October is an epic month for food and wine lovers! In October we celebrate National Chili Month, MerlotMe month, Texas Wine Month, Virginia Wine Month, and now perhaps the best greatest of them all…National Pizza Month! That’s right, October is THE month of pizza. Truth is many wines pair well with pizza; however, one of my favorite pizza and wine pairings is Zinfandel. As October comes to a close, be sure to add pizza and Zinfandel to your weekend menu.
National Pizza Month began in 1984 by Gerry Durnell, founder of Pizza Today Magazine. He chose the month of October because the first edition of his magazine was published in October. However, the amount of pizza consumed by Americans on a monthly basis is staggering. Therefore, as you pay homage this weekend to pizza with a great bottle of Zinfandel keep in mind this pairing works any month of the year!
What is your favorite type of pizza? Thin crust, Chicago deep dish, Neapolitan, stuffed crust, pepperoni, veggie, buffalo chicken, Hawaiian, Margherita, or white pizza. With pizza the sky is the limit with the types of crust and toppings available to create your own personal heaven. The great news is these four Zinfandels will pair beautifully with whatever type of pizza you enjoy. Another great aspect to these four California Zinfandels, each comes from different wine region, showcasing the variety of wonderful zins produced in California. These are not your shrinking violet zins; rather, these four wines will stand up to the layers of bold flavors of any pizza.
2013 Three Wine Company Old Vines Zinfandel Contra Coast County USA ($20): Crafted of 76% Zinfandel, 13% Carignane, 5% Petite Sirah, 4% Mataro, and 2% Alicante Bouschet sourced from vines that are dry-farmed with an average age of 100 years; this is a big juicy zin with loads of concentrated dark berries, hearty notes of spice, black pepper, and coffee, on a firm bed of dusty earth; rich and seductive on the palate with ripe tannins that coat the mouth creating a lasting finish. Winemaker Matthew Cline says, “The dirt, micro-climate, and sustainable wine-growing (from vineyard to bottle) form the cornerstone of three. These critical elements are in every bottle we make.” Grab a slice of five meat, sausage, or pepperoni pizza and enjoy!
2013 Caricature Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi USA ($15): 100% Zinfandel; opulent wine with rich and bold notes of red and black raspberries, black cherries, plums, and blackberries enveloped in hearty spice notes and dry earth, with a long black pepper finish and a touch of vanilla; this wine wraps the palate in dusty tannins brought on by heavy oak treatment, it is dark, ripe, and penetrating yet approachable and widely enjoyed. Another bold pizza wine for five meat, meatball, or barbeque chicken.
2013 Seghesio Family Vineyards Old Vines Zinfandel Sonoma County USA ($37): 93% Zinfandel, 7% Petite Sirah; a complex wine that is both elegant and grippy simultaneously, round bright fruit notes of ripe red cherries, blackberries, and red raspberries are joined by earthy notes of spice, tanned leather, toasted almonds; a layered wine with beautiful structure and balance of fruit and earth; elegant mouth-feel with integrated tannins, long, juicy finish. The Seghesio name is synonymous with Zinfandel, as is represented with this sophisticated and lovely wine. Perfect zin for Margherita, white, and Hawaiian pizzas.
2014 Rombauer Vineyards Zinfandel California USA ($29): 92% Zinfandel, 8% Petite Sirah from grapes grown in El Dorado, Amador, Lake and Napa counties; an expressive wine with vibrant red fruit notes of cherries, cranberries, and red raspberries, bold spice notes are met with licorice, black pepper, mocha, and a trailing of vanilla; a robust zinfandel that pushes the limits of alcohol (15.9% ABV), yet is approachable and smooth on the palate, balance and structure are key in this wine, tannins are pronounced yet amenable, full-body, mouth-coating, long, penetrating finish. Rombauer crafted this wine as a tribute to the rich history of California wine, sourcing the fruit from the state’s oldest and most revered wine regions. Pair this beauty with any meat of sausage pizza, barbeque chicken pizza, buffalo chicken pizza, Margherita, or cheese for a wow the crowd pizza & wine dinner.
What is your favorite type of pizza? What is your favorite pizza and wine pairing? What foods do you like to pair with Zinfandel?
*Disclosure: wines reviewed are media samples; all thoughts and opinions are my own.
It’s the last weekend in October; soon National Pizza Month will be coming to an end. Don’t forget to enjoy your favorite pizza with one of these great bottles of California Zinfandel this weekend and any time of year.