TNs: Toronto Wood Oven Pizza Party Wines

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Tran Bronstein
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TNs: Toronto Wood Oven Pizza Party Wines

#1 Post by Tran Bronstein » October 27th, 2019, 6:08 pm

Berserkers,

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Fellow board member Dylan Provencer and his lovely wife Chelsea held a wine and food gathering last night to commemorate the second of their two recent new babies. The first being their recently newborn second son and the second being their brand new outdoor wood burning pizza oven! For this afternoon gathering, we all brought wine while Dylan and Chelsea provided the pizza doughs, sauces and toppings for people to play with as well as lessons on how to properly make pizza in a wood burning stove. I’ll summarize the wines, the pizzas, the techniques and even share some recipes that people came up with over the course of the evening.

The great thing about pizza is that it is actually quite a complex food and plays equally well with red, white and even sweet wines depending on how you top it. For the event, Dylan made his own pizza dough and tomato sauce but also purchased some pre-made doughs just to make sure there was enough to go around for the evening. They provided an abundance of cheeses including shredded and cubed mozzarella, parmesan and feta and board member Michael Grammer provided some blue cheeses smuggled in from the US as well. You didn’t hear that from me, though. For toppings we had a ton of veggie and protein options including zucchini, red peppers, red onions, cremini and Japanese Inoki mushrooms, potatoes, raw and cured sausages, ground beef, and chicken. Mike G. also brought some Moroccan lamb. We also had some nice bottled pesto as well.

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Dylan started the event off with a basic Margherita pizza. Then he got us all to make our own pizzas and how to cook them in the wood burning oven. Some important points for your pizza making from Dylan:

• First, you need tools: A couple of pizza peels (aka pizza spatulas). One is for “launching” the pizza into the blazing hot oven and the other is for “spinning” it and retrieving it from the oven. At least one heat-proof silicon glove for protection. A wooden cutting board for the finished pizzas. And of course a pizza slicer.
• The launching peel must be liberally covered with flour so the raw pizza doesn’t stick to it. Unless you like watching all your toppings and sauce fly off the pizza onto the oven floor when you try to launch it into the oven as the dough remains behind stuck to the peel.
• Under no circumstances should one touch any part of either the blazing oven or even the hot pizza itself with their hands or any other part of their body. Use silicon heat resistant oven mitts at all time while handing until ready to cut and serve.
• Once launched into the oven, you have to “spin” the pizza using a peel repeatedly as you can risk burning a side of the pizza by overexposing it to the heat. All sides of the pizza should be as evenly exposed as possible.
• The oven can reach up to 500 – 700 degrees Celsius which is hot enough to actually keep the pizza cooking itself even after you completely remove it from the oven! So if you think it’s underdone, you might be surprised a few minutes later when it’s completely cooked through. Better to judge by how the pizza sides are done than how the bottom is done.
• The sides of the pizza will cook faster than the bottom (although the bottom will cook quite rapidly as well). So if you want to cook the bottom a bit more, you need to lift the pizza with the peel and expose the bottom to the heat more before retrieving.

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We had some delicious combinations, not all of which I managed to record (although I managed to pretty much taste every one) but I will share as many different ones as I documented in my notes.

• Tomato sauce and mozzarella (basic Margherita) optionally touched with fresh basil leaves
• Tomato sauce, mozzarella and mushrooms
• Tomato sauce, mozzarella, ground beef, Inoki mushrooms, bacon, hot peppers
• Mozarella, Parmesan, hot peppers, red onions and zucchini
• Cured sausage, mushrooms, onions and mozzarella
• Taco pizza: exactly what it sounds like, Tex-Mex cheese blend, ground beef, salsa, hot peppers
• Pesto, Burrata cheese, quail eggs, and fresh basil leaves
• Pesto, potato slices and fresh basil leaves
• Nutella and fresh raspberries
• Nutella and fresh strawberries

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I did take a crack at the pizzas and am proud to say that I actually did spin my dough in the air. This actually made the dough a bit too thin which became a little problematic with the vegetarian pizza board member Jay Shampur and I worked on together (the fourth recipe above) as I was trying to spin it in the oven, resulting in more of an oval pizza than a round one. Otherwise, everyone else did a great job with their pizzas. It’s very cool seeing the pizza both rise and darken in the oven in the span of a mere few minutes. Next time we have to do some spatchcocked chicken, Calzones, and poached fruits for dessert.
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Last edited by Tran Bronstein on October 28th, 2019, 8:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TNs: Toronto Wood Oven Pizza Party Wines

#2 Post by Tran Bronstein » October 27th, 2019, 6:38 pm

So everyone brought a very eclectic selection of wines to go with the pizza. Let’s take a tasting of them all:

VEUVE AMBAL NV CREMANT DE BOURGOGNE -- A nice little sparkler that goes all in on the green apple and unripened pineapple flavor. Quite fruit forward and flavorful.

HUGUES GODME NV BLANC DE NOIRS CHAMPAGNE – Very crispy, yeasty, and much lighter apple fruit flavor. Quite complex, it’s really a choice between fruit-forwardness and overall complexity when comparing this Champagne vs the Cremant that preceded it.

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CHATEAU DE MONTGUERET NV CREMANT DE LOIRE – 100% Chenin Blanc based sparkler. Elegant and crisp, green apple and lemon peel flavors. A bit lighter in body than the previous sparklers.

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PLOYEZ-JACQUEMART NB EXTRA BRUT PASSION CHAMPAGNE – This sparkler was the heaviest on the yeasty biscuit flavors, dominating the green apple fruit. I felt it was a touch unbalanced in this regard. The fruit was there, it was just secondary.

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VILLA CONCHI NV CAVA – A little saline note in this sparkler to go with the biscuit and green apple flavor. Noticeably less sweet on the palate than all the other sparklers.

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DE CHANCENY NV CREMANT DE LOIRE BRUT ROSE – Very fresh cranberry and watermelon flavors highlight this refreshing sparkler.

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VIN VITA EST 2013 BAROLO – I was concerned about this relatively young Barolo being closed and tannic, but it turned out to be quite a delicate Barolo, redolent with fresh strawberry flavors, and just a little tannin on the finish.

SAN VINCENTE 2011 CHIANTI CLASSICO – Rich nose, a tannic Bordeaux like body, plum and cherry flavors.

TENUTA BUON TEMPO ALTA 2010 BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO – Smooth rich body, rich plum flavors, a touch of tobacco.

LA GERLA 2006 BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO – Fruity and tannic, very Bordeaux like in body, a little saline note.

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MODEL FARM 2010 SYRAH – Beautiful nose, smooth light body more like a cool climate Syrah, all strawberry flavor. This was just great with the pizzas.

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ROCCA DELLE MACIE 2010 ROCCATO – This fantastic red is an equal blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. Super smooth with the two grapes balancing out each other perfectly in the wine. Beautiful. I would definitely seek this out again.

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MAMETI PREVOSTINI 2011 ALBAREDA SFORZATO DI VALTELLINA -- This red is made from 100% dried Nebbiolo grapes. I.e. it’s an Amarone made with Nebbiolo. This is rich, smoky and delicious with extremely robust earth and stewed prune flavor. This was fantastic with the pizzas, but a fair warning: anyone expecting a delicate Barolo type wine is going to be in for a shock. The appasimento method of winemaking results in big bold wines and this is no exception. Great wine.

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PIEROPAN 2015 LA ROCCA SOAVE CLASSICO – 100% white Garganega from Soave, Italy. High salinity, striking dragonfruit flavor.

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DOMAINE CHANSON 2014 RESERVE DU BASTION BOURGOGNE – A rather nice 100% Pinot Noir Bourgogne that is very smooth and easy drinking with lots of strawberry flavor. Nothing complex but clean and flavorful and good match with the pizza.

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J.L. CHAVES 2009 HERMITAGE BLANC – An 85% Marsanne and 15% Roussanne white Hermitage. This generous bring is smooth and full of tropical white fruits with a touch of mint. Very nice.

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CHATEAU DES JACQUES 1997 CHAMP DE COUR MOULIN-A-VENT – Out of a magnum. This aged Beaujolais had a saline long finish and quite a bit of umami flavor. Great with the pizza. I tend to think of Gamay as a very delicate and strawberry fruity wine so I was surprised at how well it ages and how much it transforms.

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SUNNYBROOK FARMS 2012 STRAWBERRY WINE – Ahh, I love fruit wine. This one is from a local Niagara, Ontario fruit winery and has a full body that actually stained the inside of its own bottle’s necks with a lovely ruby reddish color. It’s off-dry and nowhere near as sweet as you’d might expect. Definitely tastes and smells like freshly macerated strawberries. Obviously a single note wine but a very good take on it. I don’t think many people other than me tried this which is quite a shame. At the very least, it would make a great daiquiri ingredient. I would be happy to drink it on its own.

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13th STREET 2018 VIOGNIER – Another local Niagara winery, I didn’t realize that they grew Viognier. Fresh and lively with lots of flowers, soapy lavender and sea salt. It’s no Condrieu, of course, but it was very nice for locally grown Viognier.

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BANCHETTI 2003 VIN SANTO DEL CHIANTI – I was pleasantly surprised to see somebody else had thought to bring a sweet wine and this one was very nice. Lighter bodied than you would expect, almost the body of a late harvest wine. Plenty of caramel, dried baking fruits, and walnuts for a complex taste and smooth texture. Delicious and surprisingly good with the savory pizzas.

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WIENENGER 2012 WIENER GEMISCHTER SATZ NUSSBERG ALTE REBEN – The first challenge we had with this beautiful Austrian wine was opening it as it was a Vinolok bottle and it turned out nobody knew how to actually open one other than myself, so I got to show off my one-thumbclick technique. Just place your thumb under the Vinolok’s lip and push up! I actually sent the glass stopper flying off with this move and had to catch it before I hit someone in the eye and blinded them. The second was figuring out exactly what its proper name was from reading the labels! Because when you first look at the front and back labels, it’s not exactly clear. Fortunately the Interweb told me that Wienenger 2012 Wineer Gemischter Satz Nussberg Alte Reben is indeed the full name. The wine is a combination of no less than different 9 grape varieties - Weissburgunder, Neuburger, Welschriesling, Grüner Veltliner, Sylvaner, Zierfandler, Rotgipfler, Traminer and Riesling, 75% tank fermented and aged and the rest in barrel. This was superb and easily the WWOTN. Great texture, redolent of white peaches and flowers, a touch of cream. Really similar to a nicely aged Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc. Quite well done.

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WILLM 2011 ALSACE GRAND CRU KIRCHBERG DE BARR GEWURTRAMINER – Extremely floral Gewurzz with lots of ginger spice and poached pear flavor. Definitely sweet but also very refreshing and certainly not cloying. People definitely seemed to like this one and it was great as we were heading towards the end of the very fun evening.

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BANFI FLORUS 2010 VENDEMMIA TARDIVA -- This is a highly unusual late harvest Moscato sweet wine from Italy. Of course, Italy is known for its low-alcohol sparkling sweet Moscato wine so this is an unusual find. The only other late harvest Moscato I’ve ever had has been from California’s EOS winery and their Tears of Dew. That particular wine is vinified to emphasize the freshness and lemon drop aspect of the Moscato. This wine emphasized the flowers. A lot of caramel on the forefront, some nice peach flavors, and good acidity. Maybe a touch unbalanced as the caramel is quite strong and forward on this one but nice overall.

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A special thanks to Dylan and Chelsea for hosting this fabulous event and congratulations to them both again on both of their new little babies!
Tran's the smart one!- M Grammer

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Re: TNs: Toronto Wood Oven Pizza Party Wines

#3 Post by Karl K » October 27th, 2019, 8:41 pm

Wow - well done!
K a z a k s

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Re: TNs: Toronto Wood Oven Pizza Party Wines

#4 Post by Peter Papay » October 28th, 2019, 3:34 am

Congratulation Chelsea and Dylan to your two new additions to your family.

You definitively could have used the Austrian in your group. It's spelled Wieninger and nice that it showed so well.

Great notes Tran.

Just out of curiosity. How long does it take to bring the oven to operating temperature?

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Re: TNs: Toronto Wood Oven Pizza Party Wines

#5 Post by Dylan D Provencher » October 28th, 2019, 5:19 am

That Austrian wine was just incredible. If anyone knows who brought it, please let me know.

Peter, you were missed. The oven takes about 40 minutes to get up to full heat 900+F, but that’s only with a nice variety of dry wood. I had another fire yesterday with the wood that was left in the rain all night, and it took 90 minutes.

I find that with lots of different foods, there is a certain romance to working with an natural heat source, and these ovens are a perfect example.

The one negative to these units is the very thing that makes them great; the light weight of the units. While this one weights only a couple hundred pounds, the big brick ovens weigh thousands. What this means is that the bigger ones retain heat much better, I have read articles about cooking pizza on a Friday, bread on Saturday, braising meat that night, and eggs on Sunday, all with the heat retained from the Friday fire only. This oven is not as stable temperature-wise at all, but I have a small back yard and this is what I can accommodate, (and I love it).

We will put another dinner with it on the books soon, with you and Nasrin as our star guests.

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Re: TNs: Toronto Wood Oven Pizza Party Wines

#6 Post by Mike Grammer » October 28th, 2019, 8:25 am

Thanks for starting the thread, Tran, and for your excellent pics. Only a couple of notation corrections---from my end, the 2010 Model Farm is correctly a 2016. I didn't take formal notes this time and went missing for 4 hours or so to watch 2 acts of the opera (Rusalka), but did try many of the wines Tran lists above.

Ployez-Jacquemart NV Extra Brut Passion

Bubbles are fairly active here, and it leans towards yellow fruit with a kind of cornmeal background, but doesn't really impinge on my senses. Just OK for me.

Hugues Godme Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs

Really liked this, a bring by Jay Shampur. Reminded me at once of Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle, super-clean and mineral and sweeter lemon drive, only the smallest hint of brioche. Good focus and length here, freshness is very nice.

2010 Tenuta Buon Tempo Alta Brunello

I brought this. Decanted for 3 hours and slow-oxed for another 2. Loved this to bits---aromas of cocoa, plums and cured leather give way to a velvety and deeply smooth mouthfeel with replays, some berry and tinges of meats. I only have the 1 bottle, would love to source more if I can. How I *love* 2010 Brunello! WOTD for me.

2006 La Gerla Brunello

Quite a contrast here, touches of menthol for me on the bouquet with dark berries and macerated plum. To taste, very reticent still (this was not decanted), has a lot of bones for sure, structure to last 10 years, but quite gangly and kinetic right now, hard to assess.

2016 Model Farm Syrah

Also mine, I gave this about 3 hours' slow-ox (Audouzing). Wanted to bring for the crew who hasn't tasted Sean and Joanna's project yet. Continues to slowly evolve with the bracing length and acidity that characterizes the cool-climate nature of this. I like the swatches of meats that are running through the strong berry profile. Liked by many.

1997 Chateau des Jacques Champs de Coeur Moulin-a-Vent

From mag, I always enjoy tasting these older Gamays---where it's a grape I really don't like young. This one still had plenty of bilberry and raspberry freshness about it, and some crunchiness on the palate. It's just thinking about getting into its tertiary stage. Right now, goes down very easily.

2012 Wieninger Wiener Gemischter Satz Nussberg Alte Reben

I appreciate Tran doing the legwork to find out all the grapes that go into this. It was a very interesting and unique wine, seemed almost to combine the aspects of Gruner and Chenin, if that makes any sense. Yellow and white fruit but overlaid with a light salty/cracker character. I think this was Dylan's fave of the night. I liked it plenty.

2011 Willm Kirchberg de Barr Gewurtz

Big thanks to Tran for this bring, showed delightfully. Popping florals in the nuzzie, light lychee in the back along with a tad of kiwi. To taste, it has just enough sweetness to balance its excellent length and tropical fruit base. There is still a fine level of buttressing acidity to knit it all together. I have quite liked many of the 2011s I've tried---a vintage that was difficult elsewhere in France. This was my first from this Grand Cru site.

2017 Casa Dea Melon de Bourgogne

I brought this as well. Out of all of the Norman Hardie portfolio, this was (he no longer has access to the fruit) actually the one cuvee I liked. Here, I didn't get the nervosite or crystal precision I was hoping for. Instead, it seemed a tad confused between lemony and brighter citrus or even peach notes. Live and learn, I guess, but not a re-buy for me.

2010 Banfi Florus Vendemmia Tardiva

Another from Tran's sweetie stable. I have to admit, wasn't my thing---it will be your thing if you're on the sugar hunt---it was almost like drinking cane sugar, though with plenty of thick, rich fruit as well. But I was definitely missing acidity and energy in this that I like in my sweet wines. YMMV. Certainly, glad to try my first VT from Italy.

I think I did try the Albareda---it didn't hit me as forcefully different as the other Nebbiolo Appassimento (can't bring the name or vintage to mind) that I know I've had.

Enormous thanks to Dylan and Chelsea for hosting us and doing so much of the work to make the ingredients for such a fun event. Big thanks to all participants for their generosity of wines and companionship.

Skal

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Re: TNs: Toronto Wood Oven Pizza Party Wines

#7 Post by Andrew A r n t f i e l d » October 28th, 2019, 9:00 am

Looks like it turned out to be a fine pizza oven warming party, Dylan. Sorry I missed it and that my event conflicted with yours. I saw Dianne's IG videos of the pizza oven in operation. Nice!
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Re: TNs: Toronto Wood Oven Pizza Party Wines

#8 Post by Sherri S h a p i r o » October 28th, 2019, 9:45 am

Thanks for sharing, Tran. What a fun idea for a party!

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Re: TNs: Toronto Wood Oven Pizza Party Wines

#9 Post by Mike Grammer » October 28th, 2019, 10:33 am

But he didn't taste the blue cheese or the Moroccan lamb pizzas. Fail.
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Re: TNs: Toronto Wood Oven Pizza Party Wines

#10 Post by Dylan D Provencher » October 28th, 2019, 4:47 pm

Andrew A r n t f i e l d wrote:
October 28th, 2019, 9:00 am
Looks like it turned out to be a fine pizza oven warming party, Dylan. Sorry I missed it and that my event conflicted with yours. I saw Dianne's IG videos of the pizza oven in operation. Nice!

We will get you on the next one, Andrew!

Hope you guys had an awesome night with great wine, (I’m sure you did!).

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Re: TNs: Toronto Wood Oven Pizza Party Wines

#11 Post by SheilaS » October 28th, 2019, 11:15 pm

Thanks to Mike for the introduction, and Dylan and Chelsea for hosting, I was able to participate in my first offline event. Everyone was very welcoming, and I got to try yummy pizzas (especially the Moroccan lamb and the Tex-Mex), and wines that were new to me. I suspect it will set a high bar for future events! The three wines that I really liked were Mike's two -the 2010 Tenuta Buon Tempo Alta Brunello (I've always been partial to Brunellos) and the 2016 Model Farm Petaluma Gap Syrah (I don't drink a lot of Cali wines, so it was great to try one from a small producer - only 400 cases- that I would probably not get to try any other way). For the whites I liked the 2015 Pieropan Soave. I did try the Austrian wine but it was the last one of the night, and I think I was suffering from palate fatigue by that point. I'm certainly impressed with Tran's tasting notes for all of them.
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Re: TNs: Toronto Wood Oven Pizza Party Wines

#12 Post by Tran Bronstein » October 29th, 2019, 9:37 am

Mike Grammer wrote:
October 28th, 2019, 10:33 am
But he didn't taste the blue cheese or the Moroccan lamb pizzas. Fail.
Actually Indid taste the blue.cheese pizza. It was my fave of the night.
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Re: TNs: Toronto Wood Oven Pizza Party Wines

#13 Post by Tran Bronstein » October 30th, 2019, 12:26 pm

Well, wonder of wonders! Guess what? In the November LCBO Classics catalogue that just came out, the Wieninger Nussberg Alte Reben we just had at the pizza party is coming this month! 2017 vintage.
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Re: TNs: Toronto Wood Oven Pizza Party Wines

#14 Post by Mike Grammer » October 31st, 2019, 8:12 am

I suspect Dylan will purchase the entire allocation :)
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