Saturday, August 21, 2010


Bodegas AtalayaGreenblatt's Deli is an institution on Sunset Boulevard.  They've been there since Sunset was “a dirt road west of Doheny,” according to their website.  Nowadays they are right next to the Laugh Factory, but I don't think there were any comedy clubs anywhere on Sunset in 1926.  There were no parking valets either.  Sometimes progress is a good thing, sometimes not.

In addition to having some truly great corned beef and pastrami sandwiches, and a killer grilled cheese with a tomato slice on it – the healthy grilled cheese – Greenblatt's is also a wine shop.  That is reflected in their wine list, which beats all other deli's in Los Angeles hands down.

I tried a Spanish wine in a recent visit to Greenblatt’s, Bodegas Atalaya, from Almansa in the Castilla-La Mancha region.  It’s a dry and arid region with hot temperatures.  This wine is made from Monastrell - known elsewhere as Mourvedre - Garnacha Tintoreara - also called Alicante Bouschet - and other red grapes.  It was $9 by the glass.

Owing somewhat to the fact that Garnacha Tintorera is one of the few grapes with red fruit inside, the wine’s purple color is inky, with no light able to get through.  On the nose are plums and road tar, with the taste dark and smooth.  I’m reminded of blackberries and even blueberries, but without the sweetness of the fruit, just the darkness of it.  It is a rather dry red, with some mouth-puckering tendancies, but overall this wine is exceedingly well made.  It’s loaded with character and smooth as silk.

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