The perfect wine for pizza. A phrase often used, but in reality a lot of wines are not an ideal match. So, having the opportunity to have a pizza and wine pairing curated with a personal strategy from Olivella’s Sommelier and Area Director of Operations at Green Restaurant Services, Simon Holguin, was a treat.
Many pizza places – even upscale – often have popular wines featured, but not wines that match the food. I was excited to try the options from Olivellas Pizza and Wine Shop, which all paired very well with the pies.
Simon talked about pairings with the pizzas and the importance of matching wines that bring them life. He talked about the challenge, but how it makes the experience so much better.
The History of Olivella’s
Experiencing a restaurant concepted by the third oldest pizza family from Naples, Italy, and brought to life by Chef Salvatore Olivella, the executive chef at Ruschmeyer’s in Montauk, shows a passion for Italy, pizza making and fresh ingredients. It was delicious. And having a well thought through strategy for a food and wine experience was an eye-opening tasting experience.
The Food of Olivella’s
Olivella’s has a full menu of pastas, pizzas, salads, paninis, and desserts from based on Italian recipes and styles. The pizzas are made in the Neapolitan (thin) and Roman styles (super thin).
I’m Italian and good pizza is an art and a science. Good pizza, like wine, has fresh and balanced ingredients. Ratios (like blends) are important, and cheese, crust, toppings and sauce are extremely important and can make or break the meal.
The restaurant has been named “Best Pizza in Texas” by USA Today, recognized in an article called “Most Incredible Pizza You’ll Ever Eat” by Rachael Ray, and has been picked Best Pizza in Dallas by the Observer: 2009, 2015, and 2016. There are Lakewood, SMU and Fort Worth locations.
The Wine of Olivella’s
Olivella’s launched the wine program prior to the pandemic (the Lakewood location was around several years before) and was overwhelmed by the neighborhood support.
There are retail choices, and the wines are at different price tiers — $28, $30, $36, $40, $50, $52, $65, $70, $80, $85, $90, $105 and $140 – a mix of approachable, delicious and wines of all tiers.
I asked Simon about the pricing strategy, and he told me, “We want people to come in at the price they want to pay and find a delicious discovery.”
And desserts even get pairing attention. If you had told me that tiramisu works with a Napa Cabernet, I wouldn’t have believed you. The two together were heavenly.
Here’s our food and wine-line up:
Focaccia – Burrata, garlic, herbs and olive oil with a balsamic pesto.
Primavera Salad — mixed greens, goat cheese, green apple, sun-dried cranberry, coconut balsamic dressing
Black Truffle Pizza — house-made mozzarella, usually made with speck (Italian ham, but I’m allergic to pork), mushrooms, truffle oil, black pepper (no sauce)
Chicken, Margarita and Pesto Pizza — house-made mozzarella, sauce, basil, chicken and pesto
Spinach and Three Cheese Pizza – as it sounds, but delicious. Could have been a special as I didn’t see it featured on the menu.
Tiramisu – Italian proper
NV Nicolas Feuillatte
2017 Berner Sauvignon Blanc, Loire Valley
2017 Crossbarn by Paul Hobbs Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
2017 Raymond “Sommelier” Cabernet Sauvignon, North Coast
2018 Joel Gott, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
2018 Tarot La Force, Napa – sidenote: this was the tiramisu pairing and I am now a believer
Olivella’s is elevating the experience of pizza and wine by providing an affordable, intelligent and interesting wine menu that perfectly complements the food. Enjoy a fun journey of discovering what the Italians do so well – the food and wine experience.