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, July 31, 2013

Piedmont Wines & Pizza Napoletana

I adore the wines of Piedmont, Italy, especially Barolo and Barbaresco.  While these tend to be on the pricey side, Barbera, Dolcetto, Freisa, Langhe Nebbiolo and the white wine of the area, Arneis are enjoyable, pocket friendly and especially good matches for authentic Napoletana pizza.

Last night we went for pizza at Pizza Vita in Summit, NJ with friends Lynn and David. They have been going here for some time and wanted us to see why.  The pizzas here are made in accordance with the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association, and they are the real deal and just delicious.  Oh, on Tuesday nights you get two pizzas for the price of one.  Quite a bargain considering the quality of these pizzas.

Tony Pep: Crushed tomato, Soppresata, mozz, carmelized onions

Pizza Margherita w/ Buffalo Mozzarello
Pizza Giambotta

Whenever I see Spaghetti and Meatballs on a menu that makes real deal pizza, I am compelled to try it.  I did, and I liked it a lot.  The spaghetti was al dente and was not drowning in a sea of sauce.  The sauce was fresh and tasty and the meatballs tender and moist.  The only improvement in my opinion would have been if the meatballs had beef fried.

We began the evening with a bottle of 2012 Giovanni Almondo Roero Arneis Bricco della Ciliegie, a delicious white wine from the Rorero area of the Langhe in Piedmont.  The wine had a fresh, fruity and crisp palate with a vibrant minerality and an excellent finish.  $24 at 56º Wine, Bernardsville, NJ.

Our first red was 2010 Bartolo Mascarello Barbera d’Alba, which I decanted for 2 hours. Known for amazing old world Barolo, this is a top flight Barbera.  Since the passing of Bartolo a few years ago the winemaking is in the very capable hands of his daughter Maria Teresa.  Tonight’s bottle had an enticing bouquet, ripe fruit and wonderful balance.  Like all great wines, the wine continued to evolve in the glass and drank beautifully.  A terrific Barbera.  Widely available at around $40 – Wine-Searcher.

Our final wine of the evening was 2006 Ada Nada Barbaresco Cichin.  This is a traditionally made Barbaresco from an excellent producer that drinks with elegance and length as it did this evening.  At about $40 it represents one of the best values in high quality Barbarescos on the market.  Unfortunately it is not easy to find.  David purchased this from 56º Wine, but I think it has long been sold out.

Thank you David and Lynn for introducing us to Pizza Vita and for bringing along the Arneis and Barbaresco.  


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