Two weeks ago, everyone I knew seemed to want to go with me for pizza. I was ready to go, but instead of the Neapolitan style I normally prefer, I decided to vary the style a little and try some different types of pizza.
The first pizza that week was with a wine group that I belong to called the G6. It really should be called the P6, P for pizza, because we always wind up having pizza. As usual we went to La Pizza Fresca, 31 East 20th Street in NYC for pizza and, of course, wine.
I like champagne with pizza and we had Champagne William Deutz Brut 1995. Made from 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay from grapes of Grand Cru vineyards.
The Monte Bianco pizza at La Pizza Fresca has become one of my favorites. It is topped with Robiola, Parmigiano Reggiano, Fontina, porcini mushrooms and Prosciutto di Parma. It was an excellent combination with the Champagne.
A wine writer friend, Tom Hyland, was in from Chicago and he wanted to go to Kesté Pizza and Vino, 271 Bleecker St. Another wine writer, Tom Maresca, joined us and he brought a bottle of a white wine from Campania that I had never had before. For a starter, we had the battilocchio (meaning blink, because of the shape) del giorno. Two of my favorite pies at Kesté are the Margarita made with tomato sauce, homemade mozzarella, pecorino romano, basil, and extra virgin olive, and the Sorrentina, topped with imported smoked buffalo mozzarella, sliced lemon and basil.
The wine was the Grecomuso Campania 2012 IGT Ag Az Contrade dei Taurasi Made from 100% Rovello Bianco. The soil is patchy with a prevalence of loose soil, rich in volcanic cinerite ( mostly volcanic ash ) and/or limestone. The vines are mostly grafted and the vineyard is at 300 to 500 meters. Training is guyot and pergola Avellinese. There is a manual harvest and the grapes are destemmed. Fermentation with maceration takes place at room temperature. The wine is aged in stainless steel tanks for 6 to 8 months. After several decanting to clarify the wine it is bottled after a coarse filtration through porous inert cartridges of 3 microns. This is a tangy wine with good fruit aromas and flavors, nice minerality and a hint of peaches.
Friends wanted to try one of my favorite pizzerias, Ribalta, at 48 East 12thSt. They make several styles of pizza. One of their specialties is the “Pizza Pala.” Pala is a baking method in which the dough is baked twice creating a unique crisp outside and soft inside. It is served in a square pan and though the menu says it is for two, it is really enough for four. We had the Pala Norma, topped with fried eggplant, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella.
With it we drank Aglianico del Vulture DOC 2009 “Likos” Vigna Mastrodomenico (Basilicata) 100%, Aglianico del Vulture. The wine is aged in regenerated French oak barrels with a custom toasting, and in stainless steel tanks for 8 to 10 months and 6 months in barrel before release. This is a big wine with berry aromas and flavors, hints of cherry and plum and a long finish and nice aftertaste. It is a wine that can age.
Another friend, wine writer, blogger (www.Do Bianchi.com) and Renaissance man Jeremy Parzen from Houston was in town with a wine producer, Paolo Cantele from the Cantele winery in Puglia and they wanted Pizza, so we went to Pizzetteria Brunetti, 226 Hudson St.
We had pizza with vongole, fresh shucked and chopped Long Island clams in a garlic and herb butter sauce and a touch of basil and a Margarita made with San Marzano DOC tomatoes, house made fior de latte mozzarella, basil, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil.
The wine was Champagne Pol Roger Rose 1995.Pol Roger Rosè vintage is based on their brut vintage which is 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay to which they add before the bottling and second fermentation about 15% still Pinot Noir from the best crus of “montagne de Reims”. The wine is aged in the cellar before release. Champagne Ed Mc Carthy and Mary Ewing-Mulligan, MW provided the Champagne.