Wine of the Week: The annual pizza-wine review

WASHINGTON — Where did the summer go? And how did we get all the way through the unbearable heat and humidity of August — which actually wasn’t as torrid as usual this year — and slide so quickly into September and the hustle and bustle associated with deadlines at work and school bus schedules?

I vaguely recall getting some relief from the summertime blues with the help of assorted crisp white wines and a few bubbles here and there. But now we’re back into the thick of it, with rush-hour traffic and constant reminders of impending homework assignments and deadlines at the office.

With demands on our time piling up like cars on the Beltway at rush hour, sometimes the best course of action one can take to regain some modicum of relief is to simply order a pizza and open a decent bottle of wine. That’s were the annual pizza-wine review comes to the proverbial rescue of harried households everywhere.

While my wife and I don’t always agree on the type of wine we like to enjoy with our favorite pie, we do agree on two simple rules: “Pizza wines,” by definition, should be full of flavor and cost less than the pizza (generally less than $20).

So, in an attempt to help reduce the stress of having to make one more decision at the end of a busy day, here are our picks for the perfect wine to go with pizza.

My wife, Cindy, is a big fan of white pizzas, particularly when topped with caramelized onions, so she prefers a white wine that will compliment the sweetness of the onions and balance the rich cheese flavors. The 2016 Mastroberardino Greco Campania IGT from Italy is a good match with white pizza. Pretty scents of melon, grapefruit and roasted nuts fill the nose while lush flavors of peach, apricot and nectarine glide over a citrus-based frame in the mouth. The noticeable acidity keeps the wine in focus and cuts through the creaminess of the cheese, while notes of lemon/lime accent the crisp finish. $15

Another winner with white pizza is the 2014 Corvezzo Pinot Grigio from the Veneto region of Italy. This wine is both refreshing and luscious at the same time, showing off peaches and nectarines on the floral nose. Fleshy flavors of apple, apricot and peach play on a weighty frame that feels rich and supple in the mouth. Hints of crushed stone add an interesting dimension to the finish and compliment spicier additions to your favorite pie. $16

I am a traditionalist who loves a good red sauce pizza loaded with a variety of pepperoni, sausage, ham and black olive, so my favorite red wines have to hold up to both the weight of the meat and spiciness of the sauce. The 2012 Don Tomasi Nero D’Avola from Sicily, Italy, is one of my favorite “pizza wines.” Nero d’Avola is one of Italy’s most important red wine grapes and produces a rustic, easy-to-drink wine. This juicy wine offers tons of ripe black cherries and dark raspberry fruit on the aromatic nose. The fresh fruit flavors of dark plum and red cherry maintain balance and depth, thanks to the soft tannins and bright acidity. Best of all, it’s only $12.

The 2013 Poggio a Tufo Rompicollo from the Chianti region of Italy is a modern Super Tuscan, greatly influenced by the region’s coastal climate. It’s a blend of traditional Sangiovese (Chianti) and cabernet sauvignon. Aged in Slavonian oak rather than French oak barrels, it is remarkably approachable for a Super Tuscan and is ready to drink now with your favorite pizza Margarita. Attractive aromas of plums and red cherry follow through to a medium-bodied frame, where mature red-berry fruit is complemented by abundant acidity. $18

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