A Pizza Party With a Fun Italian Red

Ciccio Zaccagnini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Tralcetto Riserva 2008
James Molesworth
Posted: June 13, 2011

On a warm, late afternoon, I had 10 seven-year-old girls around the table, celebrating my youngest daughter’s birthday. We were at our local pizza place, Patsy’s on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. They were giggling about Kung Fu Panda 2, which they had just seen, and scarfing down their pizza. (I even got a few of them turned on to the white pizza with sausage, rather than just a plain version.)

But what about the adults? Cranberry juice wouldn’t do. We didn’t need anything complicated, and this Italian red, at a modest $40 on the wine list, fit the bill. Made by Ciccio Zaccagnini, it was round and fresh, with juicy plum and black cherry fruit and a hint of anise on the finish—direct and easygoing, but still lively enough to match with the food. (Yes, I indulged in some pizza as well). The wine is made from Montepulciano grapes grown in the Abruzzo region of central Italy, fermented in stainless steel and then aged for a few months in Slovenian oak, giving it a light-bodied feel. A fun 85 points for me, non-blind.

No, Patsy’s doesn’t list vintages on the wine list, and the wine glasses aren’t Riedel. But once in a while, that’s OK.

WineSpectator.com members: Get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Montelpulciano d’Abruzzo wines, along with our quick list of Top Values among Italian reds.

Member comments   2 comment(s)

Henry E Stamm Iv — Pocatello, ID, USA —  July 7, 2011 8:57am ET

$40 is modest? With pizza? Even from a pizza restaurant wine list, I would consider anything over $15 quite an indulgence. In fact, the last time I purchased a bottle of wine to go with pizza, I'm pretty sure I paid just about $10 for nice Washington state syrah.


James Molesworth — Senior Editor, Wine Spectator —  July 7, 2011 9:13am ET

Henry: $15 would be better, but in Manhattan, i'd say any decent wine under $50 on a wine list is modest, assuming the markup is normal...


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