Would an Italian rosé would be an apropos choice for a padron pepper vegetarian pizza? It doesn't take much arm-twisting for me to order a dry rosé to find out, and there is nothing like discovering unexpected pairings with this gold-standard wine for year-round indoor and outdoor enjoyment. Not only was this pizza from Rione XIII in Seattle resplendent with padron peppers, it also showcased house-made ricotta, pickled onions and some cherry tomatoes. Rosés are particularly vegetarian and vegetable-loving wines, and this was no exception.
Though really any dry, quality pink wine would fit the bill, I was particularly impressed with this Italian offering from Terradora di Paolo. Their 2011 rosé, hailing from just east of Naples in the Campania region, is made from that area's most well-known red wine grape: Aglianico. The wines made from Aglianico can be powerful and long-lived, but in this case, the red grape skins get just a brief period of contact with the clear juice to add subtle color and flavor.
Contrasting and complimenting flavors is a key concept in food and wine pairing. Just as the pickled onions added a bit of zest to cut through that rich ricotta, a lively dry rosé can act as a similar (liquid) ingredient when confronted with substantial ingredients. And rosés work well with a mix of vegetables, whether raw in a salad or topping your pizza.
So the next time you order a vegetarian pizza with a myriad of toppings, don't forget the rosé! You can read more about rosé and many of my other favorite wines at jamesonfink.com.
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