It’s time for pizza’s busiest day: Superbowl Sunday. More pizzas are ordered and eaten on Superbowl Sunday than any other day! And sure, you could go plain-Jane and have beer, but why not UP YOUR GAME and have wine pairings with your pizza? It’s way more delicious!
I shared these five wines on WGN-TV Morning News today, paired with five perfect pizzas from Bartoli’s Pizza in Chicago, but you can replicate the pizza and wine magic wherever you are! Let’s take a deep-dish dive into the pairings, shall we?
Clean Slate Riesling 2021 ($12) with the “Diavolo” Pizza topped with soppressata, capocollo, ricotta cheese, Calabrian chili peppers and Mike’s Hot Honey. Ooh wee — this is a face-off between tropical sweetness and some serious spicy flavors! The bright tropical fruit flavors will stand straight up in the face of savory, spicy foods like this spice monster of a pizza. Yum! Even if you think you don’t like sweet wines, trust me – you WANT a wine with a bit of tropical fruit when up against a wall of wasabi or spicy chili peppers.
Clean Slate comes from Germany’s Mosel region, on steep slopes that are – you guess it – riddled with slate, which retain heat during the day to ripen the grapes and releases heat during the night. This wine fresh and clean with peach and apricot flavors, and subtle sweetness. And it’s only 11% alcohol, so drink up!
Fat Bastard Pinot Noir 2020 ($14) with a Classic Sausage or Pepperoni Pizza. You cannot go wrong with Pinot and a sausage pizza. I mean, they’re like peanut butter and jelly, or eggs and bacon – they just go together. (People who know say pork and pinot is always a no-brainer.)
This wine makes me smile every time I see the label. It’s the “anti-snob” French wine and is so named because founder Thierry Boudinaud called his first sip a “phet bast-ard” (go ahead, say that with a thick French accent) because of its intense color and rich, full-bodied texture and flavor. The wine is bright cherry red and it is positively busting loose with crushed strawberries and raspberries with fine tannins. Crazy drinkable.
Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Carmenère 2020 ($26) with a Vegetarian Pizza. My personal favorite pizza is mushroom, onion and green pepper. I just love the richness of the mushrooms and the zing-a-ling-a-ding-dong pop of onions and green peppers against bright tomato sauce. Yuh-mee! And here’s the perfect wine for it! Bartoli’s adds black olives to their veg pizza, and also fresh spinach – the more veggies, the more better if you ask me.
Lapostolle is a winery in Chile’s famous Apalta Valley that was started by a French family (the Lapostolles), now in its seventh generation. The grape is Carmenère, which is the signature red grape of Chile. If you like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, try Carm, as I call it – I think you’ll like it. It’s got crushed blackberries, dried violets, a little bit of dark chocolate or mocha. It’s complex and bold and I love it!
Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc 2021 ($13) with Alfredo Pizza. Bartoli’s Alfredo pizza is decadent with creamy homemade alfredo sauce and fresh mozzarella accented with chicken, broccoli and mushrooms. A pizza this rich needs a great, fruit-and-acid-forward Sauvignon Blanc to cut through the lush toppings and make your taste buds go ZING! (This wine will also work with any other type of white pizza, FYI, like a garlic pizza. )
Geyser Peak is in California’s Sonoma County and the winery dates back to 1880. Happily, this 140-year old winery is once again family owned (not the original family, but still – family ownership is always a good thing). This is a bright, sunny white wine, lush with floral and citrus aromas and is super food-friendly, especially with white pizzas. It would also be great your side salad, along with your ‘za.
Ancient Peaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2021 ($25) with The Union Stockyard Pizza. This pizza has it all – ALL the meats: Italian sausage, bacon, pepperoni, prosciutto and, of course, Italian Beef! It was made for Cabernet Sauvignon, especially one as lush and full-bodied as this one. High-quality Cabernet fro California can get really pricey (and sometimes too in-your-face with oak and what-not), but this beauty from Paso Robles is super well-balanced with dark boysenberries, blackberries and savory black olives and a little coffee note. It stands up like a friendly linebacker to this meatza-pizza.
Ancient Peaks has a cool story behind it, too. It was started by three ranching families who’ve raised cattle and wine grapes for decades, but they’d never had their own winery. In 2005, they built a winery, hired a killer winemaker – Mike Sinor – whose 2006 Zinfandel got 93 points from Wine Spectator – shazam – Ancient Peaks has been making affordalicious, high-quality Cab, Merlot, Zin, Sauv Blanc and Chard ever since. And Mike is still at the helm, so you know the wines are going to be tip-top-notch.
And there you go. Order that pizza, pop those bottles and raise a glass to football as a reason to savor great pizza and great wine!