Monday, March 11, 2013

Wine Tip: Pizza and Beer is Great - but Wine is Better!

Pairing a wine with a Pizza doesn’t at first seem to be a big challenge, but when you stop to look at the taste and flavor components of your simple pepperoni pizza it does get a bit complex.  From the bottom up, each bite is chock full of bready/yeasty flavors from the crust, sweet and acidic tastes from the tomato sauce, salt and oil from the cheese, and spice and more oil from the pepperoni.  Wow - that is an awful lot going on flavor-wise to tackle in a wine pairing.

Sometimes though, the answer is fairly straightforward - how about a Chianti? Chianti is a wine from Tuscany, Italy made from the Sangiovese grape.  Following an adage I learned early on in my quest for wino-dom - “When you eat the Italian food, drink the Italian wine”, Chianti is a fantastic pairing for pizza.  In this case you don’t want an expensive example, you are looking for a simple, traditional Chianti.  The natural acidity of wine made from Sangiovese will help with the oil and salt, while the fruitiness of the wine will help highlight the flavors of the tomato and pepperoni. 
I would not opt for the legendary straw covered bottles that have adorned many a table at Italian restaurants, but just have your favorite wine store helper point you to something inexpensive, but tasty.  Banfi is always a good go-to brand name that is widely available - for Chianti or Chianti Classico.

Want to try something new? Dolcetto D'Alba is an Italian red wine from the Piedmont region that is also high in acidity and makes a nice match to pizza for the same reasons as Chianti.

Just keep in mind any other toppings that you add may provide additional challenges to finding a good wine, especially anything spicy like jalapeños or super sweet like pineapple.  However, feel free to add other types of meat (minus any spicy variations), plus onions and mushrooms - just hold the green peppers.

Enjoy and invite me!

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