MARCH 2024: Pizza Wine

by Leslie Pariseau

We opened a pizzeria and tavern. It's called St. Pizza. It's next door to the shop and it's everything we've always wanted from a slice shop and red sauce joint. Our native New Jersey-PA boy Tony grew up in a big Italian family that ran restaurants and cooks brigata-sized meals at holidays (and in general).

Collectively, Tony and I lived in New York for 40 years, which means we both ate a lot of pizza. Average 1.5 slices of pizza 3x per week over the course of 40 years, and you've got almost 10,000 slices of pizza. But that wasn't enough for a lifetime, so we built a pizza place with our salad-genius friend Abhi Bhansali. And for good measure we hid a tavern in the back—a proper pizza parlor meets red sauce joint meets martini bar.

We have a crazy-good team that is learning a lot every day, and we're continually figuring out how to make this wild experiment lovelier for you, but what we know thus far is:
1. You can hit the pizzeria for slices + to go pies. (Bring them to Patron Saint and grab a glass, any time.)
2. You can sneak behind the tavern curtains for pies + salads + pasta + cocktails Wednesday to Sunday.

This month, we're diving into pizza wine for 1000% more pizza pairing opps. Come to our window.

Caneva da Nani "El Vin Col Fondo" Veneto, IT NV

Before prosecco was prosecco, it was col fondo. Meaning something like "sur lie," col fondo is often a little cloudy because the spent yeasts (the lees) remain in the bottle post-secondary fermentation (fermented once to become wine, and a second time in the bottle to become bubbly). This style went largely by the wayside in the 1970s and 80s when Big Prosecco took over and fermentation began taking place in steel tanks for standardization and efficiency. Now the old is new again, and we have Caneva da Nani, first produced by Giovanni "Nani" Canello.

It's delightfully bubbly, sunny, and timeless. Perfect breakfast wine, excellent spritz wine, and even better Italian Chopped salad wine (see St. Pizza Italian Chopped Salad).

Domaine Maestracci "E Prove" Calvi, Corsica 2020

My favorite slice at the pizza counter is the bianca + Calabrian chile honey. With sweet ricotta, torn basil, and garlic confit, it's salty, sweet, and fantastically crunchy. Pizza meant for white wine-drinking. The "E Prove" comes from Camille-Anaïs Raoust of Domaine Maestracci on a granitic plateau of Calvi, Corsica. All vermentinu, it's grown biodynamically on an old olive grove and aged in a massive concrete building that once housed the olive oil mill.

Excellent food wine, it's got Jersey Shore boardwalk vibes with salty caramel apple richness and sans soucis sea breeze. Paper plates and go-cups, plz.

Montenidoli "Tradizionale" Tuscany, Italy 2022

Montenidoli was one of the first wines I bought for the pop-up three years ago. It strikes a wonderful balance between spiritual and classic with its alluring story of octogenarian Elisabetta Fagiuoli living in an old castle in Tuscany where the Knights Templar once slept, harvesting sanviovese by hand for over 50 vintages. It quickly became one of my favorite producers and remains so today.

Fagiuoli's wines telegraph sunshine, soil, and Tuscan soul with precision and simplicity. On the estate, rabbits are bred and fertilize the land. Vegetable gardens flourish and ancient olive trees run wild. Though she makes beautiful sangiovese, Fagiuoli's old-vine vernaccia is what entranced me. Her green label Tradizionale is a great example of classic Italian skin contact. Lithe, resinous, and golden, it's the thing to be drinking with clams and spaghetti (stay tuned for that one at the tavern).

Division-Villages “Béton” Oregon, 2022

If you've been part of the club for some time or popped through the shop, you've probably had a Division or two. Based in Portland, Oregon, Division produces wines that are most influenced by France, often Beaujolais, owing to their founders' time making wine in the cradle of gamay and carbonic maceration. This particular wine is inspired by Cheverny in the Loire. A blend of gamay, cabernet franc, côt, syrah, and pinot noir, it's aged in concrete ("béton" in French), and pays ode to classic bistro style wines.

It's not Italian, but it is cozy, like the worn-in red leather booths of an old-school brasserie, an atmosphere we're hoping to conjure in the back room of the tavern at St. Pizza. It's bistro wine, lovely with red sauce, tomato pie, and a perfect chocolate chip cookie.