All the Wine at the Food & Wine Classic and How to Sip Along at Home
There’s one really great thing about Food & Wine's digital Classic At Home wine tastings: instead of shelling out cash for a plane ticket to Colorado, hotel rooms, an actual festival ticket, and all that, they’re free! And not that Aspen isn’t a nice place to be in the summer, but tasting wine in your own home has its benefits, too. This year's virtual Classic is on July 23, and we decided to do two lively versions of the more extensive seminars we typically offer at the IRL event. The wines are all affordable (excellent news) and, since we teamed up with wine.com on this, they can be sent directly to your home. You should go ahead and register for the event here, and order the wines here (use the code MEREDITH10 for a 10% discount).
But what are these seminars, you ask? First up, longtime Classic speaker and Food & Wine contributing wine editor Anthony Giglio throws a smackdown between three “super summer sippers.” You need a great wine to drink all summer, of course, but should it be white? Red? From Sicily? From California?
About his three contenders, Giglio says: “As an official unpaid ambassador for the Riesling grape, I cannot not recommend the delicious, unctuous, crisp, dry—you heard me, DRY!—Trimbach Riesling, from France’s Alsace region. Tastes great straight from the bottle, but also makes everything you pair it with taste better.
“On the other hand, if I were a winemaker in Central California, I’d be Rhône Ranger—a champion of grapes from my favorite wine region in France. The Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Blanc, Paso Robles, California is a blend of five white Rhône varietals: Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne and Clairette Blanche. It’s basically like biting into a ripe summer plum that you have to eat while leaning over the kitchen sink.
“And then there’s the Tornatore Etna Rosso from Sicily. Since we can’t fly there this summer, I will pour Etna Rosso (and bianco!) all day, every day. I love how you’d expect a wine from a hot Mediterranean island to be fruity and full-bodied, but growing way up on the slopes of Europe’s highest (and active!) volcano, there’s a ton of refreshing acidity here, especially when served properly with a chill on it.”
The only way to see which of Giglio’s picks comes out on top? Register for the virtual Classic, of course.
Our second wine seminar takes on one of the eternal questions: What wine goes best with pizza? (You knew it was an eternal question, right? It is. Trust me. Seriously eternal.) Hosted by F&W’s executive wine editor Ray Isle—i.e., me—it will throw three wines into a mosh-pit of pairing excellence. As with the other seminar, the wines are available from wine.com; the pizza you have to order yourself (I suggest pepperoni, but hey, your call; you want Swiss cheese nuggets and anchovies, go for it). The contenders are as follows:
The Bisol Jeio Cuvée Rose. Sparkling wine with pizza? Sparkling rosé with pizza? Well, look, it’s summer, for one thing, plus never discount the power of bubbles. They make everything taste great. Bisol is a terrific Prosecco producer, their rosé—made from Merlot and Pinot Noir from Italy’s Veneto region—is juicy and bright and absurdly refreshing. Perfect pizza wine.
Unless, of course, the Ponzi Tavola Pinot Noir proves better. Is it from Italy? No. It’s from Oregon. But it’s Pinot Noir, and every sommelier on the planet (with a few outliers who are obsessed with oddball grapes like Ploussard) feels that Pinot is the ultimate pair-with-anything red grape. Berry fruit (tasty with tomato sauce), fine tannins and bright acidity (good with pepperoni), screw-top (easy to open), what more can you ask for?
Except maybe everyone’s longtime pizza go-to, Chianti. If there were odds for this tasting in Vegas, the Tenuta di Nozzole Chianti Classico Riserva would be a 3-1 favorite. Spicy, firmly tannic, lots of dark red fruit notes, from a top Tuscan producer (though surprisingly affordable), it’s a shoo-in. Winner winner pizza dinner. Unless of course one of the others triumphs. Life is full of surprises, as anyone living in 2020 knows.