Monday, October 25, 2010

Cal-Italians for Pizza and Pasta

It really feels like autumn here in Southern California. And before you laugh, yes, we DO have seasons (they're screwy, but we have 'em). There's a whole lot of stew, soup, and pasta being cooked up in my house these days, whereas a month ago if it couldn't be cooked on the grill it wasn't on our table.

Today I have two picks for your pizza and pasta nights--and if your calendar looks like mine does between Halloween and New Year's Eve that means most nights of the week. Both of them come from California, but are made with traditional Italian grapes: Sangiovese and Dolcetto. When you are having tomato-based dishes and want to serve a red wine, it's important to pick one with good acidity and not too much tannins (that pucker on the sides of your tongue). So if you can't find one of these selections, ask your local retailer for their suggestions.

First up is the 2008 Ortman Family Vineyards O2 Series Sangiovese. (suggested retail, $17; available for $17-$22)This is a rich, layered wine that will pair beautifully with robust, meaty pasta dishes and spicy pizzas. The wine had aromas of cherry cola and chocolate. Expect to taste cherry, blackberry, dark chocolate, and spice as you sip the wine. The nicely layered quality of the flavors extends into a juicy finish, with plenty of acidity to keep the wine from getting heavy. Very good QPR.

The other wine to try is the 2007 Naughty Boy Dolcetto ($15.99 in my local independent grocery store; available for $15-$17). The grapes for this wine were grown in the cool Mendocino County AVA, and they made a very enjoyable wine with kirsch, blackberry, and licorice aromas. When sipped, the wine was smooth on the tongue with cherry, blackberry and pepper notes. There was a slightly smoky aftertaste, which made the wine ideal with an easy, hearty eggplant bolognese. Try it with sausage or mushroom pizza, too. Very good QPR.

Full Disclosure: I received a sample of the Ortman Sangiovese for review.


CIT said...

Great stuff. Odd thing is Wines and Vines reports the biggest increase in sales is now in the over $20 market. Go figure!

Douglas Adams said...

Sounds good, i will have to try it.