If the famous Italian pie isn’t the number one food in America, I guess it’s pretty close. Everybody talks pizza. Thick crust, thin crust, what toppings, what sauce.
We love it for dinner, lunch, picnic, birthday party or sport game. Pizza is part of our life and fun for years.
I like my pizza quite simple, with thin and yummy crust, topped with mushrooms and sausage. Is that the greatest pizza? Is it authentic? I have no idea. To me it is.
For a long time my favorite pizza was made by an Albanian family in a small town in CT. Their pizza was just great (well, it still is – I will send you a contact, if interested). New Yorkers swears that you don’t know what pizza means until you tasted one city’s specials.
So what makes pizza to taste good?
Is it choice of toppings, is it sauce or dough? I am sure all of it is important for the final result. But to bring your pizza to the next level, I say: what you drink with it, makes good pizza taste really good!
Are you having a coke with your pie? Non è buona idea! It just kills the flavors of your favorite toppings you picked. Don’t believe me? Compare your pie when you have a sip of coke, soda, milk, sweet lemonade or tea. Not the best combinations, unless you are 12 years old.
How about beer? That cuts some of the fat down and it works fine. Even better, pair your pizza with red wine. That’s how Italians do it. And believe me, they know what is good! A glass of red wine with lunch and dinner – and some more later on, with friends. Red wine works great with the tomato sauce, that is base for so many Italian recipes.
Watching budget and don’t want to spend a lot of money on wine? You don’t have to!
Here are 5 great value red wines that would pair well with your pizza pie, all under $ 10.00 a bottle:
(the prices might vary from state to state)
1. Coltibuono Cetamura Chianti, Tuscany, Italy ($9.99 retail)
Made by family Stucchi in Badia a Coltibuono, located in a beautiful monastery, in the heart of Tuscany. The monastery’s first records go back to 1000ce, and the Stucchi’s ancestors purchased it in 1841.
Cetamura chianti is made from 90% Sangiovese and 10% Caniaolo, fermented in stainless steel. Easy to drink, medium body wine with rich flavors of red berries fruit and good balance of tannins and acidity.
Wine Advocate: Terrific value for 2005 vintage, Gambero Rosso “Oscar del Vino” for 2004 vintage. Great value for the price!
2. Di Majo Norante Sangiovese,
North of the Gargano in Molise, Italy ($8.99 retail)
Di Majo Norante winery is located on the estate of the Marquis Norante of Santa Cristina, which has been dedicated to the cultivation of vines since the 1800s. In the second half of 20th century a modern cantina was constructed and vines were replanted.
Di Majo Norante Sangiovese is made from organically grown, 100% Sangiovese. Ruby red, with notes of ripe red fruit and violets. Full body wine, fruity, round and complex.
Wine Advocate: 90 points for 2008 vintage wrote:
“The 2008 Sangiovese Terre degli Osci is an incredibly delicious, full-bodied wine with gorgeous clarity and definition. Made in a bold, fruit-driven style, the wine offers terrific depth and a long, polished finish. This harmonious red is a knockout!”
3. Cortijo III. Tinto, Rioja, Spain ($7.99 retail)
Produced by D.S. Londono in Rioja, this wine truly is an excellent bargain! 80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha is aged in stainless steel to expose the true character of these wines. Bright purple-ruby color, with spicy currant and cherry in aroma.
This is a vibrant, fresh red wine light-medium in body, with lovely spice (black peper and light cinnamon) notes on the palate. Long finish with lots of red fruit.
4. Luzon, Jumilla, Spain ($8.99)
Bodegas was founded by the Gil family in 1916, located in Southern Spain at 2,100 ft in elevation. Stones almost completely cover the ground to the depth of 18 inches. With little or no rainfall, vines undergo a great stress because of temperature fluctuations on daily basis. Add the constant struggle for nutrition and water and it’s a great recipe for outstanding, low yield vineyard.
Luzon is a composition of 65% Monastrell and 35% Syrah. Wine is dark ruby color, with aroma of blackberries and jammy dark fruits. On the palate it opens into mellow, fruity yet spicy wine with smooth tannins.
5. Cabrini Malbec, Argentina ($8.99)
Enjoy your favorite pizza! This time, just like Italians do, with great and smooth glass of red.
P.S. By the way, my worse pizza was served to me in Montefalcone, town in Northern Italy. It wasn’t their fault – we arrived hungry in the middle of “siesta” and all restaurants were closed. The only bar opened served just simple food. Not knowing any Italian, we were little surprised that they didn’t ask us, what kind of pizza we wanted.
When piece of thick dough arrived, covered just with tomato sauce and oregano – I got it. It didn’t have any taste. But I didn’t care. When you are hungry, you eat anything. Not even sweet Moscato, they served it with, could make it any better.
Well, next time I have to visit a real Italian Ristorante or Trattoria to improve my Italian memories.