Food and wine matching can be a hot topic of discussion. There’s often talk of the perfect pairing, the synergy that comes from enjoying, say, freshly shucked oysters with a crisp, refreshing white wine like Muscadet, Chablis or Champagne, but there’s also a little bit of trial and error.
Chances are, if you like a dish and you like a wine, they’ll probably go together. That’s why pizza night is a great opportunity to experiment. Grab an affordable bottle of wine with fresh acidity and bright fruit flavors to counteract the melted cheese, gravy, and toppings.
There’s no shortage of inexpensive Italian wines to explore, starting with reds made from Barbera, Frappato, or Montepulciano (the grape variety, not the Tuscan town famous for Brunello). Like virtually every Italian wine, these have a delicious acidity that makes them enjoyable with a wide range of dishes – or types of pizza.
You can also look for bottles labeled with the humble Chianti appellation, which are usually lighter and brighter than those of the Chianti Classico produced within the original boundaries of the famed wine-growing region, or for more serious Riserva selections.
Outside of Italy, reasonably priced Beaujolais and Grenache wines from the Rhone Valley, southern France and Spain are also fun options. Wines made in British Columbia and Ontario with the Gamay grape work equally well. There is no shortage of vibrant and freshly flavored red wines on the market.
If you prefer white wine, the possibilities are seemingly endless as well. Italy is still a good starting point. The refreshing nature of Soave, Orvieto, Gavi, Pecorino or well-made Pinot Grigio make for satisfying choices to enjoy with your slices, especially with seafood, goat cheese and spinach, or with pesto or white sauces instead of tomatoes.
Don’t forget the sparkling wines either. They might not be the first thing you drink with pizza, but they offer a similar refreshment to lager, which is a hugely popular pairing. Crispy cavas and crémants are excellent side dishes while staying on budget. For my liking, Prosecco is too fruity to cleanse the palate, but budget constraints aside, any sparkling wine made in Canada using the traditional method or, why not, champagne could add to the indulgence while enhancing your pizza night experience.
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