2017-04-01 / Wine Notes

A Slice with Something Nice

Robert D. Richards, CSW

If you like pizza (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?), it may be time to try some new wine pairings to spice up your casual dining experience. As with most food and wine pairings, pizza is not a “one-varietal-fits-all” proposition. What goes into the glass largely depends upon what goes on top of the pizza.

For the carnivores, the meat-lovers’ pizza calls out for a bold red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah. Those wines will complement the seasoned meat without getting lost in the intense flavors and textures of the pie. As always, texture is a key factor. The chewiness of those heavier wines matches nicely with the weightiness of the pizza.

When pepperoni stands alone — or is the dominant topping — try a Chianti or Montepulciano d’ Abruzzo. Chianti is a quintessential Italian wine exhibiting herbs and spices that go so well with the native cuisine, while Montepulciano provides a robust, rustic and spicy accompaniment to the pepperoni.

Veggie pizzas are the perfect match for Sauvignon Blanc or a dry Rosé. The green peppers, onions and spinach are a natural pairing for crisp, dry wines that often are reminiscent of vegetables. If olives are your thing, a Pinot Grigio or Grenache will pair nicely.

With a classic red sauce and cheese pizza, Barbera and Lambrusco are tops. Barbera comes from northern Italy, exhibits a nice acidity, and is lower in tannins than the heartier reds, yet it has the body that can stand up to the tomato sauce and cheeses. The sparkling red Lambrusco, usually served chilled, hails from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, a place famous for another great product: Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Here are a few suggestions of bottles to pick up when you take out. •SCM

Pighin Friuli Grave Pinot Grigio 2012
(#43576, $15.99)
This Italian import is floral in aroma and highlights tropical fruits, such as pineapple and banana.

Guido Porro Barbera d’Alba Santa Caterina 2014
(#44163, $16.99)
This Barbera from a fourth-generation winemaker is made from grapes grown in a sun-drenched vineyard with the kinds of soil that ensure a full-bodied wine.

Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva 2010
(#43777, $21.99)
This Italian red shows classic notes of herbs and spice with hints of plum and black cherry.

Robert D. Richards, CSW, is a Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society of Wine Educators and has passed the first-level certification of the prestigious Court of Master Sommeliers.

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