It’s that time again. No, not pumpkin spice season. It’s the annual pizza wine review.
There are two simple rules when it comes to picking a pizza wine. “Pizza wines” by definition — at least my definition — should be full of flavor and cost less than the actual pizza, so generally less than $20. In an attempt to help reduce the stress of having to make one more decision at the end of a busy day, here are four perfect picks to pair with pizza.
My wife loves white pizzas — particularly with caramelized onions. The 2016 Guigal Cotes du Rhone from the Rhone Valley in France is a wonderful Rhone varietal blend that will complement the sweetness of the onions and balance the richness of the cheese. Pretty scents of white flowers, orange blossom and acacia dominate the nose, while lush flavors of white peach, nectarine and apricot glide over a citrus-based frame. Noticeable notes of lemon/lime and bright acidity keeps the wine in focus and on the medium finish. $15
Another versatile pizza-loving white wine is the 2018 Burgans Albarino Rias Baixas Albarino from Spain. The wine is both refreshing and luscious at the same time. It features pretty scents of acacia and white peach, with notes of apricot, peach and spicy acidity. Supple hints of guava linger on the crisp and just enough acidity to cut through the creamy texture of the cheese. $15
I love pizzas piled high with all the meat toppings on the menu. Unfortunately, that combination usually results in a cacophony of spicy goodness and enough grease to lube a small fleet of cars. So, I look for a red wine that will have the ability to stand up to the flavorful challenge of the meat while providing enough structure to cut through the fat and grease that my napkin didn’t sop up.
The iron-fist-in-a-velvet-glove 2017 Clos de los Siete from the Mendoza region of Argentina was founded by legendary wine consultant Michel Rolland, along with a group of six Bordelaise partners. Using a combination of malbec, merlot, syrah, and cabernet sauvignon, Rolland crafts a wine that is massive and seductive at the same time. Scents of blackberries, dark cherries and black pepper fill the bouquet as flavors of blackberry, black olives and cassis liqueur coat the palate in waves of complexity. The superbly balanced finish highlights dark mocha notes that glide down the tongue with authority. $15
You can’t have a “pizza wine” article without including at least one Italian wine — and the 2016 Vicchiomaggio San Jacopo Chianti Classico from Chianti region of Tuscany, Italy, is a winner. Made from a blend of 90% Sangiovese grapes, this wine shouts out for pizza with flavors of black cherry, red plum, dried fruits and tobacco, with hints of baking spices and Earth on the bright finish. Its prominent tannins and focused acidity make it an ideal pizza companion. $16
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