3 Wines To Drink On Pizza Night

Some of us wish every night was pizza night. It's a classic puzzle to be solved, and there are infinite ways to solve it. I thought I'd sprinkle my parmesan onto the conversation and throw out a few of my favourites to guzzle with a hot & fresh pie.

Shall we? I'm champing (google it, it's CHAMP-ing, indeed!) at the bit to burn the roof of my mouth off.

Old World: Aglianico

If you're going to respect the Neapolitan origins of pizza, you've got to include an Aglianico on your list of go-to reds. You needn't stop at the vineyards of Campania that neigbor Napoli itself, Aglianico can also be found further south in the reds of Puglia, sometimes blended with Primitvo, Negroamaro, and occasionally bordeaux varietals. Why does this work? Well, first of all, it's in the soul of the place. If it grows together, it goes together, as the saying goes. And technically speaking, the late-ripening, medium-to-full bodied Aglianico has just enough hair on it's face when it comes to tannins that a little smoothing over with cheese and an olive-oiled up crust does the trick to smooth them out. It's like dabbing Clubman™ on your face after a shave at the Jericho Tennis Club, even if you lost in straight sets. Just kidding, it's way better than that. If you can't find a decent Aglianico, you can go with something from Puglia on the major el cheapo if you still want to kiss your pinched fingers and shake your hand in the air after washing down slice #1.

New World: Chilean Pinot Noir

Pizza is uncomplicated. I'm not saying that Chilean Pinot Noir is, but there are some damn good value buys out there which aren't too heady to strap on with a steaming box of Brooklyn's finest. I think it's a natural pairing. Light, quaffable, chillable, with cleansing and juicy acidity and an oft-present herbal or bell-pepper quality which melds beautifully with pizza sauce. Falernia, Carmen, Undurraga, among others have solid sub-$20 options. I'm not above some of the options from Cono Sur, whose options range from around $12 to the early-mid $20s. Get some.

Other Worldly: Natural Pet-Nats

At the end of the day, pizza comes down to its ingredients. I'm not saying I don't like to go for some processed, basic versions now and again and wash it down with a Mexican Coca-Cola, but I think in its most sublime form, pizza is all above the freshest, most untouched ingredients. I'm talking tomatoes, herbs, fresh mozzarella, and fresh dough. High-quality EVOO. Backyard garden-level purity is what we're after. And that's where the natural wine movement comes in. Find yourself something with a cap instead of a cork, with a cute label, preferably something red, that's poppin' off with natural bottle fermentation. Some technically savvy winemakers have knocked these for being lazy versions of traditional method sparkling, but I personally like the way you can peer into the winemaking process just by opening the bottle. A petillant-naturel is almost like getting the wine before it's finished. Say what you want. I like the rawness, the aggressive spritz, the wildness, and the overall fun. And you shouldn't worry about making it your nightcap at 3am when the bars close and you buy a whole pie from the by-the-slice joint and piss off everyone behind you in line. Not that I've ever done that. And that's not even an unspoken rule.

Just don't be coming home from a bar at ANYTIME during a pandemic. OK. Rant over.

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