Monday, March 7, 2011

Paired Up: Red Blend and Pizza

In our Paired Up posts, we review a wine and the food we wisely (or foolishly) paired it with. 

The Wine

2007 Beresan Winery The Buzz (Walla Walla Valley)

Since we were having a pizza with a little bit of everything, we wanted a wine with a little bit of everything. This one fit the bill: it's a blend of 40% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot and 10% Malbec.We first tried this blend at Beresan Winery just south of Walla Walla during Spring Release last year, and we picked up a bottle at that time. That bottle is long gone; this one came from Fred Meyer. It rested at room temperature in our dining room wine rack for a couple months until it got pulled for this meal. We opened and decanted it about 30 minutes before tasting. It didn't seem to need even that long, though. We could smell this one beckoning us from across the room right away. It's truly a pop and pour wine.

The Food

After a long day of hiking around Seattle, Hunter took the reigns on making this meal happen. In the chef's words:

This was a tough one. First, I consulted Katy to decide whether we wanted a cheesy pizza or a toppings-driven pie. Toppings was the consensus, so I went online to Zeek's Pizza to bring up the "Super Awesome," a custom pizza with pepperoni, spinach, pineapple, mushrooms, roma tomatoes and roasted garlic. Unfortunately, Zeek's website had been updated since we last ordered and I could not simply recall a saved order, meaning I had to check all those boxes individually... what trials!

Seriously, though, Zeek's online ordering is well organized and allows me to not have to stumble over my words when ordering dinner. I got the pizza lined up, tacked on some breadsticks, and, 30 minutes later, we had dinner delivered to our door. Perfect!

Hunter's Gatherings

The wine is nearly opaque and stains everything from the decanter to the glass to (I'm sure) my teeth with its purple hue. The aroma is heavy with smoky grilled meat and also reveals leather, plum, dark fruit, chocolate and licorice. On tasting, there is a ton of jammy fruit propped up by a leathery backbone. The finish comes through in waves, and chocolate smooths it all out.  I kept sniffing and swirling and tasting, and was a little sad when the bottle was empty. It's not a refined wine with serious aged complexity - it tastes very fruity and pretty young - but it is fun to drink, and even more fun to smell! Let pretense go and enjoy! 93

With the pizza... wow! Both the pizza and the wine had many layers to work with, and they worked together gloriously. The fruit on the pizza brought forward the fruit in the wine. The spice in the pepperoni brought forward the spice in the wine. The garlic on the pizza and on the breadsticks was absolutely fantastic with the wine. It tied everything together - fruit, spice, earth - and just made everything make sense.

Katy's Take

On fist look, it appeared as though a black-hole was slowly consuming the bottom of my wine glass. Is there anything more enticing than a heavy, richly dark glass of wine waiting for you to taste? The bouquet was aromatic without being overpowering; the initial scent was laden with everything that I have come to love in a dark red. My first thought was Cap'n Crunch, which I suppose leads into the Brett I detected later on of an earthy, slightly cheesy scent. Overall, it was delicious to sniff, with wafts of sweet tobacco alluding to its age and light and buttery coconut connecting to the oak. The Syrah was very forward with a pleasant crush of black currants and caramel custard. The sip was mouth watering. So charged with round flavors that truly coated the mouth, it was difficult to really pick out any one fruit, although it was definitely fruit driven. The attack was just pure juice and a chewy, meaty texture all at once, finishing out to a thick pudding-like, lip-smacking finale. 94 

Paired up with my favorite things - pizza and Hunter (always trying to get more cheese!) - this was undeniably one of our best duets to date! With our choices in toppings, the pepperoni and pineapple are always seeming to wage war on each other, with the tongue as the battleground; but washing it down with a gulp of this Buzz-worthy wine (again, never enough cheese!), was equivalent to having a flavor referee! It was able to coerce both sides into a good, clean, fun game of making the taste buds happy. I don't even think that I can say enough about how well it coupled with the garlic. My final written note reads more like a wedding toast to the two's happy union than anything else! I can't wait to three-peat with this combo again!

The Conclusion

A glorious mess of a pizza deserves a glorious mess of a wine, and this pairing was perfect. The wine had something to go with everything we threw at it, and the pizza had a taste to go with each facet of the wine. The pineapple and tomato picked up the juiciness of The Buzz, the pepperoni brought out the peppery spice and the mushrooms and spinach lent it some earthiness. The big star here, though, was the garlic. Oh my. The more garlic there was in a bite, the better. If you find yourself with a bottle of this, make sure you have it with some garlic! Amazing!

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