Calzone pairs best with tart and acidic red wines such as Chianti, Lambrusco, Barbera, Valpolicella, and Baco Noir. Sparkling wine and Rosé are also exceptional with Calzone due to their refreshing and crisp bite.
Acidic wines are a must with a Calzone, as you need something sharp to cut through the heavy breading and still be able to dance with the acidic tomato sauce. Tannic wines lacking acidity will often fail at this, and end up tasting flat and metallic when the tannin reaches the tomato sauce.
Best Wine with Calzone
Dry Lambrusco & Calzone Pairing
Lambrusco is a spritzy and fun Italian red wine from Italy. Back in the day, Lambrusco was marketed and produced in a sweet style, which was a huge hit, but it categorized the wine in a not so favorable light amongst wine enthusiasts. In our current era, Lambrusco is working hard on getting back its respect, and it’s produced in a dry style.
Low in alcohol and full of bubbles, Lambrusco cuts through the heavy crust and greasy cheese and meat fillings of your Calzone with ease, making for a fabulous wine pairing. Meanwhile, the fruity notes of black cherries, raspberries and strawberries comes across as refreshing against the saltiness and fat content of your Lambrusco. If you are a pop drinker, you’ll appreciate a dry Lambrusco, as it will still have the bubbles and a refreshing fruitiness, but it won’t be sweet like pop.
Unfortunately, Lambrusco can vary in quality, so you’ll want to do a bit of research before you pick up your bottle. Notable producers of Lambrusco include Cellar Cavicchioli, Tenuta Pederzana, Terra Calda, and Vittorio Graziano.
Prosecco & Calzone Pairing
Any sparkling wine will work well with a Calzone, however, I put Prosecco at the top as it offers good value for the money, and it’s Italian (people tend to prefer Italian wine with Italian food). Eating a Calzone without a beverage is exhausting. The crust, salt, fat, cheese, and meat toppings wear down your taste buds, and over several bites, the Calzone starts to taste bland. This is often why you’ll have Marinara sauce accompanying your Calzone. Marinara sauce is light and acidic, and the acidity helps amplify the various Calzone flavours. Unfortunately, marinara sauce will only take you so far, as it won’t quench your thirst.
Full of bubbles and acidity, Prosecco will scrub all that greasy fat off your cheeks and tongue, making each Calzone bite taste fresh. The high acidity of Prosecco will also amplify the toppings stuffed in your Calzone, so you be able to differentiate all the delicious flavours of sausage, beef, ham, bacon, peperoni, olives, green peppers, banana peppers or whatever else that lies within.
As for a taste profile, Prosecco is quiet, with flavours of apple pear, peach, lemon, melon, toast, mineral and almond. The toastiness of Prosecco will complement your Calzone breading, while the other flavours serve up plenty of refreshment.
As a bonus, you’ll probably end up eating less, as you’ll be sated much earlier. When we eat greasy food, those first couple of bites are delicious. However, as our taste receptors get clogged up, we start shoving food into our mouths, trying to recapture that initial buzz. Thus, we often keep eating until our plate is empty. With Prosecco, your mouth is scrubbed clean, so you feel satisfied earlier so you won’t want to eat your whole Calzone. It’s a win-win situation as you won’t lose any hours from a couch nap and you’ll have some delicious Calzone leftovers to enjoy for a midnight snack or lunch the following day.
Chianti Classico & Calzone Pairing
Chianti Classico is a Sangiovese based red wine from Italy that offers up plenty of refreshing flavours of cherry, strawberries and blackberries. Chianti Classico is also rustic, with notes of earth, herbs, licorice, cedar, smoke and spice which adds an extra bit of Italian flair to your Calzone.
High in acidity, Chianti won’t clash with the tomato sauce in your Calzone, nor the marinara sauce you are dipping it in. The acidity found in Chianti will also brighten up all the individual flavours found in your Calzone. Meanwhile, the proteins found in the cheese or any meat stuffed inside your Calzone will soften the tannin in Chianti, making it taste softer and satiny.
Chianti Classico has a black rooster on its label, which makes it easy to pick off a shelf. This black rooster distinguishes it from Chianti and Chianti Riserva, which are also good pairs with Calzone, however, they may not offer the true Chianti Classico experience. Chianti Classico must be 80% Sangiovese, whereas Chianti must be 70%. When additional grapes are blended into Chianti, you might lose what made it so special to begin with.
Baco Noir & Calzone Pairing
Baco Noir is not a popular wine, however, in upstate NY and Ontario, it’s a local favourite and incredibly delicious with Calzone. As you cruise through these areas, you’ll often find dozens of wineries cooking up fresh Calzone Pizzas during patio season using fresh local ingredients. Baco Noir, with its fruity and mid-bodied profile, is low in tannin and high in acidity, allowing it to cut through the heavy crust and flirt with all the cheese, pepperoni, bacon, ham, mushrooms and whatever else that your Calzone is stuffed with. Another complementary flavour of Baco Noir is its smoky finish, which complements the toasty Calzone crust when it is baked.
Bacon Noir’s main flavours are cherry, blackberry and plum. You’ll also find flavours of earth, meat and smoke, which often remind people of Italian red wine, or a rustic French red.
Valpolicella Classico & Calzone Pairing
Valpolicella Classico pairs well with a Calzone as the wine complements the tomato sauce and marinara sauce. On the nose, you’ll find lots of red and black cherry, along with herbs which give this everyday drinking wine a fruity and savoury tang. Valpolicella is low in tannin and high in acidity so that it won’t clash with the tomato sauce.
Valpolicella Classico is inexpensive and low in both alcohol and tannin, making it wonderful with a heavy slab of Calzone. The heaviness of a Calzone combined with a strong drink can easily put you to sleep, however, the playful fruitiness of Valpolicella will help ensure you don’t overeat as it makes each bite taste fresh. This allows you to eat until you are satisfied, and make the smart decision of leaving some of your Calzone to enjoy at a later time.
What is a Calzone?
A Calzone is a folded pizza that is then baked or fried and is often accompanied by marinara sauce for dipping. Your Calzone can be stuffed with any ingredient you may put on a pizza. A Calzone is about the size of a medium-sized pizza and can be shared. Should you insist on eating the Calzone on your own, be prepared for a long couch nap afterwards as this is a hefty dish as it is full of carbohydrates, fat, salt and protein.
What is the difference between a Calzone and Panzerotti?
The main difference between a Panzerotti and Calzone is that a Panzerotti is smaller and deep-fried. You’ll have to sit down and eat a Calzone with a knife and fork as it is often the size of a medium pizza or larger. Meanwhile, a Panzerotti can be eaten on the go with one hand. All of the wine pairings we mention below will also pair up nice with a Panzerotti.