Above: The “Piccante” pizza at Due Forni in Austin is a Neapolitan crust topped with soppressata, Fresno peppers, buffalo’s milk mozzarella, and San Marzano tomatoes.
We were thrilled to learn that Due Forni in Austin, Texas is serving Cantele Primitivo by the glass.
Austin is one of Paolo Cantele’s favorite cities in the U.S. (he’s even been to Chicken Shit Bingo at Ginny’s Little Long Horn Saloon) and Due Forni, one of the most popular pizzerias in Las Vegas, which opened its Texas outpost in December 2013, is already making a name for itself in a city where the food and wine scene is literally exploding.
Italians are always a little puzzled when they see Americans pair wine with pizza. In Italy, pizza is generally paired with beer or Coca Cola. Occasionally, people will drink sparkling wine with pizza. But it’s rare that you’ll see Italians drinking still wine with pizza. It’s not a taboo. It’s just tradition.
But in America, where pizza leaves the chains of tradition behind, no pairing is out of bounds.
New Yorker and Italian wine expert Charles Scicolone is legendary for his pairing of pizza and Nebbiolo, for example (have a look at this post; in it, he describes a once-in-a-lifetime flight of Barolo paired with pizza).
One of the issues with pairing pizza and wine is that pizza is always served piping hot (soup is another dish that poses this challenge in choosing a pairing). Dishes served very hot tend to dominate the palate with their aromas and flavors. As a result, the flavors of the wine can be muted.
Another issue, especially when it comes to pizza in the U.S., where non-traditional toppings like the ones above can be as colorful as they are delicious, is that the flavors of pizza can be very intense.
These are just some of the reasons that — we feel — that Primitivo is such a great wine to pair with pizza.
Primitivo, when made in a traditional style like the Cantele Primitivo, has rich fruit flavor and body that can stand up to the heat and spice of a pizza like the Piccante at Due Forni.
And it also has a velvety texture that, together with its grapey and juicy notes, wraps itself around the flavor combination in pizza.
But the most important element is the acidity that we obtain in our Primitivo: you need that acidity to match the acidity of the tomatoes (San Marzano is one of the most acidic tomato varieties) and the mozzarella, which also has a high acidity content.
Of course, no pizza pairing is perfect unless you find the perfect pizza!
We can’t wait to try the pizza at Due Forni the next time Paolo makes it back to Austin.
Image via the Due Forni (Austin) Facebook.