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waters on wine

Food and wine matching can be a hot topic for debate. There’s often talk about the perfect match, the synergy that comes, say, from enjoying freshly shucked oysters with a crisp, refreshing white wine, such as Muscadet, Chablis or Champagne, but there’s also something to be said for trial and error.

Chances are if you like a dish and you like a wine, they will probably go together. That’s why pizza night is a terrific opportunity to experiment. Grab an affordable bottle of wine with fresh acidity and bright fruit flavours to counter the melted cheese, sauce and toppings.

There is no shortage of inexpensive Italian wines to explore, starting with reds made from barbera, frappato or montepulciano (the grape variety, not the town in Tuscany famous for Brunello). Like virtually every Italian wine, these have mouth-watering acidity that makes them enjoyable with a vast assortment of dishes – or types of pizza.

You could also seek out bottles labelled with the humble Chianti appellation that are typically lighter and brighter than ones from Chianti Classico, produced within the original boundaries of the famous winemaking region, or more serious Riserva selections.

Outside of Italy, bargain priced Beaujolais and grenache-based wines from the Rhône Valley, the south of France and Spain are also fun options. Wines made in British Columbia and Ontario with the Gamay grape work equally well. There’s no shortage of lively and fresh flavoured red wines on the market.

If your preference is for white wine, the options are also seemingly endless. Italy is still a great starting point. The refreshing nature of Soave, Orvieto, Gavi, Pecorino or well-made Pinot Grigio make for satisfying selections to enjoy with your slices, especially ones that incorporate seafood, goats’ cheese and spinach, or have pesto or white sauces instead of tomato.

Don’t overlook sparkling wines either. They might not be the first thing you think of drinking with pizza, but they offer the similar refreshment to lager, which is a hugely popular pairing. Crisp Cavas and Crémants are terrific accompaniments while staying on budget. To my taste, Prosecco is too fruity to cleanse the palate, but, putting budgetary constraints aside, any Canadian made traditional method sparkling wine or, why not, Champagne could add to the enjoyment while elevating your pizza night experience.

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