Pizza alla puttanesca and 95 Taurasi

Above: Pizza alla puttanesca paired with 1995 Mastroberardino Taurasi at La Pizza Fresca in Manhattan.

In today’s Italy, pizza is generally paired with beer. Young Italians are drinking more and more wine these days but beer remains the beverage of choice for Italian pizzeria-goers. Although I prefer my pizza with beer, I always make an exception when I eat pizza with my good friends, Italian wine maven Charles Scicolone and his wife Michele, Italian food expert and author of countless Italian cookbooks, including Pizza Any Way You Slice It (which they co-authored). Charles loves to drink Barolo and Aglianico with his pizza and last night found us at his favorite New York pizzeria, La Pizza Fresca, where I couldn’t resist — in the light of my recent posts — ordering a pizza alla puttanesca.

After Naples and Rome, New York is one of the world’s most interesting pizza destinations and the pizza at La Pizza Fresca is very good. It’s done in the Italian (as opposed to NYC) style with Neapolitan (as opposed to Roman) leanings.

Charles had brought a bottle of 1995 Taurasi by Mastroberardino, which showed nicely. Mastroberardino began to oak their Taurasi a few years ago (“they went to the dark side,” as Charles likes to put it) but the 1995 was made in the traditional style. In the spring of 2006, Charles and I attended a vertical tasting of Mastroberardino (led by Piero Mastroberardino) going back to 1968 and we have enjoyed more than one bottle of 68 Taurasi at the Bottega del Vino in Verona. When aged in botti, Taurasi (100% Aglianico) has impressive aging-potential and many call it the “Nebbiolo of the south.”

By chance, Produttori del Barbaresco winemaker Aldo Vacca (pictured below) was also dining at La Pizza Fresca last night and Charles poured him a glass of the 95 Taurasi. “It shows qualities similar to Nebbiolo,” noted Aldo, who was in town for his importer’s 25th anniversary portfolio tasting.

Above: winemaker Aldo Vacca of Produttori del Barbaresco.

I had a chance to speak with Aldo at the tasting earlier in the day and I’ll be posting my interview with him later this month.

Above: two top bloggers in my book, Alfonso Cevola and Alice Feiring also attended Aldo’s importer’s portfolio tasting.

Pizza and Taurasi? Pretty darn good… any way you slice it.

In other news…

A propos Naples, I recently discovered Wikipedia in Neapolitan dialect! I’m not such a fan of Wikipedia but this site is great…

7 Responses to Pizza alla puttanesca and 95 Taurasi

  1. Marco says:

    Alfonso looks good in a scarf. If you type “puttanesca” into the wiki you get niente.

  2. Lorenzo says:

    the taurasi is a beaut. according to class-milano finanza, mixing the results of main italian wine guides (gambero rosso, l’espresso, duemilavini, veronelli e luca maroni) radici taurasi riserva docg 2001 is the second best italian wine. haven’t tried the ’95 tho.

  3. Marco says:

    We once had a medicocre Indian lunch. We left the place and went diirectly to Pizza Fesca and ordered a pizza. They know what they are doing there. This puttanesca thread has taken on a life of its own.

  4. Marco says:

    Fresca not Fesca

  5. dobianchi says:

    Marco, strangely the Neapolitan Wikipedia does not have an entry for puttanesca.

  6. wolfgang says:

    Yum!

    Bel post, Jeremy. Looking forward to hearing more about/from Aldo Vacca. I’m a fan.

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