Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Semler Cabernet Sauvignon at Firenze Osteria

A visit to Firenze Osteria - Fabio Viviani's place on Lankershim Boulevard in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley - was a special night out.  Denise was looking forward to it more than I was, as she gets into the Top Chef thing more than I do.  It's a nice dining spot on a street that could use a few more nice spots.

Judging by what I've seen on the television competition, service seems to be one of Fabio's specialties, and he has trained his staff well at Firenze.  Very personable attention was given to our table throughout the meal.

The lobster bisque won out over the waiter's offer of garlic bisque, one of the specials mentioned.  As good as it was, I may have to return and try the garlic.  Penne Amatriciana featured spicy pork belly and onions, while two great raviolis came to our table, one of butternut squash with a brown butter sage cream sauce and another of braised short ribs.  Delicious on all counts.

The wine I had was from Malibu Family Wines, the '05 Semler Cabernet Sauvignon. The room is rather dark, and it may have added to the darkness of the wine - I couldn't see through it.

The nose shows cassis, blueberry, blackberry and violets - plus a bit of heat.  The alcohol also shows up on the palate, but decreases after some time for the wine to sit in the glass.  There's a big, rich mouthfeel with the Semler, displaying dark fruit and a very dry sensation.  The wine has nice acidity and strong tannins.  It's not the right choice for the spicy pork, but it paired excellently with the short rib ravioli.

The Semler Cab retails for $27, sells for around $20 a bottle on some internet sites and is $12 by the glass at Firenze.

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