Pizza Wine: Perfect Pairings for Your Pie

Liza, Jeff and I chat about pairing pizza and wine on Global TV’s Morning Show (while the cameramen and studio crew edge in ever closer to the set).

Click on the arrow to watch the video above.

Queen Margherita Pizzeria made these mouth-wateringly delicious pizzas fresh and hot, featuring first the classic Margherita Pizza.

This pizza was named in honor of Queen Margherita, the wife of King Umberto I, in 1889, when the couple visited Naples and wanted to taste the local pie.

Margherita PizzaQueen Margherita Pizzeria’s Margherita Pizza

A chef selected patriotic toppings with the colors in the Italian flag: white mozzarella, fresh red tomatoes, and aromatic green basil leaves.

Ruffino Lumina Pinot Grigio 2014Ruffino Lumina Pinot Grigio 2014
Venezie I.G.T., Italy

Zesty Italian white wines cut through the fat and saltiness of the mozzarella that is the main ingredient of this pizza classic.

Red wines and rosés with good acidity can handle pizza too; and they stand up to the tangy tomatoes, olives, and pepperoni. The classic regional pairings for pizza with tomato sauce are Italian reds such as chianti, barbera, or barolo.

All of Queen Margherita Pizzeria’s tomatoes are of the deeply flavoured bittersweet San Marzano variety and even have their own certification of quality: Protected Designation of Origin (DOP).

That’s just like wine’s Denominazione di Origine (DOC) or the name of origin, the Italian appellation designation of where the wines are made and how they’re made, with strict regulations and quality guidelines.

The mild/milky fior di latte is made in the style of fresh mozarella.Modus Ruffino 2011

There are two main categories of pizza: Bianco and Rosso. Bianco pizza is made with a white sauce or base, such as olive oil and/or cheese. Rosso pizza has a base of red sauce: tomato sauce.

Modus Ruffino 2011

Tuscany I.G.T., Italy

Next up, Liza tasted the “Birdman Pizza” named not for the movie, but rather for the fact it has sesame seeds on the pie (aka bird food).

It’s cooked with lightly bitter kale and sweet cherry tomatoes. Toasted sunflower seeds add crunch and a hint of peanut flavour. Topped with parmesan cheese adding a nutty/fruity flavour and garlic aioli.

pizza tomato basil 620Next up, Jeff dug into “The Dominator,” a pizza cooked with bittersweet San Marzano tomatoes, bitter rapini, spicy fennel sausage and smoked mozzarella.

Pizza and Wine Global Nov 2015With Chris and Chef Matt from Queen Margherita Pizzeria before the show.

This wine calls for (demands) a full-bodied red wine with rich, deep flavours and the heft to muscle in beside the pizza so that one doesn’t dominate the other.

The DominatorYes, it’s sacrilege in terms of Italian pizza purists, but I had to mention Hawaiian pizza, topped with ham and pineapple.

pizza hawaiian close

The other pizzas on the table included some marvelous combinations:

Cinque Stagione, cooked with spicy flavoured zuchinni, sweet red bell peppers, mild milky fior di latte and garlic. Topped with a slightly salty and firm ricotta salata and truffle oil adding a earthy smell of mushrooms.

Alla, cooked with a sharp and mild/milky asiago cheese, oyster mushroom, garlic and tart flavour of goats cheese.

Cropped shot of a group of friends enjoying pizza together

Gio, cooked with San Marzano tomatoes, sweet cherry tomatoes and mild/milky fior di latte. Topped with sweet/salty thin sliced prosciutto di parma and peppery taste of arugula.

Gio Oldschool

Pizzas come in many varieties and so do the complementary wines.

“Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is wine. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.”
– Dave Barry

Clos Du Bois Rouge 2012

 

 

 

Clos Du Bois Rouge 2012
California, United States

 

 

Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2014

 

 

 

Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Marlborough, New Zealand

 

 

pizza cheese margherita

Cusumano Noa 2012

 

 

Cusumano Noà 2012
Sicily D.O.C., Italy

 

 

 

Henry of Pelham Cuvee Catherine Rose Brut

 

 

Henry of Pelham Cuvee Catherine Rose Brut
Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada

 

 

 

Folie A Deux Zinfandel 2012

 

 

Folie À Deux Zinfandel 2012
Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California, United States

 

 

 

Georges Duboeuf

 

 

Georges Duboeuf Morgon Cote De Py 2011
Burgundy, France

 

 

 

 

Queen Margherita Pizzeria has three locations in Toronto:

QMP West (Baby Point) 785 Annette Street
Toronto, ON M6S 2E4
(647) 345-4466

QMP Central (Dundas West) 772 Dundas Street West
Toronto, ON M6J 1V1
(647) 748-4666

QMP East (Leslieville) 1402 Queen Street East
Toronto, ON M4L 1C9
(416) 466-6555

Posted with permission from Global Television.

 

Pizza Wine: Perfect Pairings for Your Pie

Liza: Whether you’re planning a night in front of the TV or dinner out at a restaurant, you can never go wrong with a slice of pizza and a glass of wine but what wine should you pair? Editor of wine review site nataliemaclean.com is here to give us some suggestions and joining us now. I’ve been living for this all morning long.  It looks so incredible.

Natalie: Hard hitting research here.

Liza: I know, this looks amazing.

Jeff: Well talk to us a bit about pairing wine with pizza because normally I think most people think of pizza like, “This is pub grub and I’ll have a beer.”

Natalie: Just as many other foods have been sort of elevated to wine pairings, we think of pasta or fried chicken, well, pizza goes equally well with wine and it’s all about the toppings. To our right is the Margherita pizza which is the original Neapolitan pizza provided by Queen Margherita Pizzeria right here in Toronto.

Liza: Yes, it’s the Neapolitan style that is like crazy good.

Natalie: It’s in honour of Queen Margherita and a patriotic chef who put the colours of the Italian flag on the pie. You have the fresh basil … green, you have mozzarella …  white and you have the fresh tomatoes … red.

Jeff: So, when you’re thinking about the wine that you’re pouring here, it is to pair, obviously, with those toppings?

Natalie: Yes. So you have a zesty white wine here that’s going to cut through the richness of the mozzarella, the acidity for the tomatoes. It should work, does it work?

Liza: Yes.

Natalie: Okay good. You paused! You’re killing me.

Liza: It worked so well.

Natalie: Okay.

Jeff: Liza has not met a wine she doesn’t like.

Liza: That might be true.

Jeff: Okay.

Liza: What a pairing!

Jeff: Alright, what do we have next to it?

Natalie: We have the Birdman, not named for the movie. The pizzeria had it first … it’s because it has sunflower seeds so, bird food. We have some wilted kale, some aioli, again some fresh mozzarella.

Liza: Well I tried this end of the table.

Natalie: Exactly.

Jeff: If we have time …

Liza: Yes, we,ll get to your end…

Natalie: After our commercial break.

Jeff: Yes.

Natalie: I have a zesty wine you may be familiar with, the Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc. It has the sort of herbal almost asparagus, canned peas in a glass. It will go nicely with that kale if you want to try it.

Liza: Alright.

Natalie: She’s doing a lot of work over there.

Liza: I know.

Jeff: Give it one for the team, thank you we appreciate.

Natalie: Jeff, I’ve got the Dominator for you.

Jeff: The Dominator?

Natalie: Yes.

Liza: Alright.

Jeff: Okay, let’s do it.

Natalie: So this is their full-on robust pizza. I just have to share the menu with you, here. It has fennel sausage, rapini, smoked mozzarella and fried chili oil.

Liza: Wow.

Jeff: You have me at sausage.

Natalie: Exactly, get right in there. So, we’re looking at a full-on, full-bodied red wine like a Southern Italian red wine from Sicily.

Liza: Right.

Natalie: They know how to do pizza and wine there. Here we go.

Jeff: Okay, because we have sausage and a little spicy dancing in there …

Natalie: Yes spicy, so you want big red fruit, you want some spice, some toasty oak. See if that one works for you. You could also go with a California Zinfandel. This is often the ultimate pizza wine…

Liza: Okay.

Natalie: Because it has those berries, those dark plums, the juiciness, the spiciness.

Liza: So when you’re going for a heavier pizza?

Natalie: Exactly.

Liza: You get into that.

Natalie: And pizza in general, you know it’s pretty flavourful. Even the milder pizzas have a lot going on.

Liza: Yes.

Natalie: Acidity is often part of it, whether it’s the tomatoes or some of the other ingredients.

Jeff: So when you’re pairing this, is the wine supposed to enhance those flavours?

Natalie: It is. So, the Dominator should not dominate that wine, they should muscle in together and kind of dance in your mouth.

Jeff: Oh there’s a full ring battle going on right now, yes!   

Liza: Yes I know.

Natalie: Front ring seats.

Liza: It is so amazing.

Natalie: Alright, we have prosciutto and we have arugula, a bit of bitterness and a lot of salt.  Again salt plays a big part of pizzas.

Jeff: Sure.

Natalie: And so you want to make sure that your wine has enough acidity which is the pairing for salt and again the heft. Then we have some wild mushrooms, some feta cheese and goat cheese and some sun dried tomatoes. They have such wonderful combinations here.

Liza:  And when do you want to break out the Sparkling?

Natalie: When we go to break.

Liza: Absolutely.

Natalie: It’s probably sacrilege, Italian Pizza wise, but some of us here like Hawaiian pizza. It is not traditional but…

Liza: Yes.

Natalie: You have your ham, you have your pineapple and you have your sweet and salty with both of those.

Jeff & Liza: Yes.

Natalie: I would go with an off dry Niagara Riesling … a touch of sweetness, lime and apricot to dance with the pineapple. It can be done.

Jeff: Yes. You know I’m not sure if this is true, pretty sure it is ,but did you know where Hawaiian pizza was developed?

Natalie: No, please do tell.

Jeff: It’s not Hawaii but is Windsor Ontario.

Natalie: Really?

Liza: Really?

Jeff: Yes, I know. The first pizza place, apparently, put pineapple on pizza and made a pineapple and ham Hawaiian pizza.

Natalie: They must have been dreaming of a vacation down south.

Jeff: Exactly.

Natalie: Okay let’s go.

Jeff: Yes.

Liza:  Natalie MacLean from nataliemaclean.com.

Natalie: Cheers!

Liza: Cheers!

Jeff: Cheers! Thank you Natalie, good to see you. 

 

 

 

 

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