Italian wine and pizza party @ Conrad’s!

jims cellars italian wine and pizza party for the wine wankers wine blog

As mentioned in a recent blog post we were sent some wines from Jim’s Cellars and decided to have a few people over to help us enjoy them with some antipasto and a few slices of pizza.  We purposely chose these Italian wines because our readership stretches way beyond our local shores so most of you will be able to source at least a couple of these, and they are available through Jim’s Cellars of course.

The weather was perfect on Sunday as we sat out on the deck sipping some enjoyable little Italians catching up on the latest.

wine wankers wine blogs divi prosecco is a tasty fun daytime sparkling winewine wankers wine blogs bellussi prosecco is an enjoyable sparkling wine

First up was the Divici Prosecco, a sparkling labelled clearly and correctly as “extra dry”.  This retails for about $15 and is quite light at 11% alcohol.  Comments made about this one included…

  • lots and lots of bubbles
  • salmon to golden in colour with hints of apples reminiscing apple cider
  • an unusual and interesting bottle that added to the experience and discussion
  • a really enjoyable daytime fizz, give me a whole bottle!
  • dry but with a residual background sweetness and some fruit but not packing a lot of flavour and not lasting a long time in the mouth
  • went well with the salty green olives stuffed with anchovies
  • perfect for “ladies who lunch” (lol, did I really just hear that?)

People did think it was a little more expensive than it actually was so it is quite decent value and totally suits the outdoors on a nice sunny day.

Next up was the Bellussi Prosecco Di Valdobbiadene, another lower alcohol Italian sparkling that comes in an attractive and distinctive bottle retailing for about $20.  Comments made about this one included…

  • golden in colour with an even array of bubbles but not as bubbly as Divici
  • very dry with a slight but not offensive bitterness reminiscing beer
  • less residual sweetness than the Divici and not as much fruit flavour

Both these bottles of Prosecco were spot-on for the sunny outdoor lunch matched with antipasto or light and salty pizza.  Yum!  If I were to rate one above the other I’d go with the Divici for the value factor but both were enjoyable fizz and worth trying.

wine wankers wine blog the best italian white wine italo cescon pinot grigio friuliWe’d had enough of bubbles and had already started on our first pizza so we popped open the 2012 Italo Cescon Friuli Grave Pinot Grigio, a dry white wine from the Doc Piave Area, around Treviso, Venice and Udine, and retailing for about $24.  Comments made about this one included…

  • an intense and quite enjoyable fruit-driven aroma with a bit of spice
  • a taste that was very similar and included a some citrus zest, although a bit light
  • a creamy smooth finish in the mouth but it wasn’t overly long lasting
  • light, dry and refreshing and it suited sitting outdoors on a sunny day
  • an interesting label and an enjoyable wine
  • someone threw the “ladies who lunch” comment in again… lol

This wine went well with both the honey soy prawn and chicken and camembert pizzas.  The most interesting thing about drinking this wine was the funny and somewhat heated discussion Neal and his wife Melissa were having over whether or not they’d had this wine before.  Memories…

wine wankers wine blog artigiano primitivo vendemmia 2011 is a brilliant italian red wine yumNow onto the red wines.  First up, the 2011 Artigiano Primitivo from Salento/Puglia which is right on the heel of the boot of Italy, a southern Italian wine retailing for about $18.  It was discovered in the 90s that Californian Zinfandel is actually Primitivo.  Comments made about this one included…

  • a light and quite enjoyable red reminiscing merlot.  A smooth operator!
  • very dry, soft and not overly fruity or sweet at all
  • hints of wood and tobacco but still some enjoyable fruit flavours including plum and blackberry backed up by a light dusting of pepper and spice
  • a wine that would impress and goes well with savoury pizza but not BBQ sauce
  • a couple of people’s favourite, but that was controversial and stuff was thrown!

This was a thoroughly enjoyable wine that went very well with the BBQ duck and bacon pizza.  Neal ended up buying half a dozen himself from Jim’s Cellars (anonymously) and was stoked to discover that delivery was only $5 and it was shipped quickly.  Good value all around in this one!

Next was the 2009 Primitivo di Manduria Sessantanni from Puglia and retailing for about $50.  To cut a long story short, I actually like this one and could smell sweet fruit and then discovered tastes of plums and coffee with a decently long aftertaste but there was a level of sugary sweetness that hit me straight away and which put most of the rest of the table slightly off it.  If you want a red with a bit of sweetness then you’d like this.

wine wankers wine blog primitivo di manduria is a nice wine with some sweetnesswine wankers wine blogs calappiano chianti a great pizza wine enjoyable red

Then out came the 20012 Villa Calappiano Chianti from Tuscany retailing at about $13.  By this stage I could tell that people were more interested in laughing at each other than for taking notes but I did get these…

  • quite light and mellow for a Chianti with a bit of cherry-like fruit with some length
  • not much complexity and almost watery but smooth and very easy to drink
  • it’s just… yes
  • something someone new to red wine might enjoy as it wasn’t overly challenging
  • a good light pasta wine

jims cellars Azienda Agricola Cos italian wine and pizza party for the wine wankersI then pulled out one of my own wines as I had wanted Neal to try it for some time, the 2009 Azienda Agricola COS Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico.  I won’t go into this wine too much in this post as you can read about it here.  Everyone really liked this one including my wife who was unsure about it the first time.  Looking at the photo, I am wondering what Neal is sizing up… hmmmmm.

jims cellars white wine for pretty ladies at the wine wankers italian wine and pizza partyWith these types of events you always end up with your “hangers-on” that stick around longer than everyone else.  In this case these ones were good company so we opened the bottle of 2012 Artigiano Pinot Grigio from Puglia to say farewell.  I’d actually given up on wine by then and had cracked a beer and was having “man-talk” leaving the girls to this one.  They were no longer concentrating on the job but I still asked how it was and the answer was “Enjoyable”.  Hmmmm, that’s good enough for me.  😉

Over 7 hours of fun… It was the perfect lazy Sunday arvo indeed!



  1. Looks like a wonderful way to spend a lazy Sunday…nice bunch of wine, too. I finally tracked down that sparkling shiraz at a wine bar in Port Angeles (of all places) Really liked it!


    • I can’t complain, but in all seriousness, you gotta remember that this is just a small snippet of life. Our blog probably makes it seem like we drink wine and party ALL the time when the truth is we probably have more alcohol-free days than not. But it’s still all good fun when we do get into it! 🙂


  2. It is because of the non-alcohol days that make us appreciate the grapes even more, especially when mixed with good friends. A nice collection of wines you tried with pizza. Enjoy more days like this.


  3. A note of regard – To Mister Wanker, I enjoy the topic of your blog, the insight provided and very much like the humor in your writing/blog persona. I regret not to be a party of such gatherings and would very much like to have a glass ( or a shot) with my fellow drinkin-writer.
    Respectful cheers , 🙂


  4. When I drink alcohol, which is not all that often really, I usually drink wine…I am learning so much about it here. I had never thought of pairing it with pizza. I think I’ll give it a try this weekend.


  5. Man I dig this blog! In my travels as a truck driver I see many wineries and vineyards all over the U.S. Ever since finding your blog and reading the awesome posts on a fave subject of mine I stop at some Chateaus or outlets and browse or ocassionlly taste, although I am by no means a qualified critic. But, I think wine making is an art form and shows love and dedication for perfection. I learn a lot from your blog, and I may one day actually know what I’m talking about. I’m looking forward to the day I can say “Hmmmm, I taste orange peel and oak” and others nod and agree. Thx for the info!


  6. I wish I could come to one of your parties my good man…REALLY!!!

    Anyway…While I am here.

    Please accept these THREE AWARDS!!!
    One is “Blog of the year” One star award. If you need more starts, go to the link under the award.
    The Sunshine Award
    The Lighthouse Award
    This is an easy Award to give out.
    I hope you can acccept.
    Thank you…



  7. My wife used to enjoy wine and had it from Pieroths.Offhand I can’t remember her favorite red but I see they do a 2012 Kangaroo Point, Cabernet Merlot from Australia.which I’m sure she’d have loved. For whites I have one bottle left of Pieroths Blue 2009 Burg Layer Schlosskapelle, Kabinet Nahe which was the only white to tempt her.As a boring teetotaler I wouldn’t know one from another but I recall them saying something about removing the skin meant no hangovers?


  8. I will be sharing your blog with my wife, who really enjoys a good glass of wine. I am a social wine drinker drinking only the stuff I like. At a pizza party I am more likely to have a good italian beer. But my real reason for commenting is to thank you for visiting my blog and liking one of my current posts. I hope you find other reasons to visit in the future. Thank you Bill


  9. I enjoy the food and beverages you feature. I especially like shiraz and some of the sweeter wines, I am also a fan of Sangria and Lambrusco. I try to get the Spanish or Mexican kind. I had a nice Chilean cab recently! Cheers and happy wishes for your holidays and New Year, too! Robin


  10. Nice! I am suddenly in the mood for Prosecco:) I have enjoyed some wonderful Savignon Blancs over the Thanksgiving holiday with turkey and potatoes etc. I don’t normally go for Sav Blancs, but it was recommended by my neighborhood wine store guy and was a great idea! Cheers!


  11. sounds like a great day. I love pizza but I’m very picky about wine. It’s nice to read your descriptions. I can read up before I go buy another bottle I really can’t stand the taste of. Nice to get something I really enjoy for a change. 😉


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