Monday, November 22, 2010

TWO ITALIAN WINES AT TERRONI LOS ANGELES


Bianco y rosso at Terroni

After a busy Sunday of running all over the rather unfamiliar terrain of downtown Los Angeles, Denise and I decided to stop at Terroni on Beverly Boulevard.  Truth be told, it’s a place where we often would like to stop and dine, but it always seems so crowded and there are never any parking spaces available on that rather restaurant-y stretch of Beverly.

This time, as we passed by: No crowd!  Parking spaces!  Let’s eat!

Terroni started in Toronto - there are still three locations there - and spread to Los Angeles a few years ago.  We love the southern Italian cooking there, and the Italo-centric wine list that pairs so well with it.

Terroni’s space is big and informal with a mix of high bar tables, big wooden tables and small round kitchenette-style tables with plastic Eames chairs.  It’s a family place, and when we walked in on a cloudy-dark Sunday afternoon, there were several families with little ones at the table having a Sunday supper while keeping one eye out the window awaiting the apparently imminent cloudburst.

We all enjoyed our meals and made it home before the rains came.  Denise and I enjoyed a pair of wines which paired quite well with the food, while tasting great on their own, too.

I had the wine on the left,  the ‘09 Erste & Neue Pinot Bianco Weissburgunder, Prunar, S├╝dtirol Alto Adige d.o.c.  In addition to being a mouthful, that's a $12 entry on Terroni’s wonderful list of biancos and rossos.  This grape seems to go by its Italian name as well as its Austrian one, Weissburgunder.  It’s from the Alpine region of Alto Adige.

Light green-tinted straw in color, the nose features minerals, lots of ‘em.  The smell of wet rocks near a stream is what I call it.  Pineapple aromas make an appearance, but they have to fight their way out from under those huge, wet rocks.  Pineapple and minerals dominate the palate similarly, with an almost-bracing acidity and a fruity finish.

The mineral-laden white wine paired perfectly with my spaghetti ca’ muddica, with anchovies, black olives, cherry tomatoes and breadcrumbs.

Denise had the wine on the right, the ‘06 Zerbina Torre di Ceparano, Sangiovese di Romagna Superiore, Emilia-Romagna d.o.c. at $14 by the glass.  Emilia-Romagna lies right across a mountain range from Tuscany.  The region is known for its dry Lambrusco - nothing like the sweet type Riunite made famous - and its own clone of the Tuscan Sangiovese grape which has a tendancy to take on much darker characteristics than those of its Tuscan cousin.

The wine, sure enough, is quite dark, and the nose shows black cherry, blackberry and anise.  On the palate, raspberry and black cherry join hands for a velvety smooth walk.  The smooth texture and full mouthfeel somewhat disguise the great acidity this wine shows.  It produces a slight mouth-puckering effect without the tannic edge.

It was delicious, and great as a match with her agnolotti filled with braised beef in a butter, Parmesan and sage sauce.