to Campania and Basilicata or a sparkling wine with high acidity or light reds would pair nicely with the pizza. 

Recommendations from Averardo 

Whites: Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo, Campi Flegrei, Costa d’Amalfi

Reds: Aglianico delle Vulture, Palegrello Nero, Sannio doc, Vesuvio DOC

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