Pizza and wine - does it get any better than that?
I had a stint working at a pizzeria in California some years ago. It was a 'modern Californian style' joint serving up not-quite-authentic pizzas, but I did learn how to make great pizza dough. And that turns out to be one of life's essential skills, as homemade pizza is a fabulous comfort food.
Pizzas do come in such a variety now. Some are crispy, some are bready. There are fusion styles with exotic ingredients. One thing I don't get is barbeque sauce on a pizza. It's like sticking a bumper sticker on a Maserati - just wrong. But maybe one day I'll understand the logic of putting barbeque or satay sauce on a pizza.
Matching wine with pizza doesn't need to be precise. A good medium-bodied red will do. Naturally, many Italian wines do the trick. They have relatively high acidity and firm-ish tannins, especially the ones from the central and northern parts, making them work brilliantly against cheese and other rich flavours.
Wines with strong fruity flavours are fine too, if you have spicy, meaty pizzas. Although I tend to stick with my medium-bodied red without too much oak or dense fruit characters.
Young reds are pleasant and supple, but try a wine with 2-3 years of age, or more. They have developed lovely savoury notes together with silkier mouthfeel. And they enhance the flavours of salami and pepperoni, and other aged meat flavours.
I still prefer a red with a seafood pizza. My favourite, shellfish and garlic (and there's no such thing as too much garlic), is so loaded with flavour and richness, that a red works perfectly. If you are a white wine drinker then try a dry pinot gris or a light-bodied Chardonnay.
There are many other wine styles, so don't limit yourself to Italian, or any other wine for that matter. It's all about enjoying the casualness and drinking what you love.Volupta Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2010 $14.00
It's hard to go pass Montepulciano for great value for money. This is a satisfying red displaying black cherry, plum and spice aromas followed by a succulent palate, showing rounded texture and lovely fruit intensity, finishing long and smooth. (Importer: Wine Direct - winedirect.co.nz)Rojo Garnacha 2010 $15.00
An excellent Spanish red with plenty of appealing fruit flavours with gentle game/savoury notes. It's supple and smooth, and gently dry on the finish, making it a great anytime wine. Have it with pizzas and tapas, and anything else you love. (Importer: Bennett & Deller - email@example.com)Leonardo Chianti 2010 $18.00
It's beautifully rounded with an aromatic bouquet showing red/black cherry, savoury mushroom and spice characters. The palate is juicy and silky with lovely mid palate weight and fine-grained tannins providing a pleasant dry finish. (Importer: Eurovintage - eurovintage.co.nz)Da Vinci Chianti 2010 $21.00
A delightful modern expression of Chianti that shows red/black cherry, game, spice and floral characters on the nose. The palate is ripe and nicely weighted with excellent fruit intensity and smooth texture, finishing firm and dry, as a good Chianti should. Very approachable and enjoyable. (Importer: Eurovintage - eurovintage.co.nz)Trinity Hill Hawke's Bay Merlot 2010 $22.00
Deep red/purple in colour, this young Merlot is impressively fruited, displaying dark plum, blueberry and game characters on the nose. The palate is medium-full and velvety with excellent fruit richness and plenty of ripe tannins. It's fleshy, polished and most appealing. (trinityhill.com)Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2007 $27.00
This is seriously good. Beautifully refined and velvety, the wine shows ripe red/dark plum, floral and spice notes with a hint of game complexity. It’s flowing and fleshy on the palate, finishing elegantly dry. This is also amazing with winter slow-cooked dishes. (Importer: Negociants NZ - negociantsnz.com)