Just because you order a take away pizza, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have an enjoyable wine to go with it. And what better wine then an Italian wine. The Italians subscribe to the philosophy that food and wine are meant to go together. Pizza might be a considered a fast food but when you stop and think about it, it can be a quality food stuff with delicious ingredients, even if it is a take away pizza. I’m not talking about Domino’s, plenty of people like them but I prefer a pizza from my local pizzeria: good, quality ingredients, might be more expensive then Domino’s but I think I’m worth it.
I felt like doing a bit of a shop and so found myself in Leadenhall Market heading to Planet of the Grapes. An independent wine shop, they specialize in selling new and interesting wines as well as the classics. Having a browse around, I found plenty of high end wines, from Sassicaia to First Growths and plenty in between. The wines are not exactly cheap but I did find a reasonably priced Italian red from southern Italy, an Aglianico made by Fattoria Selvanova.
Selvanova is not one of those ancient vineyards that seem to be scattered about Italy like so much confetti after New Year’s but it does have a great story behind it. Antonio Buono, the owner and manager of the Estate stumbled across it one sunny afternoon while he was picnicking nearby. What he saw was an abandoned, derelict farm and farm house but he also saw great potential in the land and set about restoring it to its former beauty. Antonio was a geologist in a former life and he could see that the land, calcareous clay soil, was well suited to grow grapes, combine that with an excellent micro-climate and it was only a matter of time before wine production could be put into place.
Within 10 short years, Antonio and his team have built up an impressive reputation with their wines. Antonio decided to focus on the native grape of the region Aglianico and the recently rediscovered red and white variety, Pallagrello. I had the pleasure of popping open his 2006 Vigna Antica aglianico. What I appreciate about Italian wines is the pureness of the wines. This Aglianico was everything I had hoped for a full, intensely flavoured succulent mouthful. An enticing aroma of black plums and bitter cherries, followed onto loads more black plum, black cherry and dark bitter chocolate on a fruitily medium bodied wine. There wasn’t that racing acidity that is often the hallmark of Italian reds but a pleasing, velvety softness to the wine.
Despite the fact that it was locking in at 14%, I found it very easy to drink. I was drinking it with my pepperoni pizza and what a sinfully joyful mouthful they were together. I was really enjoying this food and wine combination. So, the next time you feel the need for pizza, don’t opt for beer or a cheap red but rather take a minute or two to experiment with some of the lesser known varietals coming out of Italy, you won’t be sorry you did.
The Selvanova 2006 retails for £14 from Planet of the Grapes.