Pizza and wine are delicious and each is a lot of fun on its own. In honor of this month’s cover story, I set out to find some that are even better together. I love making wine a more approachable and casual beverage.
If it makes your meal, the evening, and your company more enjoyable, then the wine has done its job. Pizza is not that difficult to pair with wine, and I’ve found a pour for virtually all types of pie.
Available at Tournament Liquor, 10901 NE Baltimore St., Blaine, 763-786-4992
Da Vinci Chianti 2004 (Tuscany), $13.99
From the vineyards surrounding the town of Vinci (Leonardo’s hometown) this bright, approachable wine, 85 percent sangiovese, is perfect for the fresh, clean style of your favorite Margherita pizza. The fresh strawberry and cherry tones on the nose and palate pair up beautifully with ripe Roma tomatoes and just-picked basil. Add fresh-cracked pepper to bring out the spice on the finish.
Murphy-Goode Liar’s Dice Zinfandel 2003 (Sonoma), $18.99
Deep, dark, and spicy, this wine is a nose and mouthful, with big blackberry and black cherry fruit alongside white peppery spice and a hint of smoke. Have an Italian sausage and spicy pepperoni pizza ready.
Lys de Volan Condrieu 2004 (Condrieu, France), $39.99
If you are going for white pizza, you owe yourself a white wine as well, and this viognier is it! A spectacular choice, with flowers, melon, and honeysuckle notes, it will go beautifully with the creamy flavors of a tomatoless pie with oil, garlic, and lots of cheese. Throw some peaches on it for an even better pairing with this great wine.
Secco-Bertani Valpolicella Valpantena Ripasso 2002 (Veneto, Italy), $16.99
Break out the Gorgonzola, spiced walnuts, and grilled pears for your trendy gourmet pizza, because I have the perfect wine to go with it. This red blend of three relatively obscure grapes (corvina, molinara, and rondinella) is nutty and spicy, with a touch of earthiness and a lasting finish. Yum!
Tinto Pagos de Peñafiel Reserva 2000 (Ribera del Duero, Spain), $22.99
Big, lush, and complex, this wine is well made and a needed addition to any big red wine lover’s cellar. It has dark plum, blackberry, and cassis fruit balanced with earth and oak. The 100 percent tinto fino grape goes on and on to a sumptuous finish. Pair with a pizza with everything: spicy meats and lots of vegetables over a deep red sauce.