Category Archives: Pizza and Wine

Pizza Tour of Naples


New York City winters can be brutal, and this one was no exception.  Michele and I wanted to get away, but where to go?  Florida, Mexico, the Caribbean? We have tried them all and found them lacking. Not because of the weather, which was great, but lacking because of the food and wine! So we decided to go where the weather would be better than in NYC and still find great food and wine:  Naples and Rome.IMG_7299

Naples is the most unique of the Italian cities.  It is like one big street fair, there is so much going on all the time. Naples also has a natural beauty.   Mt.Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples are breathtaking.  The Neapolitans are theatrical and dramatic, and of course there is the food. The best pizza is Neapolitan pizza and the best place to have it is, of course, Naples.IMG_7241

It was a beautiful sunny day when we arrived and we decided to go for pizza by the waterfront.  One cannot think of Naples without thinking of pizza.

Gino Sorbillo Pizzeria

Gino Sorbillo Pizzeria


We went to Gino Sorbillo-AKA Lievito Madre al Mare, they have 3 locations in Naples.  This one is on Via Partenope overlooking the Bay of Naples. They have a large outside dining area and it was very crowded, everyone wanted to sit outside.  Here is a sample of the menu:


A big trend in Naples is for the pizzerias to list the source for their ingredients, many of which are organic and artisanally made.  On the menu, a green leaf  showed that the product was Biologica and a snail if it was recognized by “Slow Food”.IMG_7242

Michele had the MargheriTTa Gialla Massimo Bottura, made with tiny yellow tomatoes and bufala milk cheese. These deep yellow tomatoes had a honey-like flavor and were among the sweetest I have ever tasted.

The next day on the way back from our tour of Naples Underground we stopped at Palazzo Petrucci Pizzeria- San Domenico Maggiore Piazza. They also give the source of the products they use and even the name of their pizzaiolo, Maestro Michele Leo, is listed on the menu.  Next door, they also have an elegant Michelin-starred restaurant, which we did not visit.


This place was recommended by Maurizio de Rosa, who was born in Naples and is a partner in Prova Pizzeria in NYC.IMG_7264

Michele had a pizza Margherita and I had a fried pizza stuffed with ricotta and cicoli, which are the little crispy bits left after rendering out the lard from pork fat.  IMG_7287

Before we left NYC we went to Don Antonia by Starita and spoke with Roberto Caporuscio, the owner and pizzaiolo. We have known Roberto for a number of years ever since he opened Keste. Roberto said we must go to Pizzeria Starita a Materdei dal 1901.  The owner, Antonio Starita is his mentor and partner in the New York restaurant.  IMG_7282

Our friend food writer Arthur Schwartz, who spends part of each year in Salerno, decided to come to Naples to join us. It turned out there were five of us, Arthur, his partner Bob Harned, and their friend Contessa Cecilia, who drove.IMG_7284

We ordered fried zucchini flowers, arancini and potato croquettes to start. Then we had Pizza Maradona, a fried rolled stuffed pizza, Pizza Mastanicola topped with lard, basil and pecorino, and a Sorrentina pizza made with sliced lemons and provola cheese.IMG_7283

We arrived at 12:30 and when we left there was a long line waiting for a table even though this is a large place.IMG_7290

50 Kalò di Ciro Salvo , Piazza Sannazzaro 201/B. This is the hottest pizza place in Naples right now, the one everyone is talking about.  The pizzaiolo, Ciro Salvo has researched pizza making techniques and insists on a very long slow rise for his dough which results in a tender and more digestible crust.  He uses only the finest ingredients for his toppings.  In Greek, the name Kalo means beautiful and good.IMG_7292

We started with a few fried foods, potato croquettes and frittatine, cheesy pasta shaped into disks and fried, which were excellent.  Then we had a Pizza Margherita and Pizza Porcini with sausages.IMG_7293

If you go here for dinner, it is best to get there early. It is a big place but if you arrive after 8:00 PM you will wait on a long line to get in.


For the most part the Neapolitans  drink, beer, soda and acqua minerale with their pizza.The wine lists at the pizza places are  for the most part short and the price for a  bottle of wine produced in Campania  is about 18 to 20 euros, about what you would pay retail in the US for the same wine. Among the wines we drank which went very well with where a Coda di Volpe “Amineo” 2013 Cantina del Taburno, Lettere della Penisola Sorrentina 2013  Grotta del Sole, a red sparkling wine and Falanghina Sant’ Agata Dei Gotti 2013 Mustilli.








Filed under 50 Kalo di Ciro Salvo Pizzeria, Gino Sorbillo Pizzeria, Naples, Palazzo Petrucci Pizzeria, Pizza, Pizza and Wine, Starita Pizzeria a Materdei dal 1901, Uncategorized

In Provence

When we arrived in Provence the weather was very hot, just perfect for enjoying the Rosé wines from this enchanting part of France.  Of course we would drink some white wine and if the weather cooled off, a red wine or two. We had rented a house in Abignon near Carpentras. It is very near to great wine areas such as Gigondas, Beaumes de Venise, Cotes du Rhone, and Vaqueyras, so wine would not be a problem.

Buying Shrimp at the Market in Isle Sur La Sorgue

Buying Shrimp at the Market in Isle Sur La Sorgue

We decided to go out for one meal a day, usually lunch, and have one meal at the house. There is a large organic garden where we can pick our vegetables and there are a number of towns nearby with great farmers markets.

Veal and Langoustine

Veal and Langoustine

 For lunch one afternoon we went to Restaurant L’ Oustalet in Gigondas. This restaurant has a very interesting menu different from the typical ones in the area.  One of the courses I ordered was a carpaccio of veal and langoustine mixed together covered with foam. It was not what I expected but it was very good. They also have a very good wine list from which I ordered a bottle of white wine:IMG_3512

Coudoulet de Beaucastle 2011 Cotes- Du-Rhone made from 30% Bourboulemc, 10% Clairette, 30% Marsanna and 30% Viognier. The vines grow in a 3 acre vineyard between Orange and Avignon. There is manual harvesting, sorting of the grapes, pneumatic pressing, racking and fermentation partly in oak barrels and stainless steel tanks for 8 months. The wines are assembled and bottled without passage at low temperatures. This white wine with a mineral  and savory character, subtle citrus fruit, good acidity, a very pleasing dry finish and long aftertaste.

The Pizza

The Pizza

The house has a pizza oven on the property and one afternoon we decided to make pizza. Michele made the dough and I tended the fire and baked the pizzas.  With the pizza we drank:IMG_3526

Bandol Rosé 2012 AOC Bondol Domaine Tempier made from 50% Mourvédre, 28% Grenache, 20% Cinsault and 2% Carignan. The soil is a mix of clay and limestone; it is tilled mechanically and by hand. The grapes are harvested by hand and carried in small bins of 30 kg and hand selected in the vineyard and cellar. Vinification is by direct pressing or after cold maceration or by saignées between 5 and 10 percent. This is a Rosé with a lot of body and flavor, floral overtones, peaches, a hint of spice and good acidity. The wine worked very well with the pizza with its different toppings.IMG_3491

Les Palliēres “ au petit Bonheur” 2012 Rosé Vin de Table- the winery is located outside the village of Gigondas.  Made from Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Clairette, the blend depending on the vintage. The soil is clay and limestone and the vines are at 250 to 400. The grapes are sourced from younger vines and the juice is obtained from directed pressing.  Fermentation takes place in 650-liter demi-muids. This is a very pleasant wine with nice fruit aromas and flavors and a hint of melon. We enjoyed this wine with the shrimp that we purchased at the market.



We passed a farm stand one day advertising fresh cepes, porcini mushrooms.  They were big and beautiful and Michele bought a few to serve as our appetizer that night for dinner.  She larded the caps with slices of fresh garlic, drizzled  them with olive oil and sprinkled them with fresh thyme from the garden.  After roasting in a hot oven, they were tender and meaty, just the way we have eaten them in Italy.  For a second course, we had rotisserie spareribs that we had gotten at the market in Carpentras.  The wine for the night was a perfect choice: IMG_3529

Gigondas 2005 Clos du Joncuas made from 80% Grenache, and 20% Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah. They use organic methods in the vineyards and traditional vinification. The wine has red and black fruit aromas and flavors, hints of blackberry, blueberry and a touch of spice. It was an excellent combination with the roasted porcini mushrooms we had at the house. I do not believe this wine is imported into the US but I really liked it. The wine cost 14 Euros in the coop store in Gigondas.


Filed under Bondol, Clos du Joncuas Gigondas, Coudoulet de Beaucastel, Domaine Tempier Rose, French Red, French White Wine, Gigondas, Les Pallieres Rose, Pizza and Wine, Provence, Rose, Uncategorized

Unique Red Grapes From Campania

Campania has a few unique red grapes that are not very well known. Along with the white wines of Campania that I tasted last week at SD26 in NYC with Franco Bengazi and Marco Melzi from the Wine Emporium, there were three red wines.   One of them I discovered when I went to visit the winery in Tramonti, high above the Amalfi Coast. Another, also from Tramonti, I first tasted at a restaurant nearby and the third I discovered many years ago when I was in Naples and needed a red wine to drink with pizza.IMG_2652

The wines

Cantina Federiciane Montelone di Napoli Gragnano DOC Sorrento Peninsula 2010, made from Piedirossa and Sciascinoso. Fermentation with selected yeast takes place in temperature controlled autoclaves.  This is a fizzy red wine that when poured has a lot of foam that quickly disappears in the glass. It is fruity with red fruit aromas and flavors, hints of raspberries and strawberries, and easy to drink. In Naples they often drink sparkling beverages with pizza and Gragnano goes very well with pizza margarita. Marco said it is the authentic companion to all Neapolitan street food. $16

Sciascinoso, also know as Olivella, is used as a blending grape. The clusters and berries are large and it is a late ripener. I do not believe that I have ever tasted a wine made from 100% Sciascinoso.IMG_2654
Az. Agr. Apicella Colli di Salerno Piedirosso IGT 2011, made from 85% Piedirosso from ungrafted vines and 15% other red grapes. There are 3,000 vines per hectare and the training system is mostly pergola. Harvest takes place the third week of October. The stalks are removed and the grapes are pressed. Temperature controlled fermentation in stainless steel tanks for 10 to 12 days. Piedirosso is used mostly as a blending grape.  (It is one of the grapes in the blend for Lacryma Chrisit del Vesuvio.) It is difficult to find wine made from 100% Piedirosso but worth the effort.
The wine has fresh red fruit flavors and aromas with hints of black pepper and spice a long finish and nice after taste. The wine should be drunk young. It goes extremely well with dishes made with tomato sauce. It is a steal at $15

The Brasciole at SD26

The Brasciole at SD26

“The name (Piedirosso) translates as “red foot” and the grape is also known as Palombina or Pre’e Palummo meaning respectively little dove and dove’s foot in dialect, the latter because of its red-colored triple-branched stem like a three-taloned bird’s foot”, according to Nicholas Belfage in Brunello to Zibibbo.

Piedirosso is an ancient black skinned grape that does well in volcanic soil. It may be identical to the Colombina, the grape that Pliny the Elder d.79AD mentions in his Natural History.

Az. Agr. Monte de Grazie Biological Winery Rosso 2008IMG_2657
The wine is made from 90% Tintore di Tramonti from very old ungrafted vines and 10% Piedirosso. The Tintore di Tramonti gowns almost exclusively in the Monte Lattari Valley. The grape is harvested at the end of September, which makes it an early ripener for this area. This indigenous red grape variety belongs to the Tienturier family. Tienturier means dyed or stained in French. The flesh and the juice of these grapes are red in color. The anthocyanin pigments accumulate in the grape berry itself. The free run juice is therefore red.
This is a complex wine with earthly aromas, red fruit and a slight hint of black pepper and spice with good acidity that makes it a very good food wine. This wine has ageing potential. I had the 2009 with the owner of the winery, Dr. Alfonso Arpino, on the Amalfi coast last year and it may be the best wine he has made so far! $28.



Leave a comment

Filed under Amalifi Coast, Az. Agr. Apicella, campania, Cantina Federiciane, Gragnano, Italian Red Wine, Italian Wine, Monte de Grazie Winery, Naples, Piedirosso, Pizza and Wine, Sciascinoso, Sparkling wine, Tintore di Tramonti

Old Barolo, Bordeaux, Champagne and Pizza

Alfonso Cevola, a friend and wine writer from Texas, was in town recently and asked me to meet him for a pizza.  It would be a reprise of a wonderful dinner we had enjoyed two years ago at Keste Pizza and Vino where we ate and talked while drinking Vallana Spanna from the 1950’s.  

 While I looked forward to seeing him again, but there was a problem. That afternoon I was attending a Bordeaux tasting and lunch for the Wine Media Guild at Felidia Restaurant. There were 12 wines to taste followed by four to drink with lunch. Many of the Wine Media Guild members would bring older vintages and I knew it was going to be a great afternoon.  But I looked forward to seeing Alfonso again so we made plans to meet for dinner and I hoped for the best.  As it turned out at my table at lunch we had the 1982, 1986 and 1988 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, 1993 Chateau Lafite Rothschild and the 1975 Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste among others as we shared wines with other tables. The wine which was at its peak was the 1975 Lacoste. It was surprising to me that the 1982 Mouton was still too young. But more on these wines in another article.

  I made plans with Alfonso to meet at La Pizza Fresca that night at 7:30 so I would have enough time to recover from lunch. I invited Nicole and Travis a young couple that always bring wines much older than they are.

  At the WMG I was sitting next to Ed McCarthy, co–author of the Wine for Dummies books with his wife, Mary Ewing Mulligan, MW. Ed said that Mary was away on a press trip so I invited him to join us for dinner.

 After the WMG lunch there were some open bottles with wine still in them at our table, among them Lafite 93, Lynch Bages 1996 and 2000 and two bottles of Clerc Milon 2004 and 2006 I took them along for the others to taste at dinner.

 Travis and Nicole arrived with a bottle of Champagne Grand Cru Godmé Pére et Fils Brut Millesime 2000 and the 1961 and 1964 Barolo from Fontanafredda. Ed brought a bottle of Champagne Benoit Lahaye Grand Cru Essentiel NV and I contributed the 1988 Grato Grati, a de-classified Chianti Rufina. I wanted Alfonso to taste the Grato Grati and really wanted to bring the ‘82 but somehow I picked up the 1988. It did not matter since the wine was drinking very well.

 Both the 1961 and 1964 were in very good condition. 1964 was a great vintage in Barolo and it was in very good condition and might have a “few” years in front of it. The 1961 was at its peak and I really enjoyed it with my pizza Margarita!

 I just returned from a Crystal cruise of the Greek Islands and Turkey with Michele.  More on the trip, my on board wine tasting lecture, and how to make the perfect Martini in a future article!





Filed under Barolo, Bordeaux, Champagne, French Red, Italian Wine, Pizza and Wine, Pizza Restaurants

Champagne and Old Red Wine with Pizza at Keste

I think pizza is the perfect food and pizza margarita is my perfect pizza. When I go to Kesté Pizza and Vino with friends, I always order a margarita first and then a margarita with prosciutto and arugula, followed by one with salsiccia, etc.  I like to drink champagne and old red wine with pizza. Good Neapolitan pizza deserves good wine.

Our group, the G6, meets once a month to eat pizza and drink good wine. One of our members Ed McCarthy, author of Champagne for Dummies always brings champagne, and the rest of us bring red, but sometimes a white sneaks in. Here are four wines — two champagnes and two older reds that went very well with the pizza.  

 Champagne Blanc de Noirs “IL Florescence” 2009 100% Pinot Noir Cedric Bouchard.  This is a single vineyard, single vintage terroir-driven-grower champagne with zero dosage.  This champagne has only 4.5 atmospheres of pressure and only 19 to 20 grams of sugar was added. This was the way it was done before crown capsules came into use. Today, because of crown capsules, almost all champagnes have 24 grams of sugar added to the bottle during the second fermentation creating 6 atmospheres of pressure.

 Because it has zero dosage and less added sugar, it is one of the driest champagnes that I have ever tasted. The small bubbles exploded in the glass and the wine had a ripe green apple character with good acidity. It was one of the youngest champagnes that I have had. I was very impressed with it and it went very well with the mozzarella (Roberto, the pizzaiolo at Kesté, makes it by hand) and tomatoes as well as the pizza.

Lemon Pizza

 Champagne Grand Blanc  Brut 1988 100% Chardonnay Philipponnet.   Only the best Chardonnay grapes are used from the first cru and the grand cru of the Cotes des Blancs and the Montagne de Reims, including some from the Clos de Goisses. The wine is released five years after the harvest. The wine had a creamy and yeasty texture with hints of white fruit. It was very different from the first Champagne. We drank this with a “lemon pizza” smoked provola and lemon. This pizza brought out the acidity in the wine and made it taste fresher and younger.


Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 1977 100% Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Emidio Pepe. The winery is organic and biodynamic and is a member of the AAA association of producers which sets the highest standards for its members for this type of farming and production. The soil is medium clay and the traditional Pergola system is used to train the vines. The grape bunches are harvested by hand. The “de rasping”(crushing) of the grapes is done in wooden tubs through a special net that is placed on top. It is a natural fermentation due to the presence of unique natural native yeast. The wine is then placed by bucket into small cement tanks, which because of their thickness, maintain a consistent temperature and protect the wine from outside disturbances. The wine is aged in cement tanks for two years. The wine is bottled by hand.  Rosa Pepe pours the wine from one bottle to another, eliminating the natural sediment. Emidio Pepe feels that filtering takes away a lot of very important elements from the wine. Natural decanting leaves untouched all the personality and balance needed in the wine. The labels are put on by hand. I believe the current vintage for sale in 2002. This is a great wine and for me one of the best Italian red wines. It was not showing its age and it had  flavors and aromas of cherry, leather and tar. (Look up Emidio Pepe on the net and see  the video of “grape gathering.”  It is very interesting.)

 Barolo “Marcenasco” 1970 100% Nebbiolo, Antiche Cantine della Abbazia dell’Annunziata Renato Ratti.  1970 was a very good year in Barolo but it was overshadowed by the 1971 vintage. Ratti was one of the first in Barolo to produce a “cru” and shorten the period of skin contact and time the wine remained in wood. I believe this wine was aged for two years in wood. It was showing its age when we first opened it but then began to develop in the glass and went very well with the pizza. It had aromas and flavors of mushrooms, tar, tobacco and herbs.


Filed under Barolo, Champagne, Italian Red Wine, Pizza and Wine

Neapolitan Pizza and BYOB


A Mano, a pizzeria/restaurant in Ridgwood, New Jersey announced that they would be hosting a pizza making demonstration with two of Naples’ greatest pizzaioli, Antonio Starita of Starita a Materdei in Naples, and Roberto Caporuscio of Keste in NYC. Roberto is from the Naples area and trained with Antonio in Naples.  This was a demo I did not want to miss, so along with several friends, we reserved right away. On the day of the demo, over 150 people gathered at the restaurant.  We found our friends, took our seats, and had just enough time for a glass of wine before the demo began. Both Roberto and Antonio were assisted by Adolfo Marletta of La Spaghetta in Naples.

Roberto Caporuscio of Keste needing the dough

 Roberto began by explaining how he makes his dough.  He said that the flour he prefers is a high quality one manufactured by Caputo in Naples.  He uses only their “double zero” flour, which has less gluten in it so that it is easier to stretch.  He uses a special type of mixer that kneads the dough gently.  He demonstrated how to knead the dough by hand.  Then he shaped it into little balls weighing about nine ounces for each pizza. He did this by holding it with one hand and with the other shaping it the same way one would when making mozzarella. 

Antonio Strarita putting the finishing touches on the pizza

Antonio and Roberto mentioned that they had just returned from the Pizza Fair in Las Vegas. Someone in the audience asked who had won the pizza tossing event.  Both men looked puzzled.  Roberto said that they don’t toss the pizza in the air in Naples, while Antonio shook his head and with his hand made a slight back and forth movement saying very softly, mai (never).  They explained that rough handling ruins the dough. 



Antonio then demonstrated how to shape the dough into a flat disk. He took a ball of dough and gently stretched it in four easy motions, rotating it and folding the edge toward the middle. Next he added pureed Italian canned tomatoes, mozzarella, and a touch of olive oil.  After it was placed on the peel, he stretched the disk out so that it almost doubled in size. He quickly slid the pizza into the wood burning oven and about a minute or so later it was done. The result was perfect Neapolitan style Margarita pizza. Margarita is the queen of pizza, there is no king.

The " Lemon Pizza"


I asked Antonio if he would make us his famous “lemon pizza”. This pizza is topped with smoked provola (smoked bufala mozzarella) and thin slices of lemon. I had tasted this pizza once before, when Antonio had been at Keste. It was so good that I had to have it again. He was only too happy to do it. It was as good as I remembered it and went very well with the wine we were drinking.

I then asked him to make another pizza of his choice. He made one of the best marinara pizzas that I have ever had. Roberto told us later that Antonio’s secret is to add a touch of pecorino cheese and a little oregano.


 We also enjoyed the little fried calzone filled with ricotta.

 The wines

Most townships in NJ do not allow wine, beer or liquor to be sold in restaurants so we took advantage and brought the following wines.

 Barolo Riserva 1999 100% Nebbiolo Monchiero. This wine was ready to drink. I believe the 1999 was a vintage that can be drunk after 10 years. It had all the Nebbiolo characteristics and went very well with the food as did all the wine.

 Vino Spanna Cantina Castello di Montalbano 1964 Vallana. 1964 was a great vintage in Piemonte. On many of the older bottles of Vallana they have Castello this or that, but the Castellos never existed and with the DOC are no longer on the label. Spanna is the local name for Nebbiolo in this area of Novara in Piemonte. This wine is Nebbiolo with the possible addition of Aglianico! In Italy’s Noble Red Wines, Sheldon Wasserman states that  “Vallana is a master blender…Rumor has it that he used to blend Aglianico from Basilicata into his wines to give them the body and strength that they needed to age and develop.” Wasserman felt that when they stopped doing this, the wines were not as good. Today the wine must be at least 85% Spanna with the possible addition of Vespolina and Bonarda. I am happy to report that I have tasted more recent vintages of the Vallana wines and they have almost come all the way back even without the Aglianico. Tom Maresca gives a full report on the Vallana wines: Vallana: An Old Favorite Returns

 Barbaresco 1967 Produttori del Barbaresco 100% Nebbiolo. This is one of the oldest co-ops in Italy and possible the best. This is also the oldest bottle I have tasted which was not a single vineyard. The label was not the same as the one they use today. This was everything that an old Barbaresco should be and more.

 Barolo Riserva 1967 Borgogno.  This is a great wine. I have had many older bottles of Borgogno Barolo and they age very well. All those aromas that I love in old Barolo were there-faded roses, tar, tea, leather and mushroom.

  Burgundy 2001 Hospices de Nuits Laboure-Roi 100% Pinot Noir. This was the last wine and it did not disappoint as we sat sipping it and talking about the great pizza, great pizza makers (i pizzaioli) and Naples.

 It was a great evening at A Mano and I wanted to start making plans to go back to Naples and visit Starita a Materdei. In the meantime, since I live in NYC I will go to Keste when I want great pizza.

Join Roberto, Michele and me for a pizza tour of Italy


Filed under Calzone, Italian Red Wine, Italian Restaurants, Italian Wine, Neapolitan Pizza, Pizza, Pizza and Wine, Pizza Restaurants

Wine with Pizza but not Pizza Wine


Wine with Pizza but not Pizza Wine


            When it comes to beverages to accompany pizza, Neapolitans prefer drinks that sparkle.  Beer, soda, and acqua minerale gassata are the most popular choices, but for those who prefer wine, it is likely to be Gragnano, an inexpensive sparkling red made from piedirosso, sciascinoso, and a little aglianico.  The late Sheldon Wasserman, author of two seminal wine books, Sparkling Wine and Italy’s Noble Red Wines, loved champagne with his pizza Margarita.


Neapolitans eat pizza because it tastes good and is a complete and inexpensive meal.  Naturally, their beverages of choice are also inexpensive.  At Da Michele, one of the best pizzerias in Naples, only soda, beer and acqua minerale are served. They make only two types of pizza:  marinara and margarita.  The pizza is always perfect and the cost of a pizza and a drink is under ten dollars. Needless to say, the place is always packed with long lines out the door.


I used to think that as good as pizza can be, a nice inexpensive wine was all I needed to go with it.  When I say “Pizza” I mean Neapolitan style pizza. The only place to get true Neapolitan pizza is in Naples or in the Naples area. (   Pizza Any Way You Slice It, the Best is in Naples)  Wine lists in pizzerias in Naples are sometimes not very good but I can be perfectly happy with a Gragnano, Aglianico or Lacryma Christi.  But now, when given the opportunity, I enjoy pizza with more “important” wines.  The first time I had Barolo and pizza was in Piedmont.  Alfredo Corrado of the Vietti winery in Castiglione Falletto took us to a pizzeria owned by a Neapolitan. We had pizza bianco (fontina Val D’Aosta cheese) topped with funghi porcini with a magnum of 1961 Barolo, the first wine Alfredo had made at the winery. The combination was wonderful.  Since then, I have tried the best wines that Italy has to offer with pizza.


             When Michele and I were writing Pizza Any Way You Slice It, we spent a lot of time in Naples and ate pizza twice a day.  Last May we did a tour of Naples and the Amalfi Coast based on our book. Our group of pizza-lovers happily ate pizza at least once a day and we even made our own pizza at a farm just outside Naples. The pizza was so good that on the last day for lunch we went to Da Michele and each had a pizza, then went across the street to Pizzeria Trianon and had another!  (  “Great Places to Eat Pizza in Naples)


Trianon Pizzeria in Naples

Trianon Pizzeria in Naples

            l eat only certain types of pizza:   Margarita (the Queen of Pizza-there is no King) tomatoes, mozzarella, and a touch of fresh basil;  Marinara with  tomatoes, garlic and oregano; and Pizza Bianco with white truffles or funghi porcini.  Sometimes I will go over the top and have Arugula and Prosciutto on a Margarita. These are the best types of pizza to have with wine.  


Pizza Margarita at La Pizza Fresca

Pizza Margarita at La Pizza Fresca



            My favorite place to have Neapolitan style pizza in New York is La Pizza Fresca.   I go there often with many friends and not one of them has ever complained about drinking great wine with pizza.  My drink of choice with pizza is red wine. The wine has to be traditional. Modern and international style wines do not work. All that oak, vanilla, and jam does not go with pizza.  I have not had a traditional wine from Italy or France that did not work with the pizza. Some of my favorite wines with pizza include the 1996 Carmignano Riserva,  Villa di Capezzana; 1995 Taurasi “Radici” Mastroberardino;  1995 Chianti Rufina  Riserva Villa di Vertice; 1961 Barolo Giacomo Borgogno & Figl;, 1996 Barbaresco Riserva “Asili” Bruno Giacosa,  1990 Barbaresco Produttori  del Barbaresco;  1996 Ghemme “Collis Breclemce” Antichi Vigneti di Cantlupo;  and 1988 Amarone  Bertani.  Recently some friends ordered the pizza bianco and we drank it with the 2002 Trebbiano d’Abruzzo from E. Valentini and it was a great combination.


Everyone has their favorite place for Neapolitan style pizza. Let me know what places you like best, which toppings, and which wines.


















Filed under Pizza and Wine