Olly’s been on a mission while in lockdown to find wine and pizza pairings—

One of the most searched-for recipes on the BBC Food website during lockdown is pizza. At home, we’ve been making our own in the oven every Friday night and more often than not, a cold crisp beer is my go-to choice with these edible Italian discs of delight.

But the last few weeks of lockdown, I’ve been on a mission to find wine and pizza pairings so good to make your smile wide enough for an extra slice.

First of all, decide what type of pizza you fancy. If it’s seafood or just a plain pizza bianco (minus tomato), white wine is your one-way ticket to the pinnacle of Mount Glory.

Meaty rich toppings are all about the red vino. While rosé is a safe all-rounder (and I’d be going for a Provençal bottle to soak up those sunny Mediterranean flavours), I think zooming in with the precision of Goldfinger’s laser beam is worthwhile for that little bit of extra enjoyment.

Let’s say you’re going for dough balls too – chilled Prosecco contrasts splendidly with their soft plump texture and oozing golden melting garlic butter.

Or how about a plain old Margherita with molten cheese and vibrant tomato? A decent Chianti with the natural acidity that unfurls from the Sangiovese grapes is always good, or reach for a Valpolicella Ripasso for a red with bit more welly.

But for value, head to Sicily and nab a bottle of reliable Nero D’Avola – as smooth and mellow as black cherry on a lilo.

OLLY’S PICK OF THE BUNCH

PIZZA IN OUR TIME: This Is… Rich & Smooth Spanish Red (12%) £5. It may not be Italian but for a fiver this is an all-round red that’s hard to beat for the informality of lockdown pizzas. Magic for the money.

SLICE OF LIFE: The Best Nerello Mascalese 2018 (13.5%) £6 (on offer) Morrisons. Long lasting grippy dark and delicious wine that’s as dynamic as a dance-off between a troupe of blueberries and a circus of cherries. Meaty pizza perfection.

TOPPING TREAT: Alinos Vermentino di Gallura 2019 (13.5%) £10 Tesco. Stunning Sardinian white that’s got the perfect zesty richness and power to pair with pizza bianco, shellfish, or any pizza that’s smothered in green rocket and veg.

UPPER CRUST: MIP (Made in Provence) Rosé 2019 (12.5%) £14.95 Lea & Sandeman. One of my best buy pinks from Provence this year. Well worth the price, it’s peachy and delightfully easy to drink. Treat yourself to the taste of summer.

WINE OF THE WEEKNero Oro Appassimento 2018 (14%) £8.99* Majestic (*Mix Six). So much wine for the money, this turbo-charged Nero D’Avola  shows what Sicily can deliver for under ten quid. Sleek, fruity and bulging with fistfuls of juicy black fruit – turns pizzas into paradise.

This column was originally published in the Mail on Sunday, Sunday 17th May 2020

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