Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wine with Pizza

I make pizza.  It's good pizza, not great.  My family says I'm a work in progress.  I guess that means I'm getting better at it as I go along.  My crust is either a simple homemade recipe or Publix Bakery pizza dough.  I grease the pan with olive oil, spread the dough, and then spread fresh spinach on top of the dough.  In season I will slice fresh garden tomatos next, to weigh down the springy spinach.  The following ingredients then follow: mushrooms, onions, bell pepper, artichokes, olives, garbanzo beans, and jalapeno peppers.  Please realize I don't always have or use all of these same ingredients so it varies each time. 

Since this is the store blog, you should know that Vine & Cheese has absolutely wonderful pepperoni and Greek mixed olives that work great for your own homemade pizza.  We also offer fresh Mozzarella balls, and Pecarino and Parmesan for your own pleasurable grating at home.  That last part was an attempt at humor since that process is a real knuckle-buster. 

I'm from Chicago so the sauce goes on top and I am not particularly brand loyal in this area.  Anything that says "traditional" is okay with me and please go easy on the application of the sauce because it can get soupy if you go too heavy.  Bake for 20-25 minutes and "Voila!", it's Pizzarific!  Eh, sometimes.

Now if there is one wine pairing that I have historically been downright adamant about, it is that Italian red wine must be on the table for Italian cuisine.  Always in the past, forevermore in the future...unless I have an open bottle of anything that needs to be drunk up in the fridge.  It only makes sense, right?  And if it's summer and you have an unopened bottle of Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc in there then that's your pizza wine, right?  Convention be damned!

I think though, that my dogmatic Italian red-only rule may be entering the "endangered list" zone.  Last Friday we tasted Blackburn California Zinfandel here at the store and I remember thinking that it may work with my pizza.  This week I tasted Michel Torino Coleccion Pinot Noir from Argentina and I thought that may work with my pizza.  Freakin' Pinot Noir!  What's going on here!  I'm sixty years old and if I am to believe what I read in the media, I should be getting more set in my ways.

In fairness, Zinfandel was originally an Italian grape and it has an inherently fruity flavor so that one sort of makes sense and the Argentine Pinot is a round, earthy style that I naturally gravitate toward and not the prototypical light and lean French style.  Moreover, my pizza is so busy with spicy flavors that these two non-Italian examples actually do make sense contextually...but something here just ain't right.

Society must have rules or we will inevitably lapse into chaos, right?  The first rule that could lead down that slippery slope may be the "Italian red wine with pizza" rule.  What if this is the first chink in the armor of civilization?  What if by lapsing on the Italian Red Wine Rule, we metaphorically fall asleep and something like the pods in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" take over.  What if we turn into zombies!  (I guess we don't have to worry about craving pizza then.)  I've gotta take a stand here and now.  No more deviating from the norm.  We're back to Italian-only and all you who seek to destroy the gastronomic order...begone!  This ain't no free-for-all!  We have rules.  Now excuse me while I take a chill pill.

This Friday from 5 to 7pm Christy Dart of Gusto Brands joins us here to taste out the French Rhone-style Rocca Maura white and rose, Cuevas del Sur Chilean Carmenere and Sauvignon Blanc, Tossals Spanish Red Blend and El Xamfra Cava, and a certain Lambrusco Rose.  This sounds like a fun tasting so please tell your friends and join us for this one.  By the way, I understand all of these fine wines will go with pizza just fine.  There, I said it.  I'll be alright now.  Whew!


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