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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

Localish: Some Bay Area Love for Pizza from Oakland and a Wine from Livermore #WinePW #Sponsored

This month the Wine Pairing Weekend group is turning their eyes to pairings with local wines and local foods. Wine Predator...Gwendolyn Alley is hosting; you can read her invitation here. This is a sponsored post as wine samples were provided and this page may contain affiliate links. Thank you to the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association.

If you are curious about the use of 'localish' in the title, it's because I have always heard that 100 miles is good gauge of 'local.' But some grocery stores such as Whole Foods says they use state boundaries, though you can ask specifically for 'central coast of California' or 'Bay Area' foods. California is a huge state, so I tend to use the 100-mile radius as my standard. The pizza is from a pizza place in Oakland, just over 120 miles from my house; the wine is from a winery 102 miles from my house. Localish, as I said.

Here's the line-up of the other posts that will go live between Friday, April 7th and Saturday, April 8th...

A Wine from Livermore: 2019 McGrail Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

I received three bottles of wine from the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association for the upcoming May #WinePW event. But as McGrail Vineyards was just outside of the 100-mile 'local' radius, I opted to share one of the bottles for my April pairing. Bonus!

McGrail Vineyards is a family-owned winery specializing in Cabernet Sauvignon. In 1999, Jim and Ginger McGrail planted the Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard and sold all of their fruit to Steven Kent Winery. Less than half a decade later, the McGrail family - with the assistance of Rhonda Wood - made a barrel to enjoy with friends and family. In 2004 one barrel turned into five, and by 2005 the McGrail’s started production on 1,000 cases of wine. Their vineyard operations are focused on sustainability and quality.

A few years later, Jim and Ginger asked their daughter, Heather, to move back to the Bay Area to help them open the winery and tasting room. They opened their doors in April 2008 with their single wine: the 2005 McGrail Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. I poured the 2019 McGrail Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve.

The wine has been honored with Best of Class at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition for this vintage and Best of Class and the Sweepstake Red Wine Award for the 2018 vintage.

A single varietal, this is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is aged for just under three years in a blend of French, American, and Hungarian oak barrels. On the nose, I noted bright notes of red and black fruit such as cassis and blackberry with layers of licorice and redwood duff. On the nose, all of those aromas were mirrors along with rich spices and nuances of tobacco and leather. This wine was supple yet bold. It was the perfect match for a hearty pizza.

A Pizza from Oakland: Zachary's and My Version

I think you are either a thin crust pizza kinda person or a thick crust pizza kinda person; I am definitely in the former camp. Zachary's Chicago Pizza, in Oakland and Berkeley, literally stuffs each pizza with cheese and toppings, then covers it with zesty, chunky tomato and bakes it till the crust is golden brown. Zachary's is not a 'thick' crust pizza. It's basically two thin crusts with a bunch of deliciousness in between. D characterized it pretty well: It's like a lasagna but with pizza dough. And, after I learned that they sell half-baked pizzas, I have picked up, then baked at home, 120 miles later!

But I have also mastered my own version and I will share that with you today.



  • 8 fl. oz. warm water

  • 1.5 teaspoons active dry yeast

  • 2 teaspoons organic granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons salt (I used a fine ground grey salt from France)

  • 16 oz. all purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil


  • butter for greasing pan

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons corn meal

  • 8 ounces ground Italian sausage

  • 1/2 cup organic bell pepper, thinly sliced (I used a yellow one)

  • 1/2 cup white onion, thinly sliced

  • sliced pepperoni, enough to create a layer

  • sliced salami, enough to create a layer

  • fresh mozzarella, sliced, enough to create a layer

  • sliced provolone, enough for two layers

  • grated fresh parmesan, approximately 2 cups

  • one 28-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained with 2 Tablespoons liquid reserved

  • 5 to 6 organic basil leaves, thinly sliced

  • freshly ground salt

  • freshly ground pepper

  • olive oil for drizzling

  • Also needed: parchment paper, enameled cast iron pan (I used the lidded braiser from Le Creuset for this), rolling pin



Pour warm water into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar and water. Add the yeast and let it float on top. Let bloom for 10 minutes. It should be foamy. Add in the flour. Use a mixer until the dough has formed a ball around the beaters. Scrape the dough into a bowl and pour in the olive oil. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough into an oiled bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Allow dough to rise until doubled in size. This could happen in as little as 90 minutes; we left ours for about 4 hours when I first made this. But usually, 2 hours was sufficient. Once dough has risen, divide the dough into two pieces, approximately 2/3 of the dough (for the bottom crust) and 1/3 of the dough (for the top). If you aren't going to make the pizza immediately, place dough balls into lidded containers and refrigerate. Let the dough warm for about an hour or so before proceeding.

Spread the ground Italian sausage in a thin layer on top of the pizza crust in the pan. Cover the sausage with one layer of sliced provolone. Add in the sliced bell peppers and onions. Arrange the pepperoni, salami, and fresh mozzarella into layers. Sprinkle 3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese over the pie. The pan should be about halfway full at this point. Roll the second dough ball as thin as you can get it and transfer that on top of the parmesan layer. Stretch the dough the the edge of the pan, then slice several vents into the dough. Sprinkle 3/4 cup parmesan over the dough. And lay the final slices of provolone over the parmesan.

Pour the drained diced tomatoes over the second crust. Add the basil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil. Drizzle with 2 Tablespoons of the liquid from the canned tomatoes. Finish with the last remaining 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 38 to 40 minutes. The crust should be firm, nicely browned, and lift out of the pan easily. You may need to return it to the oven if the crust doesn't hold.

Carefully remove pizza from pan and lift out onto a cutting board. Slice the pizza using a large knife. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Well, that's a wrap on my April #WinePW pairing. We'll be back next month with a focus on Livermore wines with David of Cooking Chat hosting. The event is sponsored and I am looking forward to sharing more wines from the area. Stay tuned!

Once again, I am grateful to the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association for their generosity. You may find McGrail Vineyards on the web, on Instagram, and on Facebook.

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Wendy Klik
Wendy Klik
Apr 07, 2023

Pizza and is good. Happy Easter Cam....glad you get to see your guys!!!

Camilla M. Mann
Camilla M. Mann
Apr 07, 2023
Replying to

Happy Easter to you and yours! Yes, we are excited to be meeting up with our guys tomorrow.

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