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April 5, 2018

That’s Amore: Pizza Night in LA


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.

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you’re looking to Up Your Wine Game and Drink Better, consider booking a private in-person or virtual wine tasting experience.
Brianne Cohen Wine Educator
Brianne Cohen is a Los Angeles-based certified sommelier, wine educator, consultant, and writer.

Brianne has educated and entertained over 10,000 people through her in-person and virtual wine tasting experiences.

Brianne holds the WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Diploma certificate, one of the most coveted wine certifications in the world. When she’s not helping people Up Their Wine Game, she can be found judging at international wine competitions

Brianne aims to make wine approachable and conversational, to surprise and delight with unexpected wine finds, and to give people knowledge (and confidence) about wine in their everyday lives.

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Sample Policy

As a wine writer, I frequently accept samples for review on my  website and on my social media channels. Please contact me at to discuss sending samples for review. I promise to always be honorable with the samples. I will evaluate all wines in good tasting settings and with no distractions.

All reviews are my opinions, and mine only. Because of the volume of samples I receive, I cannot promise that all samples received will be reviewed, but I will do my best.

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