Pairing with Pizza
As a wine 'extreme novice'; yet an experienced connoisseur of pizza, it has been suggested to me to try a Italian Barbera. Lacking knowledge; and not being afraid to ask- is this a brand / region / varietal?
Any suggestions with pizza; both Margherita-style & meats
Barbera is the name of the grape. It is a grape widely grown throughout Italy, and may (or may not) appear on the label itself. It *will* on wines like (for example) Barbera d'Alba or Barbera d'Asti; it will not on wines like (for example) Oltrepo Pavese. It's also produced in California, where it will appear on the label.
Since you live on the eastern end of US 50, rather than on the western end, it's hard for me to know what's available to you. So, first step, visit your local retailer and ask him/her for Barbera recommendations. Failing that, if you can find the following Italian producers in your area, they're generally VERY reliable in terms of quality: Vietti, Sandrone, Giacomo Conterno, La Spinetta, Pio Cesare, among others.
I rather like drinking zin with any food that has a tomato based sauce. Some friends and I sort of stumbled onto that pairing combination one night with an abnormally hot (high alcohol) zin. It was not good at all on its own, but with some fresh tomato slices, it was fantastic.
Italian Barbara is really good with the wood fire pizza I eat. Generally, I am not a fan of big, fruity, young CA Cabernet Sauvignon, but we tried it with some pies from our backyard, wood-fired pizza oven and it was a great match.
When I go to my favorite pizzeria in town, Bruno Napoletano, I get a bottle of Gragnano, works like a charm.