About this Blog

The blog focuses on the essence of wine and food, not how many points or stars it receives. The opinions are mine and should be taken only as that, an opinion not gospel.

Like many collectors, initially I was very much influenced by wine ratings. I purchased wines based on points, even if I had never tasted the wine. And it was much worse than that. I would drink a wine with a high rating, not like it, yet since it was highly rated I’d rationalize that I did not yet appreciate the wine, or that my palate was not sophisticated enough to understand the wine. How’s that for lunacy? As a result my cellar grew in all directions while my palate narrowed. By the time I realized the style of wine that I enjoyed, my cellar abounded with wines whose styles I did not enjoy. All of these wines were very highly rated, just not my cup of tea, or glass of wine to be more accurate. Fortunately I was able to sell many of these wines to those who either enjoyed them or wanted highly rated wines. Don’t misunderstand, I am not against wines with high ratings, in fact I own many. It is just that I now purchase wines based on the producer, the style and my palate, not the rating. Nor do I shun reading reviews. I very much respect Antonio Galloni, Alan Meadows, Eric Asimov and John Gilman and read their reviews routinely. I pay attention to what they write, not the points they award.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bivio e Bovio

Is there anything better than wine and food crafted simply & deliciously from the purest ingredients available? I think not, especially when we are talking about pizza and Barolo. I don’t know about you, but for me, pizza is first and foremost about the dough. It is the foundation of the pizza and when it comes together in harmony with the other main ingredients such as San Marzano tomatoes, homemade mozzarella, fresh basil leaves and a fine extra virgin olive oil, it transports you to culinary heaven.

For the second time in a week we went to Bivio Pizzeria Napoletana in Little Falls, NJ. And for the second time in a week we savored the wonderful pizzas crafted by Tomasso Colao, who is the owner along with his wife Jackie.

Before opening Bivio, Mr. Colao befriended Anthony Mangieri, proprieter of Una Pizza Napoletana, formerly of NYC and now San Francisco and learned all he could about making pizza dough. Mr. Mangieri makes his dough with the aid (I hope this is the right word) of a starter dough. I am a bit fuzzy here, but as I understand it, in lieu of adding yeast to the day’s dough production a piece of “mother dough” is added allowing the dough to “rise naturally”. Whatever the case is, the resulting dough is amazing and produces an incredible pizza. For a video of Mr. Mangieri making his dough and pizza click here.

Mr. Calao has been feeding his pizza dough his “mother culture” (the foundation of his pizzas) daily for 6 years. The pies are baked in a custom-built brick oven made in Naples, Italy.

The pizza that emerges from the oven is a thing of beauty. It is comprised of a puffy, sporadically charred blistery crust that is neither crisp nor soggy but has the tenderness reminiscent of a great loaf of Italian bread and is the perfect setting for the limited number of toppings available to compliment it.

The menu lists 5 pizzas plus two daily special pizzas, and 3 salads along with one salad special. My favorites are the Marghrita made with San Marzano tomatoes, bufala mozzarella, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt and the same pizza with the addition of Italian sausage.

While I love an ice cold beer with my pizza, pizza this good deserves a great wine and a 1996 Bovio Barolo Vigna Gattera was a perfect match on this evening. A traditionally made, great old world wine that is singing at the moment. An earthy bouquet greets the nose in an almost intoxicating fashion. On the palate there is an explosion of pure fruit with a finish that is pure elegance. A wine full of soul as was the pizza. $75 at De-Vino Wine Boutique in NYC.

Ah, but let us not forget dessert. We enjoyed homemade cannelloni and Italian Orange Cheesecake that were the ideal compliments to our espresso.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that the staff is courteous, friendly and very professional. Only open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Reservations for 5 or more accepted. BYOB.

Until next time,


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