There are some pretty good options from which to choose in Los Angeles when I want to take my Italian-heritage wife for a birthday-month lunch. For this outing, I opted for one of our favorite spots, Il Buco on Robertson in Beverly Hills.
For one thing, they treat us like it's our birthday every time we dine there. For another, the food's great. Also, they have a pretty decent Italian wine list. Okay, that last one was on my side of the checklist. It still counts. A shrimp salad for the lady, I'll have the chopped, and a glass of Vermentino.
Sella and Mosca is a pretty big deal on the isle of Sardegna - Sardinia, if you prefer. Their property contains a 1,600-acre estate just inland about four miles. Their La Cala Vermentino is one of the prizes of the island and is exactly what I look for in this special grape.
La Cala is named for a small cove on the edge of the estate, and it's a natural to pair with seafood thanks to the slight saltiness in the wine. You can thank the Mediterranean Sea for that.
This 100% Vermentino white is a pale, greenish straw color in the glass. It delivers a soft nose of grassy salt air and lemons. There's an alcohol content of 11.5% abv, and it serves up a bracing palate of minerals and tart lemon zest with a nice acidity that lies just beneath the surface. It's a really good buy at $8 a glass.
It paired well with the shrimp, but also fit nicely with my meatless salad. It does something good with the garbanzo beans in the chop.