Last year, I wrote about a swank Cotes du Rhone event that I attended in celebration of a new ad campaign touting the wine's gift for accompanying fancy fare and casual grub alike. At that time, I took the event programmers to task for only focusing on the posh half of the equation, delicious as it may have been.
This year, they went to the other end of the spectrum, inviting a select group of foodies to a pizza party at Chelsea's Co. The pizzas were paired with some of the Rhone Valley's loveliest bottles by Blue Hill Sommelier Thomas Carter. I enjoyed all the vin, but officially developed a crush on Carter when it came to his selection of Vidal-Fleury, Cote-Rotie 2005, a ruby red beauty offering hints of pomegranate, dark cherry and tobacco. (Why aren't there more sommeliers at pizzerias?)
The pizza was equally divine: Bianca Tradizionale, featuring mozzarella, pecorino, black pepper and pork strutto by Chef Nate Appelbaum of Pulino's; Corn Pie, showcasing corn puree, mozzarella, parmesan, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and chili pepper from Chef Jim Lahey, our pizzeria host for the event; Brussels Sprout Pizza, with fior di latte, pancetta afumicatta, garlic and parmesan from Chef Matheiu Palombino of Motorino...
...Margherita Pie spotlighting sweet tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil by Chef Mark Iacono of Lucali; and a thick-crusted Sweet Pie with chocolate, Salvatore Brooklyn ricotta and raw honey from Chef Heather Carlucci of Print Restaurant.
It was an amazing meal accompanied by a selection of sensational Rhone Valley wines. And, just reliving it now, I really don't know if I can ever have pizza with Chianti again.