What’s Up Lunch? Edition II: The Pizza Files

Pizza and Wine? Yeah, I know, not exactly “interesting” or “unorthodox.” (To see the manifesto for this tasting series, you can click here). But this wasn’t just any pizza!

First off, it was topped with spinach, a somewhat notorious pairing option due to its intense green-ness and astringency. Add a garden-lode’s worth of large chunks of chopped garlic, and you’re in interesting and potentially challenging territory. But that wasn’t all!

Just to make things even more fun, this was no ordinary crust; it was a corn crust! A uniquely provocative pairing test because of both its sweetness, and its comparative granularity.

So it was game on, needless to say …

And so I started with my two wines: Lytton Springs, and Monte Bello. Which, at face value, might seem like an unfair pairing, but more closely inspected, everything is possibly not what it seems, depending on your personal rendition of conventional wisdom. For example:

If you come from the “Duh, Monte Bello is, like, world-famous, and totally expensive” side of the tracks, than obviously this would seem an unfair set-up; pitting a $35 zinfandel against a $145 legendary bordeaux-blend. But on the other hand, if you’re in the “Duh, pizza and wine is, like, Bert and Ernie, Joanie and Chachie, peanut butter and chocolate (you got your chocolate in my peanut butter!!!)” camp, then this would seem an equally unfair set-up; no way a cab blend is going to best zinfandel when it comes to pizza pairing!

The point being, is that I truly had no idea what would pair best …

And guess what? Neither of them did! I mean, neither was a bad pairing, but solutions to the particular challenges of this particular pizza proved elusive for both wines, so I had to — reluctantly, of course! — pull in a third wine …

Yes, it was Enter The Geyserville time, and I am happy to report that the pairing was perfect! The intense secondary and tertiary herb & spice layers in the Geyserville were a perfect match for the spinach and garlic, and the comparatively leaner, more acidity-driven backbone took on the sweetness of the masa in fine form, while the luxuriant fruit of the 2009 zinfandel harvest wrapped itself around the crust’s granularity in most reassuring fashion.


Stay tuned for another episode of “What’s Up, Lunch?”!

Categories: Food & Wine Pairing, Geyserville, Lytton Springs, Monte Bello

Tags: , ,

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