Pizza And Wine – A Perfect Combination

Mo Wine Please

~Beaujolais – It’s not just Nouveau~

In our house comfort food means pizza and wine.

Peter has been having a particularly busy and crazy time at work.  The poor guy had a long and tiring week then had to work all day Saturday.

An evening of deep-dish pizza and wine, while relaxing in front of the TV watching the Notre Dame game was just what he needed to wind down.

(OK, so the football game was neither relaxing nor enjoyable but the pizza and wine made up for it.)

One of the many things we miss about living in Chicago is the mouth-wateringly delicious stuffed pizza. You know, the kind that has a deep-dish crust, about two inches of gooey, yummy cheese and tomato sauce on top.

Pure pizza bliss.

Shortly after we moved to San Diego, a colleague of Peter’s introduced us to Lefty’s Chicago Pizza. It’s about a half hour drive from us but so well worth the trip.

We generally order our pizza “par-baked”.  The pizza comes home partially baked and is finished up in your own oven so it hits your table piping hot.

par baked pizza

Par-baked green olive stuffed pizza

It bakes for 10 minutes then you put the sauce on and bake it for 10 more.


Pizza with expertly applied sauce

Now you are probably thinking, “I thought this was a Mo Wine Please post. So far it seems like a Mo Pizza Please post.”

{Note to self: consider a new Mo Pizza Please feature. Lots of research necessary.}

Fear not, here is the wine part.

Peter chose a 2011 Domaine des Braves Réginié Beaujolais Gamay ($22 from Bounty Hunter) to pair with our delicious stuffed green olive pizza.

2011 Domaine des Braves Beaujolais

Beaujolais is a light to medium-bodied French wine made from the Gamay grapes. It generally exhibits a higher acidity (more fruity) and is meant to be consumed young.

The name comes from the Beaujolais province in northern France. Although technically part of the Burgandy region, the area’s climate is more similar to that of the Rhône region. Because Beaujolais wine is deemed to be different enough from both Burgandy and Rhône wines, it gets its own category.

The Gamay grape is a cross between Pinot Noir and a white wine grape, Gouais, first brought to France by the Romans centuries ago.  The Gamay grape produces fruity wine in usually abundant harvests. It is much less temperamental than Pinot Noir.

Interesting story: in 1395 The Duke of Burgandy Phillipe the Bold issued a decree forbidding the growing of the Gamay grape. He considered it to be inferior and less elegant than his favored Pinot Noir. In 1455, Phillipe the Good issued another proclamation against the poor, misunderstood Gamay grape. He basically said that he knew best and was protecting all the land from inferior wine.

The result of these bans was that the Gamay crop was pushed further south to the Beaujolais area where the granite soil turned out to be magical for these grapes.

Happy ending.

But wait, there’s more.

The 19th century saw the introduction of Beaujolais Nouveau, a light version of Beaujolais that is meant to be consumed very young. It was originally produced as a simple wine to celebrate a good harvest.

The Beaujolais Nouveau harvest always takes place between late August and early September, the wine is fermented for just a few days and released worldwide, every year on the third Thursday of November.  Beaujolais Nouveau Day. Wineries will ship the wine a few days earlier but it must be kept secure in bonded storage until released, in unison, at 12:01am on Beaujolais Nouveau Day.

Those wacky French and their rules.

This light, fun wine gained worldwide popularity, peaking in 1992 when more than half of the Beaujolais wines produced were Beaujolais Nouveau.

Shortly after that, rumors started building that the quality of Beaujolais Nouveau was declining.  The crisis of reputation got so bad that after the 2001 vintage, over a million cases of Beaujolais (mostly Beaujolais Nouveau) had to be destroyed because no one was buying it.

A noted French wine critic, Francois Mauss, pointed to what he said had been a decades long decline in the wine. He said that the producers of Beaujolais were guilty of ignoring the warning signs and seemed to be satisfied with their “vin de merde”.


You can imagine that the Beaujolais producers were not happy with this characterization of their wine.  There were lawsuits, yadda, yadda, yadda…

Suffice it to say, lessons learned.

The French have lots of rules about their wine. Think of them as the Homeowners’ Association of French wine producers. A necessary evil.  They take their job of maintaining quality and consistency quite seriously.

And that’s a good thing for all of us.

Now you can count on Beaujolais Nouveau to be just what it was always meant to be – a light, inexpensive, easy drinking wine. Look for it to be released this year on November 21st.

Now back to our Beaujolais.

This wine is produced from the Beaujolais Cru “Régnié”. It is believed that this Cru was the first area in Beaujolais planted by the Romans .

The 2011 Domaine des Braves Réginié Beaujolais Gamay is described as having an aroma of wildflowers and cherry blossoms with a hint of baking spices. It’s medium body and good balance come with flavors of red plum and pomegranate.

Bounty Hunter says this: “Cru Beaujolais… one of the wine world’s most underrated secrets! Trust us when we say that this is the stuff that people in the business drink. Bearing zero resemblance to the “nouveau” bubblegum that most people associate with Beaujolais, think of this as bargain Burgundy. It’s a full-throttle, gripping red that’s packed with purple fruits, cherry pie, flowers and spice.”

I love Bounty Hunter. Their descriptions are always amusing with just a touch of judgement.

I would definitely say that this wine drinks much more like a Burgundy than a Beaujolais. It stood up well to the tomato sauce and the richness of the oooey, gooey pizza.

pizza and wine

Except for the football game, it was a lovely, cozy evening at home.

Just us and our pizza and our wine.

And, it must be said that this was not a sponsored post. All of the opinions, along with the delicious pizza and yummy wine were mine (shared with Peter).

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  1. LOVE Chicago-style pizza! You’re lucky to have found a place to get it in San Diego. I’ve tried making it, and it’s just not the same.
    Kathy G recently posted…In Breaking News…My Profile

  2. That looks DELICIOUS!! YUM!-Ashley
    thedoseofreality recently posted…Born To Make A DifferenceMy Profile

  3. I haven’t had a Beaujolais for years. At that time, I thought it was supposed to be served colder than other red wines. Is this a wrong assumption that I have had in all this time? Maybe I need to revisit Beaujolais?

  4. Oh what a fun post. I LOVE me some deep dish. You are going to smack me because I have Giordano’s and other local spots walking distance and I haven’t had one in months! I don’t even remember when lol. And this wine sounds like it would go so well with it, wine and pizza is a great alternative to pizza and beer. I am not so fond of beer so wine with pizza for me! 🙂
    Deanna recently posted…What To Wear-Date Night in November.My Profile

  5. The pizza looks amazing!!
    And, I love pizza and wine (I only drink white wine though)!!! Of course, I love most anything with wine.
    Kim recently posted…Veteran’s DayMy Profile

  6. That looks Yummy and I would go for a Par-baked pizza and tell everyone I made it from scratch. Thanks for Visiting me on my SITS day and come back soon.
    Neti* recently posted…SITSMy Profile

  7. Who knew a post about pizza and wine could be so educational? Sounds similar to our Sunday – except we did football, Chinese food, and beer. According to my husband, anything and everything goes with beer.
    Dana recently posted…Q & A and a PSAMy Profile

  8. That pizza looks amazing. I am a huge fan of pizza. I don’t drink a lot of wine though. I generally pair my pizza with Diet Coke. I drink a lot of Diet Coke.
    Amber recently posted…Happy Veterans DayMy Profile

  9. pizza and wine…sounds delish!

  10. This post is so informative, Mo…thank you for sharing your wine knowledge! I hope you will post one of you fab vineyard visits for my link party next Monday!! xoxo

  11. OMG…. ham and green olive Chicago style please. Yummy!
    Julia recently posted…Comfort Me With ApplesMy Profile

  12. Mo Pizza Please posts? Yes, please! I love wine and pizza, so this post alone is a little happy place for me. It all looks and sounds so good!
    Kristen recently posted…Do you hear that?My Profile

  13. Yum! We’ve had deep dish in Chicago a couple of times and nothing else seems to quite compare. But I’m willing to continue taste-testing until I find the right one. Tough job, but someone’s gotta do it 😉
    Trish recently posted…How not to move with five catsMy Profile

  14. Was thinking of you during the Daily Show.

  15. Pizza and wine: staples ’round here.
    French wine? Even better.
    Liz Aguerre recently posted…I am a writerMy Profile

  16. Pizza and Wine are two of my favorite things! Not sure I’ve had a true Chicago deep dish around here, but I may have to start looking…
    Tressie Davis recently posted…R.I.P. Tiger Dog DavisMy Profile

  17. Just picked up a couple bottles of Beaujolais . Love this season! I usually buy a case, but trying to drop a few pounds… 😉
    Teri recently posted…Estate Sale SCORE! Antique Hamilton Printers CabinetMy Profile


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