Shana Speaks Wine

Wine Marketing Consultant and Journalist

Drinking out loud. 

Pizza! Pizza! (and more dessert)

New York is a pizza town.  From the classic slice to the gourmet pie, nearly every international style of pizza is represented.  Neapolitan?  Grandma square?  Dollar slice drunkenly consumed on the street corner?  We've got 'em all.

Wine enthusiasts often debate what's the best wine to pair with pizza and more often than not, Italian wines reign supreme. With their high acidity, Italian wines are very complementary to the tomato-based dish. It also harks back to one of my general rules of thumb: when in doubt, pair like with like.  A wine from the same country of origin as the cuisine will match well. Yes, you can start to drill down to specific regions and grapes and debate what goes best with all those fancy toppings, but in general, Italian wines are a sure thing.

A recent Saturday night brought us to a new place, Sotto 13.  Perusing the wine list, we opted for a Valpolicella, a red from the Veneto region of Italy.  This wine was produced in the Ripasso method, meaning that a percentage of the grapes were dried out on mats for weeks (a technique called Passito) in order to increase natural sugars and flavors.  These grapes are then fermented with other grapes in order to increase the intensity and flavor profiles of the wines.

So, did it work with pizza?  You bet.

Impero Valpolicella Superior, Ripasso, 2009

This wine was a blend of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara  grapes, very traditional for a Valpolicella. Immediately, this wine revealed plums, raisins and cherries, along with some black tea and earthy notes.  It was juicy and round with notable wood tannins. The acidity of the tomato sauce mellowed out the wine's acid levels and a rich, complex wine, with a slight chocolate essence at the end, emerged.


I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, but after, we went to Minetta Tavern for that infamous soufflé.  Yep, two weeks in a row.  Feel free to stage an intervention at any point.

(this sucker didn't even stand a chance)

With it, we paired a Michele Chiarlo Moscato d'Asti.  The beautifully perfumed notes of orange blossom, honeysuckle, candied apricot and honey matched the gooey chocolatey center of the soufflé perfectly.  Heaven.

Keep tasting, friends....