While there are many things currently dividing the country, there is one thing that the majority of us can agree on: pizza! Who doesn’t love a good slice of pizza…..and what better to go with pizza than a glass of wine. Many people get very confused and insecure about wine and food pairings. Is a wine food friendly? What do I drink with what food? What if I want to eat a steak but I don’t like red wine? There are many many wine and food pairing “rules”, but at the end of the day, YOU should drink and eat what YOU like. Don’t let some stuffy sommelier tell you that one thing will not work with the other. In the end, it only matters that you are happy.
With that being said, I have one tried and true rule to share in regards to food and wine pairings. Even if you know nothing about wine, you can still “Up Your Wine Game” by embracing this takeaway: like goes with like. This is whether you’re talking about structural elements (i.e. acidity, creaminess, etc) or place of origin. For example, if you’re eating something creamy (i.e. fettuccine alfredo), a nice creamy Chardonnay would generally work. Eating something tomato based or with a tomato sauce, go for a wine with higher acidity to match the acid in the tomatoes. And perhaps the easiest wine and food pairing trick? If you’re eating cuisine of a region, then drink the wine of that region! It’s not an accident that food and wine grown and made in the same area work well together.
Earlier this week I invited some friends over and tried my hand at making pizza and enjoying some Italian wines to go with the food. It was a perfect pairing!
I chopped up and prepped a ton of topping options: sauteed wild mushrooms, sauteed collards, sausage, pepperoni, prosciutto, ricotta, mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, onions, etc. Because we are in Los Angeles and ain’t nobody got time for carbs, we opted for Trader Joe’s cauliflower crust, which was delicious! The Cusumano wine worked perfectly with the pizza. I explained my “like with like” wine and food pairing philosophy with the group, and they thoroughly enjoyed the pairing. We also enjoyed a few other Italian reds with the pizza such as Lambrusco (a sparkling red served chilled), a Primitivo, and a Valpolicella Ripasso.
Cusumano Nero d’Avola 2015 Sicily IGT (Retail $8-$12)
Good fruit plus structure makes this a homerun for pizza. On the nose I got black plus red fruit (mostly berries), bramble, black pepper, and violets. This is a rustic wine that is perfect to enjoy casually on a weeknight.