(reprinted with permission)
LET’S PLAY MATCHMAKER WITH YOUR TWO FAVES
By Mia Lardiere
Out of all the things in life, pizza and wine are two reliable sources of comfort that always pull through when you need them the most. And when they’re paired properly? The resulting combination will provide a mind-blowing experience for your tastebuds.
Here, Brahm Callahan, Master Sommelier & Ribera del Duero and Rueda ambassador, played matchmaker and paired popular pizzas with affordable wines that are all under $20. Wind up your corkscrew and prepare to see sparks fly!
1. PEPPERONI PIZZA WITH TORRES CELESTE CRIANZA, $16.99
Pepperoni pizza is a party of spicy and salty flavors, which is why it pairs perfectly with a bold wine line Tempranillo. “Tempranillo — a black grape variety used to make full-bodied red wines — is filled with classic notes of cherry and blueberry jam, black fruit and smoky and roasted notes,” says Callahan.
For this pairing, he recommends Torres Celeste Crianza 2013. “Because of the black fruit and spice, the wine is able to compete with the fat content and flavor of the pepperoni.” Game, set, and match.
2. SPINACH AND ARTICHOKE PIZZA WITH FINCA TORREMILANOS MONTECASTRILLO ROSADO, $13.99
When it comes to spinach and artichoke pizza, Callahan says, “Rosé all day.” Washing down the earthy notes of this novelty pie with a floral Finca Torremilanost Montecastrillo Rosado will make you feel like you’re running through a forrest during a sweet, spring rain.
“This clean and bright blush is delicious with notes of orange, red and white flowers,” says Callahan. “The freshness of a clean Rosé is the perfect complement to the slightly nutty-but-sweet taste of artichokes and spinach.”
3. DEEP-DISH PIZZA WITH CHÂTEAU LA FREYNELLE BORDEAUX BLANC, $13.00
Callahan says that a white Bordeaux is the perfect complement to a buttery deep dish pizza. “The acidity is clean and fresh with a warm aftertaste that melts with your deep-dish bites,” he explains. Do you feel weak in the knees, too?
For this, Callahan recommends pairing your saucy deep dish with the 2013 Château La Freynelle Bordeaux Blanc.
4. BACON PIZZA WITH LOOSEN MOSEL KABINETT, $17.99
Bacon knows that it’s the indisputable MVP when it comes to flavor. Due to its robustness, Callahan suggests pairing the pie with an odd-dry Riesling, like Losen Mosel Kabinett 2016.
“It has just enough sugar but a great acidity that will cut through the richness of the bacon,” Callahan says. Bacon is a breakfast food, so I’d say it’s fair to eat this combo before noon and deem it a well-rounded breakfast.
5. EXTRA CHEESE PIZZA WITH ROMANTICA CRIANZA, $18.99
When you’re feeling extra cheesy, reach for a Tempranillo with notes of black fruit and licorice. “Since there aren’t any toppings involved, you can let the wine ‘speak’ while still enjoying the cheesy-buttery-ness of the pizza!” Callahan says.
He recommends Romantica Crianza 2013, a full-bodied red, that he describes as “silky and pleasant.” Sign me up.
6. MARGHERITA PIZZA WITH VICENTE SANZ CANADEREAL VERDEJO, $12.99
Margherita pizza is a low-key pie with a minimalist cast of toppings including fresh basil and buffalo mozzarella, so Callahan suggest that you match it with a bright white wine rather than a heavy red.
He recommends the Vicente Sanz Canadareal since it’s “light and crisp and has a bit of effervescence.” Like a bubble bath for your tongue!
7. TACO PIZZA WITH JADOT’S CHATEAU DE JACQUES, $12.99
Taco pizza is extra in the best way possible, so Callahan recommends it with a Beaujolais that can play emcee while he pizza takes center stage.
He suggest Jadot’s Chateau de Jacques 2016. “It’s very light with lots of fruit, so it can deal with some robust flavors!” Callahan says.
8. DESSERT PIZZA WITH LA SPINETTA MOSCATO D’ASTI BRICCO, $19.49
“Since dessert pizza is so decadent, I would want something refreshing like moscato,” says Callahan. His preferred pairing for this sweet and doughy indulgence is La Spinetta Moscato d’Asti Bricco, which has “plenty of rich ripe fruit but refreshing acidity.”
As an added bonus, this Moscato has a lower ABV (alcohol by volume) than other wines, so you can keep sipping it (responsibly) until your pizza is gone!