Gussied-up TJ's French Pizza with 2011 Arianna Occhipinti TAMí Frappato

Gussied-up TJ's French Pizza with 2011 Arianna Occhipinti TAMí Frappato

Quickie. Take your frozen Trader Joe's products and gussy them up. Match it with a wine that avoids any sort of pairing faux-pas and boom! Good lunch!

Food: Trader Joe’s (Maitre Pierre) Tarte D’Alsace and TJ's herb salad

These pizzas have a place. These pizzas have a HUGE place when you throw some walnuts, idiazabal cheese and parsley on top. Basque sheep's milk cheese brings that distinct Spanish, sheepy loveliness that is idiazabal. Favorite cheese on this here Earth? I think probably so. Finely chopped walnuts. Moderate amount (for us) dumped on top. Salty herb salad blend to finish. Sort of a last-second decision that turned into a lunch that was more than just fine.

Key here was keeping the tannins from the walnut skins from playing poorly with the wine. And we very accidentally got it right. Not planned.

Wine: 2011 Arianaa Occhipinti TAMÍ Frappato Sicilia Rosso ($16 - Binny's)

Go here to read about her. Go here to see the last word of the five words that describes her philosophy. Verticality. That's what this wine is about. We went with a slight chill (60-ish degrees) to see how that was. Nice, with its complexity intact. Tossed it in an ice bag to see what a further chill would do. Terrible. No interest or third act in the least. At 60 degrees, a great, gaseous, iron and earthy mulled berry quality. More chill just turned it into alcoholic grape juice. I love this wine. It's what makes me want to go to Sicily, sit on a patio for eight hours and just drink and eat (and then take a nap). All that crap. Last tasting here with fava bean & ricotta salata strozzapreti. God, we loved that.

Pairing: Good enough, just fine, happy stuff

With only a slight chill, this had that 12.5% alcohol "I'm going to guzzle you now" thing. Great earth, playing with the idiazabal and walnuts in moderately fancy ways, taking the lunch from "fine, let's just eat this," to something better. More chill? Nope.

Lesson. Fancify stuff. Drink something good. This was an under $30 lunch that Sat-Is-Fied.

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