by Fred McMillin
for September 1, 1997

Like Rogers and Astaire, Here's Another Perfect Pair

Prologue:

  • The parent of pizza originated in Naples during the glory of Rome. The poet Virgil, 40 years before the birth of Christ, described it as "a half-baked disk of unleavened dough sprinkled with herbs."

    ...from The Horizon History of Eating & Drinking

  • Grape taxonomists believe the Zinfandel to be identical with the Primitivo of Southern Italy.

    ...from The University Wine Course by Dr. Marion Baldy

The Rest of the Story: While there are those who will challenge the claim that Zinfandel originated on Italian soil, there's no doubt about pizza's Italian paternity. So, in our delectable pairing of the two, let's start with the pizza.

Vivande's "Pizza Con Funghi"
Lightly sautéed Portobello, Crimini and Tree Oyster mushrooms sprinkled with virgin olive oil and grated Parmigiano Reggiano Italian cheese... quite delicate, calling for a red that would not obscure the funghi...and here it is.

1995 Shenandoah Vintners Selection Zinfandel
Lee Sobon has been making award-winning Amador Zinfandels for 20 years, but this is the first time he's made a Vintners Selection. It is not a peppery powerhouse. Instead, you get bright cherry and vanilla-French oak flavors made to complement, not dominate.

1995 Zinfandel Vintners Selection
Sobon Family Vineyards, Amador County
Rating—My tasters like wines that are ready to drink the day they buy them. This one fits the bill. They gave it a Highly Recommended.
Only 600 cases
$15

Contacts:

  1. Shenandoah Winery: Ask for Paul Sobon, who grew much of the grapes for this wine, (209) 245-4455
  2. Vivande at the Opera Plaza, Franklin and Golden Gate, (415) 673-9245. You won't find this Zin on the wine list, but Val can suggest a fine, light Italian equivalent.
Postscript: It's not known exactly when pizza originated in ancient Naples, but it is known when the first pizzeria opened in the USA. It was 102 years ago, 1895, at 53 Spring Street in New York City.
About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


Read more articles by Fred McMillin in the eGGsf

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