If we saved all of the “good” wine in our cellars for standout meals or special occasions, the majority of it would never be enjoyed. We are all for making any night of the week a special occasion, even if dinner consists of pizza, by opening an impressive bottle of wine. There’s a bit of a balancing act that goes on here; when it comes to pizza, wine should have enough acidity and freshness to hold up to tomato sauce in addition to medium to strong tannins that will cut through fatty cheese. Cabernet Sauvignon is a good choice, but if you’ve added spicy ingredients like pepperoni, sausage or Calabrian chilies, look for the softer tannins of wines made with Garnacha, Syrah, Merlot or Pinot Noir.
Pizza doesn’t always have to be a takeout affair. Many of us have specialized pizza ovens or high caliber ranges that can sublimely crisp a thin crust while expertly adding a touch of brown to melted mozzarella, and 00 Italian flour seems much easier to find in grocery stores or online these days. With no cardboard container in sight, we are thinking outside the pizza box and looking to regions other than Italy for wines that will pair perfectly with your next pizza.
Valduero 2014 Seis Años Reserva Premium Ribera Del Duero Spain
Gregorio García Alvarez founded Valduero in 1984 and today he runs the winery with the assistance of his two daughters Yolanda and Carolina. Valduero established itself early in Ribera del Duero and was one of the first wineries to concentrate on producing wines with long ageing potential. For example, this wine is aged in barrel for three years and then 30 months in bottle before being released to the market. It is garnet-ruby colored in the glass with aromas of butterscotch, English toffee and ripe dark fruits. It has flavors of dark raspberry, red plum and red currant with firm tannins and balanced acidity. There is a strong backbone of minerality with a finish that goes on and on.
J. Lohr Vineyards & Vines 2018 Signature Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles
This signature Cabernet Sauvignon was produced to commemorate the 80th birthday of founder Jerry Lohr. The blend is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon but there are small amounts of rare Bordeaux variety Saint-Macaire and Malbec. The grapes were grown in the Beck Vineyard which sits at high altitudes in the Creston District of Paso Robles. It is garnet colored with aromas of pencil lead, crushed violets and ripe black fruits. There is a pleasantly firm tannic structure with flavors of black currant, black plum and red raspberry.
Farella Vineyards 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Coombsville AVA Napa
In 2009 Tom Farella was one of the original winery owners to petition the federal government to recognize Coombsville as an independent American Viticultural Area. His efforts paid off in 2011 when Coombsville became Napa Valley’s 16th sub-AVA. This juicy wine is estate grown, produced and bottled, and has aromas of violet, pencil lead and cassis. It has flavors of ripe fruits especially black currant, red plum and black raspberry with grippy tannins and an enduring finish.
Torres 2020 Purgatori Red Blend Costers del Segre Spain
Grapes for this enticing red blend are grown on a high-altitude estate that was settled by Benedictine Monks in 1770 in the Costers del Segre wine region near Barcelona. It is a blend of Cariñena, Garnacha and Syrah. Malolactic fermentation occurs in oak barrels resulting in soft, velvety tannins. It has aromas of strawberry and violet in the bouquet and tastes of blackberry, raspberry and brown baking spices with a closing acidic lift.
J. Moss 2017 Steffensen Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Coombsville AVA Napa
Grapes for this delightful 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon were grown in the Steffensen Vineyard in Coombsville. They were hand harvested in October and fermented in open top vats with 2 or 3 punch downs per day. The wine was then aged in French barrels for 28 months. It is inky purple in the glass with aromas of black plum, dark cherries and a touch of crushed violet flowers. It is medium bodied on the palate with firm tannins and flavors of ripe dark fruits followed by a touch of cocoa powder in the finish.
Silverado Vineyards 2018 Abel Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District Napa
This wine is named for Abel McFarland, a saloon keeper and gold miner who became a landowner in 1872 and was one of the first grape growers along Silverado Trail in Napa Valley. It has brilliant garnet color with aromas of freshly picked red cherry, dried cranberry and rose petals. It is soft on entry with pronounced flavors of red plum, pomegranate, brown baking spices and dark chocolate. Medium bodied with silky tannins, it has a touch of dried savory herbs in the drawn-out finish.
Château de Saint Cosme 2019 Saint Cosme Côte-Rôtie Rhone Valley France
The Château of Saint Cosme is built on the site of an ancient Roman villa just north of the village of Gigondas. This namesake wine is made from 100 percent Syrah that is aged for one year in oak casks and then bottled without filtration. Floral aromas of rose and crushed violet and fruit aromas of red plum and red currant lead you to juicy flavors of ripe fruits on the palate. It is medium bodied with feathery tannins.
Domaine Pierre Gelin 2018 Fixin Premier Cru Clos Napoléon Burgundy France
Pinot Noir grapes for this elegant red wine are grown in the Clos Napoléon vineyard in Fixin, a lesser-known village in the Côtes de Nuits subregion of Burgundy. It is bright cherry red in the glass with aromas of freshly picked cherries, cinnamon and candied orange peel. It is medium bodied in the mouth with flavors of red fruits and brown baking spices. The tannins are velvety, and the finish is persistent.
Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia 2020 Bolgheri Italy
The second wine from the esteemed house of Ornellaia, Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. It is deep ruby colored in the glass with aromas of raspberry, red plum and red currant. It is elegant and full bodied with soft tannins and flavors of ripe red fruits. It has a strong backbone of minerality with just a touch of salinity in the finish.