what wine to pair with pizza

Lioco Chardonnay and Hall Wines Jacks MasterpieceAfter a long hard day of working in the yard all day Sunday to take our backyard back from the weeds and over-grown grass we broke down and ordered some awesome pizza from Flying Squirrel Pizza instead of spending an extra energy in the kitchen.

Now what do you pair with pizza after a hard day in the yard. Well if you are most people you probably have a few daily drinkers around that run anywhere from $5-20.

Some great examples:

As you’ll see a great deal of my go to wines are from Walla Walla, Yakima, Columbia Valleys with some international flavor thrown in. If you were to pop down and check out our cellar (well – really just some wine racks from Storables sitting in an unfinished basement) you’d see a sprinkling of these wines and then a whole heap of other randomness that doesn’t break the bank.

Best way to avoid breaking the bank is to check out values at the local wine shop, join a wine club, talk to your friends for suggestions, find a $30-40 bottle you like at a restaurant and then stock up, keep pestering me for suggestions, or hit up the illustrious Paul Zitarelli at Full Pull Wines (the man is a genius when it comes to wine value and wine awesomeness).

Normally, I try to keep a daily drinker under $20-15 a bottle if I can, but sometimes I just feel the urge to splurge and go a bit higher than the $20 price point. This probably happens more often than I’d like to admit and last night just so happened to be a night where I went off the proverbial rails.

Lioco 2010 Russian River Chardonnay First off – we polished off an amazing Lioco Russian River Chardonnay (order here) that I picked up at the The Wine Shop in Bend, Oregon on vacation a couple weeks ago. This was absolutely luscious and delicious to calm down after a day of hard yard work. The reviews on wine searcher and other places are spot-on – some highlights here:

  • “Amazing, what Cali chard should be ! One of the most exciting domestic Chardonnay I’ve had. Low alcohol, high acid, rich and concentrated citrus and fruits, subtle spice and mineral favors. No oak and butter business here. Dynamic, Perfectly proportioned and absurdly delicious.” EVANMD
  • “White peach, incredibly balanced acid with an oaky vanilla finish. Very well done!” RUDDEROWB

Now that I’ve stumbled across Lioco wines I’ll be adding heaps of these to the empty shelves in my basement, once I’m not spending so much money on diapers for the twins (so that’ll be never…).

But the real treat of the evening was stumbling in to the basement fully exhausted and picking out a wine we hadn’t tried yet. Normally, we buy at least 3 bottles of each wine we want to try – so I’m less guilty to at least try one bottle before cellaring the other two for months or years depending on what is called for. I thought a nice Cabernet Sauvignon sounded delicious to go with some pizza and thus I grabbed a bottle of Hall Wines Cabernet Sauvignon.

Hall Wines 2009 Jacks MasterpieceAfter traipsing upstairs and cutting the foil and unsealing the cork did I stop and think – hmmm… maybe this is one of the really special bottles from Hall that I should have saved. Well the damage was done at that point and we had a bottle of Hall Wines 2009 Jack’s Masterpiece Cabernet Sauvignon (order here) opened and ready for us to enjoy. The first sniff after pouring out a taste cemented my fears that I opened a ridiculously good bottle of wine to pair with pizza. A quick check on Hall Wines website confirmed my fears – I just paired a $125 bottle of wine with a Flying Squirrel Pizza – and felt like a complete baller.

As we continued to enjoy sip by sip of the wine – savoring each drop of this precious elixir – we witnessed it open up and pair beautifully with the spicy pepperoni and succulent pork+veal meatballs on our pizza. And, as the hours passed the wine continued to evolve in to a smooth velvety magical wonderland of flavors and enjoyment. I found myself sitting back swirling and watching the legs on the wine slowly linger towards the bowl of the glass and rejoin the wine awaiting my lips.

I could go on, and on, and on, about this wine – but I’ll save you my adoration and will share some reviews from Cellar Tracker:

While, the earlier bottle suggestions are great options to take the edge off of a hard day in the yard.

The Lioco and the Hall Wines bottles are exceptional options for unwinding no matter what kind of day you’ve had – be it rough and tough or amazing and worthy of a fantastic celebration.

Don’t be afraid to treat yourself with a special bottle every now & again to keep your taste buds entertained and to continue to stoke your taste buds excitement for a great bottle of wine.

Up next – subtle differences can make a great dish a horrible dish or turn a lackluster dish in to a brilliant masterpiece.

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