This past Saturday evening we entertained some friends for a pizza party. For Christmas I was given a pizza stone, and since then I have been trying to perfect a Neapolitan style pizza on the BBQ. My favourite wine to pair with pizza is Barbera. Much more humble than some of the more expensive Italian reds, this wine is ready to be consumed while young, and won’t overpower a lighter dish like Pizza.
We decided to have a some fun, and so we tried a blind tasting. (Although not totally blind, since we knew what we were drinking, as I had purchased the wines). For this little game I put the three wines in paper bags, then Jody shuffled and numbered them. Then we tried to identify the wines, blind. We knew we had two Italian wines and one new world (Canadian) wine. We also knew that two wines were priced in the mid to high $30′s and one wine priced at about $15. We wanted to see if we could isolate the inexpensive wine and the new world wine, and thus figure out which was which.
It didn’t take us long to figure out the Canadian wine in the bunch was in bag #2. It had loads of new oak flavour (vanilla and sweet spice), and was darker, both in colour and in fruit expression (plums and figs). Bags #1 and #3 were giving us a little more challenge. They were very similar in style (nice bright acidity and red fruit), but in the end when we went around the circle and read our conclusions, everyone considered wine #1 to have better balance and complexity. By consensus we agreed that wine #1 was the expensive Italian Barbera.
We revealed wine #2 first, and confirmed that it was the very pleasant and approachable Sandhill small lots Barbera.
Then we tore the bag from wine #1. Inside was the cheap bottle of the night (and everyone’s favourite!) the Sperone Poggio Arduini Barbera D’Asti.
This is what I love about tasting blind. You have to throw your preconceptions out the door. What you think you might like or dislike will be tested. In this case we showed that in wine, as in many things, price is not always the best indicator of quality. We immediately put the more expensive bottles aside and started drinking our favourite while we still had fresh palates.
Here is the pizza recipe that I have been using. To this I often add some cured meat. My favourite is wild boar prosciutto.
Wild boar prosciutto at Oyama meats on Granville Island
Tipo 00 flour at Jackon’s meats on 4th
Buffalo Mozzarella at choices from this awesome producer: