Oops I did it again: pizza and Bertani 1988 Amarone!

Oh baby
It might seem like a crush
But it doesn’t mean that I’m serious
‘Cause to lose all my senses
That is just so typically me
Oh baby, baby

Above: Charles Scicolone can often be found at La Pizza Fresca in Gramercy (Manhattan), where they allow wine luminaries to bring their own bottles. The list there leans heavily toward modern and the prices are prohibitive. The pizza is good (although not as good as the pizza I recently tasted in San Antonio! I’ll be posting on that shortly so stay tuned).

Franco is going to kill me. I did it again: while Tracie B and I were in Manhattan for the last show in the NN+ tourette a few weeks ago, I paired pizza with an absolutely, undeniably, unquestionably, and egregiously inappropriate wine.

Two inappropriate wines, actually: Bertani 1988 (yes, 88!) Amarone and Cantalupo 1996 Ghemme Collis Breclemae (above).

One of the most important things I learned in college (and one of my favorite mottoes) was “This statement is false.” (It is a classic example of the Russel paradox. The other important thing I learned was that no movie is set in the future: “If the story has been told,” film professor Tinazzi used to say in Padua, “then it has already happened.”)

Above: Charles always orders the Margherita but I am always partial to the Puttanesca there. I never ate anchovies on my pizza until a pizzaiolo wrote the name of my band using anchovies on a pizza many years ago when I was on a summer tour in the Dolomites playing cover tunes (yes, I toured in a cover band in Italy). Evidently, Elvis Presley used to eat salt-cured anchovy fillets to soothe his throat while on tour.

What bearing does the above have on the present post, you ask? In the wake of the brouhaha that followed Dr. V’s post in which he quoted me as saying pizza could not be paired with wine, and my subsequent apologia pasoliniana, I feel compelled to confess that what I did was wrong: one should never pair two such elegant wines with the acidity and saltiness, not to mention the high temperatures, of pizza. At the same time, and here’s where the paradox kicks in, the experience was decadent, sumptuous, utterly delicious, and thoroughly enjoyable.

Above: Tracie B had a pizza bianca with broccoli raab. Also in attendance were friends Frank Butler (who generously brought the Bertani) and Michele Scicolone, who recently launched her excellent blog (definitely worth adding to your feed if only for the recipes that she shares). Charles has also become an avid blogger and I’ve been enjoying his blog and Facebook as well.

Charles’s 1996 Ghemme was earthy and had a crazy eucalyptus note, still very powerful and young, an amazing expression of Nebbiolo (and very definitely Piedmontese despite what Henri Vasnier said the other day on Brooklynguy’s blog). I’ve tasted this wine a number of times over the years and it is just beginning to come into its own.

The 1988 Bertani was sublime: a great vintage by one of the appellation’s greatest producers, very traditional in style, powerful and rich, yet already attaining the ineffable lightness that Amarone begins to achieve in its late adolescence.

Were these wines wasted by a paradoxical pairing? In other words, did we ruin the wines by pairing them with foods that detracted from their aromas and flavors? My feeling is that no, we did not: we experienced them in a new and different way than their traditional pairings. After all, the traditional pairing for an Amarone like that is pastissada de caval, horse meat stewed until stringy in red wine. Where would one find a horse to eat in Manhattan?

Oops, I did it again… Thanks Frank and Charles for bringing such incredible wines!

In other news…

If you’re into Loire and Chenin Blanc, check out Tracie B’s post on our visit to Chaume and her take on Chaume vs. Sauternes.

9 Responses to Oops I did it again: pizza and Bertani 1988 Amarone!

  1. tracie b says:

    well, in a situation such as this, one can hardly say no.

  2. Marco says:

    For us, Pizza Fresca’s pizza would be around a 6 on a scale of 10. I believe they are Neapolitan. Such decadence with the wines though;) Bravo!

  3. AC says:

    Ghemme shelter, DoBi!

    one of my favorite pizza pairings, years ago, was a grassy sauv blanc with an anchovy and jalapeno(that’s right, we hear in Texas ain’t about wimpy)pizza.

    I guess the next thing you’ll be going for will be the best wine match with kolaches?

  4. Vino NYC says:

    I tried Pizza Fresca a few months ago, and while the pizza was quite good (if a tad small and chewy), there was something about eating pizza on a white linen table cloth that for me just didn’t sit well.

  5. Do Bianchi says:

    Tracie B, what could we do? Our hands were tied… ;-)

    Marco, I agree that the pizza there isn’t the “best” I’ve ever had, New York or otherwise… Charles and Michele love it but I think in part for their relationship with the owner…

    and Vino NYC, I know: the counterpoint is a little off-putting…

    AC, I think we can stump Dr. V with this one!

  6. tracie b says:

    come on, guys, that’s an easy–lambrusco!

  7. Do Bianchi says:

    gotta say, Tracie B, you nailed it… :-)

  8. Mr.M. De Rosa from Naples would say drink Gragnano with Pizza. The Pizza in this country is in the style of Pizza from Naple. The place in NYC that does it the best is La Pizza Fresca.The owner is not from Naples.Next week I will give my views on Pizza and wine both here and in Naples.If one has not eaten Pizza in Naples, one does not know Pizza.
    E’sempre un piacere
    Charles

  9. Temporal says:

    I think its fun and decadent to make such pairings. I’ve often big paired wines with good pizza that really should go with a more traditional meat based dish…..and the results have been very enjoyable.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,129 other followers

%d bloggers like this: