Announcing the Pizza Wine Wars!

pizzaFake wars seem to be hot these days. If you turn on your TV, you  can see Bridal Wars (about bitchy brides), Parking Wars (about bitchy parking meter attendants), and even Cupcake Wars (about… cupcakes). I’m not kidding: you can apparently make a war out of anything.

If you’ve seen any of these shows, you know they’re all based on the premise that you can generate hysterically overwrought competitive fervor by pitting one boring thing against another, and offering a cash prize to the winner.

My War is anything but boring. Its mission is to find the World’s Greatest Wine To Drink With Pizza. That’s a tall order, since there are many, many worthy candidates out there, and it’ll take a lot of drinking to choose the winner. But I’m up for the challenge. Put me in, coach!

I already have one worthy candidate, which I reviewed a few weeks ago. You can click here to read the entire post about Garnacha de Fuego, but let me just say that it’s a kick-ass Spanish red that was born to marry pizza, or for that matter, any red sauce dish.

Last night I found another contender. I had a Hawaiian pizza in front of me (ham and pineapple, a relic of my college days) and popped (or rather, unscrewed) a new Australian Cabernet. I usually like Aussie Cab — lots of punch for the buck. This one is called Woop Woop Cabernet woopSauvignon 2009, and it’s made by a group of  seemingly crazy Aussies in the McLaren Vale district. At least they seem crazy, because on their website they say stuff like, “Do ya reckon he went all the way to Bullamakanka? Cut it out. He wouldn’t have gotten within a cooee of Woop Woop.” Huh?

Gotta love those Aussies.  Woop Woop is apparently an Australian expression similar to our BFE (do I need to explain?), so they say their wines are “Out there from Out There.” This Cab’s grapes are sourced from remote vineyards in South Australia, including McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek. Both sites feature topography that creates a substantial cooling influence, producing very good acid in the fruit.

So that’s why this works so well with pizza! The bright acid in this wine hits the natural acid in the tomato sauce and the whole thing ignites the fruit in the wine. It caught me by surprise, because the nose is pretty restrained, showing just tart red currant and cranberry. But the fruit on the palate is rich and intense, suggesting black raspberry, dark cherries and blackberry. When I sipped the Woop Woop with my pizza’s sweet pineapple and smoky ham, I thought I was in heaven.

Woop Woop Cabernet weighs in at 15% alcohol, so it’s no lightweight. But that great acid keeps it from being heavy or jammy, and gives it great balance. It really is an amazing bottle for $12 or so. And here’s one final kicker — there’s no oak in this wine, but you won’t miss it. The rich, tangy fruit is all you’ll need.

Make sure you send a comment if there’s a wine you want to enter in the Pizza Wine Wars, and Cheers!

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