I will admit a style preference when it comes to Chianti and pizza: light and elegant. Give me an easy drinking wine and a pizza that hasn't been lily-gilded with too much stuff. But every once in a while I am impressed by a bit of lavishness when it comes to this food and wine classic duo. This was the case at a lunch I recently attended as a guest of Dreyfus, Ashby & Co, checking out a trio of Italian wine producers along with a new restaurant in Seattle, Stoneburner.
The Chianti we enjoyed, tucked behind the Barolo (more on that later) in the photo, was the 2010 Barone Ricasoli Brolio. Like all wines from this region of Tuscany, it's mostly Sangiovese. But it also contains a dollop of Merlot (15%) and a smidge of Cabernet Sauvignon (5%). Looking at my tasting notes, which, in my case, consist of random scribblings capturing real-time sensations, I see two comments: "Rich for a Chianti Classico" and "Sumptuous!"
Interestingly enough, the motto on the label of this Italian wine, found in the crest, is in French: "Rien Sans Peine". Apparently noble families in Italy spoke a lot of French. The phrase roughly translates to, in our modern English parlance, "No Pain/No Gain". Sounds much more elegant in the French language, but doesn't everything?
There was no pain in eating Stoneburner's pizza but there definitely was some (waist) gain. If a pizza with potatoes and morels wasn't rich enough, it was flourished tableside with fonduta (cheese fondue) delivered from a precious little pitcher. Certainly excellent with the brawny Chianti, but also fantastic with Barolo, a wine from Piedmont showcasing the Nebbiolo grape in its most famous form, by producer Renato Ratti.
This isn't the first time I've dabbled in pizza sumptuousness; check out this nettle pesto and guanciale beauty. Now excuse me while I make myself a nice, light salad with a delicate white wine to match.