Corks+Forks: The Station Pizzeria’s Albatross and Cantine Lonardo Aglianico

Go to naples via 520 with the station pizzeria and campania’s house wine of aglianico.

Naples hasn’t always had the cleanest reputation. The Italian port city garnered a messy rap with its overflowing landfills last year, the consistently looming mob crime scene, its historically corrupt local government and its overpopulation (nearly one million inhabitants within city limits). However, Naples is home to many vital cultural icons, like Sophia Loren, three different popes, World Cup fútbol defender Fabio Cannavaro and, of course, pizza.

The pride and joy of the Campania region in southern Italy (think top ankle of the boot), pizza is Naple’s claim to good fame. Traditionally thin crust flat bread, Neapolitan pizzas focus on the tomato sauce and mozzarella. According to the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana, the dough is to be wheat flour based, kneaded and formed by hand, less than 0.12 inches thick and baked in a wood fire stone oven. The result should be crispy crust, tender cheese, molten sauce and a whole lot of aromatic business happening.

By definition, an establishment that makes pizzas takes the title of “pizzeria” and the locally owned Station Pizzeria in Woodinville is no different. Much like the city of Naples, the Station rebuilt out of the rubble of a Chevron gas station in the Hollywood tourist district of the booming wine tasting region of Woodinville, just 30 minutes east of the city.

Photo courtesy of Caylee Betts.

The kid sister restaurant to the town’s northern Italian “wine country cuisine,” Italianissimo, the Betts family opened the doors to their pizzeria in the beginning of July but are now hosting their grand opening on Thursday, via a loud and effective Neapolitan tribute. The eatery pulls away from the fine-dining, white table cloth atmosphere of Italianissimo and focuses on their flat breads with local ingredients and racy, innovative appeal.

The opening celebration, which will include a ribbon cutting ceremony by the mayor, will feature free samples of the eats and glasses of bubbles, for-purchase cask beers from Woodinville’s Black Raven and Seattle’s Naked City breweries, as well as a full dinner menu and live music from local artists.

Swinging a menu full of Italian swagger, from house-made burrata cheese on fresh focaccia, deep-fried mozzarella “tots” and couple handcrafted salads and entrees, the list gets its real fervor from the wood-fire pizzas – “not built for the faint of heart.”

Aglianico grapes.

The Dish: Albatross ($17) — Promising large flavors of spice and salt, this signature house pie is built from the crust up with a tomato-based sauce, spicy serrano pepper, grana padano cheese, house-smoked pork belly (bacon!) and topped with a sunnyside-up egg to crack and spread the yolk love as a sauce.

The Variety: Aglianico — The house variety of Naple’s mother region, Campania, Aglianico is earthy, full of rustic spice, ripe and bracing laser acidity. Although it is originally thought to be Greek, this grape variety is the pride and joy of Campania’s wine industry. In its fullest and most matured form, Aglianico is the grape behind Taurasi, southern Italy’s answer to the prestigious Piedmont Barolo wine.

Why It Works: Other than the obvious Naples connection, the acid is bright, the fruit is complementary to the dark, richness of the pork belly, the smoke of the meat bounces off the earth flavors of the wine and everybody wins.

The Recommended Match: Cantine Lonardo 2009 Aglianico Irpinia DOC ($20) — From the Taurasi subregion of Campania, Cantine Lonardo is one of the most respected houses in town. The five-hectare family-owned farm sits on volcanic soil, giving the wines a mineral quality unique to its area. The wine itself is robust in black cherry and plum stone fruit yet elegant with its dry spices and black pepper. The palate is refined with easing tannins, ripe fruit and acid – ideal for tomato-based pizzas with cured meats and rich cheese.

Salute a Napoli!

The Station Pizzeria | 14505 148th Ave NE, Woodinville | (425) 408-0711