Greek Pizza … A Perfect Pairing with Assyrtiko, a Wine Seeming to be Created for Greek Pizza

Pairing:  Greek Pizza (with Feta, Spinach, and Oil-cured Olives) Paired with a 2014 Santo Wines Grande Reserve Assyrtiko Santorini

Food: Surprise! Greek Pizza did not come from Greece! Well, wait a second … let’s qualify that. What has been called Greek Pizza originated in Connecticut in the 1950’s. The Greeks, however, have been making unleavened flatbreads topped with oils, herb and spices for centuries, well before the first pizza (so named and topped with tomato sauce) emerged in Naples, Italy. (see The History of Pizza). So, we can say that our Greek Pizza is more closely related to the “pizza” created in 1950’s Connecticut than the flatbreads that began their life in the bakeries of Ancient Greece or among the working class of early 19th century Naples.

Our Greek Pizza starts with a crust made from white whole wheat flour, water, yeast, and salt. A dressing composed of EVO oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and oregano is brushed onto each individual pie (about a tablespoon of dressing for each 8-inch pie). Some grated mozzarella is mixed in with the cooked chopped spinach and seasoned with granulated garlic and nutmeg. Spread onto the crust. Sprinkle generously with crumbled feta and chopped oil-cured olives. Bake at 490F.

Wine:  When one thinks of Greece, the image that often pops up in our imagination is of white .. very white … white-washed, cube-shaped buildings perched atop or clinging precariously to treacherously steep black volcanic cliffs, all set against the almost surreal blue of the Mediterranean Sea. What you have just conjured up is the real-life Santorini, one of Greece’s Cyclades Islands located in the southern Aegean Sea. It is a stunningly gorgeous place (see video) shaped by a long history of volcanic eruptions over thousands of years. It is also home to some REALLY GOOD WINE and a very productive wine industry despite the harsh geologic and climatic conditions in which the grape vines must thrive. Assyrtiko is considered to be the flagship wine of Santorini and, many would claim, Greece’s most iconic wine. We hardily concur.

Tasting Notes:  A deep gold color. The aroma of a very ripe Charante melon. One can practically smell the luscious sweet aroma from across the room! A little bit of spice and honey can be detected, adding a wonderful complexity. The palate reflects and deepens the honey and melon. “… late summer in a glass.” says my wife … she captures it perfectly. She elaborates … ” on the terrace, warm summer sun slanting though the trees … You’ve just eaten buttered corn on the cob, and then eat a very ripe, sun warmed melon served with spiced honey cakes.” I think she liked the wine. I love how a wine can set a scene or tell a story.

The pairing couldn’t be better. The richness of the wine plays well with the salty feta. It should be noted that the wine was not chilled. It just sat out on the counter, unopened, for hours before we drank it. The room temperature warmth let the complexity and subtleties of the wine shine.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Greek Pizza: Sauvignon Blanc (South Africa), Moschofilero (Greece), Viognier (California), Riesling (Alsace)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Assyrtiko:  Oysters, Taziki and Yogurt Based dips, Hummus, Chicken or Seafood Kebabs, Goat Cheese and Feta Cheese

Maps and Photos of the Santorini Wine Region: Santorini

A Source: www.wine.com

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