Feb. 20, 2013 - Issue #905: DOA No more - Trading in punk for politics
A dynamic duo ... potentially
If paired right, pizza and wine can go hand-in-hand
Not every wine works, however: pizza is an incredibly varied dish —pretty much any type of food can be sprinkled over a crust and baked, so the variation of pizza types is endless.
The following are some general rules to follow when choosing a wine to go with your next slice.
1. Play matchmaker: try to match the predominant flavours in a wine with those on the pizza.
2. Balance is key, but acidity is better: pick a wine that isn't overwhelmingly fruity, tannic or acidic—but make sure the acidity isn't too low, as this is needed to cut through the grease and cleanse your palate between bites.
3. More toppings means more problems: it's best to pair wine with pizza that has only two or three toppings, versus a smorgasbord with a dozen different flavours.
4. When in Rome: a common wine pairing tip is to pair it with food from the same area of the world—and where pizza is concerned, this holds very true; many Italian wines are great partners to pizza.
5. When in doubt, go with bubbles: sparkling wine is a great fall-back partner that pairs with a vast array of foods, especially greasy dishes, as the bubbles are an effective palate cleanser. It may sound weird, even sacrilegious, to drink Champagne with pizza, but don't knock it 'till you try it.
Chianti is a classic choice for pairing with pizza, especially with thin crust varieties topped with minimal ingredients. Chianti is high in acidity so it can stand up to the acidity in tomatoes, and also has herbal undertones that complement the basil and oregano commonly added to pizza sauce and dough.
Dolcetto is another Italian wine that's also one of the greatest matches to tomato-based dishes. Since it is light in body, high in acidity and quite fruity, pair Dolcetto with any tomato-based pizzas, especially those adorned by olives, mushrooms, salami or prosciutto.
Valpolicella and Sangiovese are two other prime candidates for pizza pairing. Valpolicella is soft and round, low in tannins, almost sweet and a little spicy, while Sangiovese is a little more robust with black fruits and slightly higher tannins. Valpolicella can stand up to salty pizza toppings like capers, anchovies and feta cheese, while Sangiovese can handle hearty toppings like sausage, pepperoni, roasted peppers and parmesan.
Outside Italy, Cabernet Franc is a fine choice for pairing with pizza as it has juicy red fruit flavours and a streak of herbal (sometimes vegetal) undertones. Pair it with pizzas featuring pepperoni, green pepper, spinach and any other green veggies.
One further thing to keep in mind when choosing wine to pair with pizza: some toppings are deal-breakers. If you like it hot and tend to load your pizza with anything spicy (banana peppers, jalapeños, hot sauce), don't even bother with wine—trust me, it will all end up tasting thin and acidic. The same thing goes with most dipping sauces, especially the creamy ones, as well as pizzas with a massive amount of cheese. Some cheese is fine, but if that's the only thing on your slice, most wines just won't work. V vueweekly.com comments: powered by Disqus
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