Yes, that’s tooting the old horn in a personal sense, pizza-wise, and you would think that having been making pizza about 40 times a year for the past 15 or so years superlative highs simply wouldn’t be noticed. Not so! pizza1.jpg

After taking a few bites of Saturday night’s pizza, LL said, “This pizza is close to perfect.”

What makes a pizza perfect is the crust, and this one delivered just the right balance between lightness and chewiness, and during cooking, several pockets had risen around the outer edge, providing those delightful little crunchy moments. The crust was thin, but not cracker-thin.

On top, thin slices of bell pepper, thin slices of shiitake mushrooms, oil-cured olives, chopped radicchio, a few quartered cherry tomatoes, a bit of red onion and some prosciutto. Some dots of mozzarella. No, this was not a minimalist job.

For the wine, I reached into the rack and plucked forth a bottle of the Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz 2007, from Australia’s 93239d.jpgBarossa Valley.

This is a shiraz — as the Australians and now lots of other people call the syrah grape — of piercing purity and intensity and profound detail and definition, like the exercise-hounds you envy at the gym, and, in fact, there is a muscular litheness and sleekness about this wine. Blackberry, blueberry and black currant flavors are deep and rich without being jammy and are permeated by typical notes of leather, earth and minerals. The mineral aspect becomes more prominent as the minutes pass, feeling like an amalgam of crushed coal, lavender and exotic spices, even as the fruit takes on a slightly macerated and stewed aspect. Tannins are polished and smooth; there’s no austerity in this Australian. Here’s a shiraz that seems born of its place — the syrah-rich Barossa Valley, north of Adelaide — and true to its grape; it’s bold but not overstated, full, dynamic and complete. Drink now through 2013 to ’15. Excellent. About $34.