Three visiting Italian winemakers provided the wines, and Mozza produced the pizzas along with appetizers, a salad and an outrageously rich dessert.
First to be poured were two white wines from Pieropan in Soave, the 2015 Soave Classico and the 2014 La Rocca, made from the grapes Garganera and Trebbiano di Soave.
Pieropan was the first vineyard in Soave to release a single-vineyard Soave classico. That was in 1971. The winemaker now is Dario Pieropan (above), who said, "Soave is coming back for the new generation. People are falling in love with it."
And what's not to love about the dry, elegant 2015 Classico? Steely and crisp, it paired well with the fried potatoes, while creamier La Rocca balanced the acidity in the sprouts.
Although highly acidic, this salad of arugula, mushrooms and Piave cheese couldn't squelch the Classico. And the wine might also go well with Indian food, said Nencini, in response to a guest's question.
The first two reds were the Renato Ratti 2014 Langhe Nebbiolo Ochetti and the Renato Ratti 2012 Marcenasco Barolo from Piedmont. They're in front in the photo above. Both were made from the Nebbiolo grape, which, said Pietro Ratti, is "the best grape we have in the world."
Ratti is the son of the late Renato Ratti, the winery founder. The Langhe Nebbiolo came from vines that grow in sandy soil, the Barolo, clay soil. Fruity and easy, the Langhe Nebbiolo could age at most five years, he said, but the beautiful big Barolo would last much longer.
In the photo at the top is a pizza with squash blossoms, tomato and burrata, and another with prosciutto, arugula, tomato and mozzarella.
The pizzas were also perfect foils for two super Tuscans from the winery Brancaia (at the back in the photo of the four red wines). They were the 2010 Il Blu and the 2012 Ilatraia, which were the priciest wines of the tasting--Il Blu at $85 and Ilatraia at $70.
Each was blended differently, Il Blu from Sangiovese and Merlot with 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and Ilatraia from equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot and 20% Cabernet Franc.
Brancaia's winemaker is Barbara Widmer (pouring wine, above), whose parents, Brigitte and Bruno Widmer, bought the estate and vineyards after they fell in love with Tuscany and moved there from Switzerland.
Lunch took place in the dark, cave-like wine room at Pizzeria Mozza. By the end, dessert was hardly necessary, but out came plates of super rich bittersweet chocolate cake with Perugian chocolates, including chocolate-coated honeycomb (above).
This was an opportunity to test red wines with chocolate, which some say can be a great combination. However, Nencini disagreed. Chocolate's acidity kills wines, he said. The only possible pairing he could see would be with a sweet wine such as Port, or even with rum. Better than both was the last drink of the lunch--coffee.