Pot Luck

Odd Pair: Pizza and Baritone Shiraz Cabernet

We know what you're thinking. Pizza and wine isn't an odd pair. We've had pizza and wine plenty of times. But, the question is, have you had it with the right wine? You can't pair pizza with just any old wine -- unlike beer. It needs to be a wine that brings out the flavors of the pie, not just washes it down.

Our favorite doughy creation has homemade sausage and a jalapeño kick. None of this fresh-from-the-freezer, grocery store pizza. We want a chewy crust and fresh tomato sauce to sink our teeth into. To find a wine that goes well with spice but also cuts the pizza grease, we went to Spec's.

The wine gurus at Spec's suggested the Baritone Shiraz Cabernet. "This Shiraz Cabernet blend is juicy and expressive, with soft fruit," they explained. "It's good for the spicy sausage and jalapeño of the pizza." They also suggested bringing it to our next barbecue, because it's a good party wine. "The one-liter bottle is also nice for a date night when you want a little more than one bottle of wine but not quite two." Brilliant. Not only does the wine go well with pizza, but it will keep us from opening that delicious, but often unnecessary, second bottle of wine.

This full-bodied Australian wine is a deep, almost purple color, with lots of black fruit flavors and a bit of spicy oak. It's your typical bold Australian red. The wine is also a great value at only about $13 for a liter.

For under $20, you can have a nice pizza-and-wine date night at home. Trust us; you won't go back to pizza and beer.