Pizza Pairings

Pizza and Beer…a combination as rooted in American culture as peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti and meatballs or even Beavis and Butthead. But now that wine has taken over beer as the most popular beverage in the land, I think it’s time to start talking Pizza and Wine. But which ones are the best to drink with your favorite pie? Sure, the safe and easy move is to go with a Chianti or an Italian blend, and of course they will pair quite nicely. But why go the easy and safe route when you can be bold and daring! It’s so much more fun, and in the end, rewarding.

One of my favorite wines to pair with just about any style of pizza is a California Pinot Noir, specifically from Carneros. The light to medium bodied nature of these wines holds up well to the pizza’s consistency. Plus the cherry and spice characteristics that Carneros Pinots are famous for really bring out the robust flavors of the tomato.

If you are a traditionalist and feel the need to stick with the Italian wines, instead of reaching for a Chianti why not try a peppery Primitivo. In California they call it Zinfandel, but it is the same grape just grown in a different area. Primitivos tend to be very approachable; lots of lush dark fruit flavors and that classic peppery aspect just combines so well with the sauce… especially if you throw some crushed red pepper on your slice!

When veggies take center stage on the pizza, just the right white wine (yes… white wine) can really complement the combination of flavors. Any version of the Sauvignon Blanc grape, with its citrus flavors and crisp style, will help bring out all the goodness that vegan pie has to offer. The flinty style of the Sancerre wines tends to lend itself very well to this type of meal.

Is meat lover’s pizza more your style? Well if you like to pair your steak with a big Napa Cab or a classic Bordeaux, why not do the same with your pie?!? A pizza loaded with meatballs, sausage, ham and whatever other meat you can think of is full of big flavors. The only way to offset that is with a big wine! So don’t be afraid to reach for that bottle of Far Niente or Chateau Lascombes just because it’s pizza night. You may be surprised what a special bottle of wine can do to enhance the enjoyment of your favorite pizza pie. Salute!

Below are some of my favorite value picks for all the wines mentioned above.

Pinot Noir

Artesa Pinot Noir  Carneros, CA

Acacia Pinot Noir  Carneros, CA

BV Pinot Noir, Carneros, CA
Castle Rock Pinot Noir, Carneros, CA

Primitivo

Amano Primitivo Puglia

Cantele Primitivo Southern Italy

Layer Cake Primitivo – IGT Puglia

Sauvignon Blanc

Brancott Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough, NZ

Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma, CA

Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough, NZ

Michel Redde Sancerre Les Tuilieres

Napa Cab

BV Cabernet Napa, CA

Liberty School Cabernet Paso Robles, CA

Stag’s Leap Artemis Cabernet Napa, CA

Far Niente Cabernet Napa, CA

Bordeaux

Chateau Greysac Medoc

Chateau des Graviers Margaux

Chateau Talbot Saint Julien

Chateau Lascombes Margaux

The Heat is On!!! So make sure your wine stays cool….

Anyone living in the NY area is thinking the same thing right about now …when did this place turn into Florida?! Not only does this heat and humidity take a toll on our bodies, our spirits and our Con Ed bills, but it also can take a big toll on our wine. Whether you have a few bottles or a few hundred, heat can destroy those bottles that you have stashed away somewhere in your home.

The ideal condition for storing wine (whether it’s red, white, champagne, port, etc.) is 55 degrees and between 55% and 75% relative humidity. This is why storing in a regular fridge (too cold) or just a wine rack in a normal room temperature area (too warm) can be detrimental to wine. The lesser of these evils is to put it in a regular fridge, as that will just dramatically slow down the aging process. But after longer periods of time, this will end up adversely affecting the wine too.

There are hundreds of different wine storage options to choose from for all different collections and all different budgets. The small wine refrigerators are perfect for those who have anywhere from a few bottles to a few cases. Most of them are thermoelectric units, so they are very quiet and can go anywhere in the house. There are also bigger wine refrigerator units that typically have a compressor and a front vent, like the ones in your kitchen. Those can be freestanding units, or you can build most of them into your kitchen cabinetry or bar area.

Then there are the real deal freestanding wine cellars. There are many different brands and styles to choose from. Some are just larger versions of the smaller wine refrigerators while others, like the Eurocave units, are true wine cellars. Eurocaves are made to mimic the conditions of the old French caves, so you can store your wines for decades in these units. Some prefer the furniture style cabinets that have wine cooling conditioners installed in them, so they not only serve as beautiful show pieces for your home, but will protect your collection as well.

Of course if you want to go all out you can take a room in your home and turn it into an actual wine cellar. This however is a pretty large, and potentially costly, undertaking.  It involves building out a room with a vapor barrier, proper insulation and the moisture resistant sheet rock. Then there is the cooling unit and racking to select and install. However, once it is finished it certainly becomes one of the coolest, and most functional, rooms in the house. Just be ready for the all the neighbors to be spending a little more time in your basement ;)

Have you ever saved a bottle for that perfect occasion? Yet when the time comes, you open the wine and the first sip tastes like it’s something you should be putting on your salad? I have and it was such a disappointing experience that I went out and got my first 15 bottle wine fridge and I haven’t looked back since. So if your wines are battling the heat and losing the fight, help them out a bit and look into one of these refrigerated wine cabinets.

Wine Enthusiast by far has the greatest selection and best prices for all of these wine storage units. Below is the web link to them and as always if you are looking for more information just leave a comment and I will be happy to get back to you. Stay cool out there!

http://www.wineenthusiast.com/refrigerated-wine-cabinets.asp?icid=TNVRFRGRTDWNCBNTS