Everybody loves pizza. Some people in Washington even tried to tell America it’s a vegetable. They’re wrong, of course, especially if the pizza is a meat lover’s dream topped with creamy mozzarella, crispy bits of sausage, and pepperoni.
But we are getting ahead of ourselves.
Pizza and beer is typically the phrase, but let’s chat for a moment about pizza and wine. It’s actually a brilliant combination.
Grimaldi’s is changing the game by offering a unique wine created by their head chef specifically to go with your pizza. Or your salad. Or your dessert.
Think of this wine as the classic little black dress; you can dress it up, you can dress it down, and it’ll go anywhere and eat anything.
Eat anything good that is, and Grimaldi’s was up to the challenge. Their head chef invited us to try their new wine only available at their pizzeria; Mille Gradi, a way-too-easy to drink red blend of Sangiovese, syrah, and merlot. Chef Cory Lattuca traveled all the way to Italy to work with Rocca delle Macie Estate to create the three grape blend.
“As we created [the Mille Gradi] at the Rocca delle Macie Estate, we wanted to do with wine what we did with pizza. We wanted to take an Italian specialty and put a new world twist on it,” says Chef Lattuca.
Now in 12 states with 6 more coming, Grimaldi’s is one of Arizona’s most popular pizza joints. “You can take your wife one night and your kids the next and neither feels out of place,” Executive Chef Cory Lattuca says. But he dreamed of having his own wine blend. “Lots of good wines go with pizza,” Lattuca explains, “But we wanted a wine specifically for our pizza.”
At $10, this is just above house wine price point, but worth the extra pocket change to get a little sip of Italy.
This isn’t just, as Chef Lattuca says, “a way to dump off juice.”
At 85 percent Sangiovese (that’s the Chianti grape we all know and love), the bright cherry flavor is more approachable to the American palate while still offering an international experience. Aged 9 months in oak, this wine has notes of violet and cedar and cuts through the richness of meats while balancing out the acidity of marinara on veggie pizzas.
While at Grimaldi’s, we paired the wine with a trio of bruschetta, salad, pizza, and dessert, you know, to get the full experience, but also because we were hungry. Our favorite part was how the wine cut through the creaminess of the mozzarella on our pizza, a classic Margherita, giving it an extra edge. Not to be outdone, the fruity wine also brought out the fennel notes in Grimaldi’s Don pizza, elevating the dish.
But let’s be honest, good wine just tastes good with good food. So you can pair the Mille Gradi with the cinnamon and chocolate notes of a cannoli, as we did, or you can pair this wine with an earthy kale chopped salad, and you’ll still come away happy.
“Our pizzas are inspired by the Italian classic, so it felt right that we travel[ed] to Italy [to create] an Italian blend to pair with our menu,” says Luttuca.
Try the blend with one of Grimaldi’s coal-fired pizzas and impress the chef when you tell him you know Mille Gradi is Italian for “1,000 degrees,” tying it all back to those hot coal ovens… and Arizona summers.
4000 N. Scottsdale Rd Ste. 105
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
For other locations around town, check out their website.