A high point of a doctor's visit in Beverly Hills - and they are few in number - is a lunch visit to Da Pasquale Trattoria. The family-run restaurant on Little Santa Monica Boulevard features Southern Italian cuisine in a cozy setting with some very nice wines on the list.
The tuna salad sports big chunks of the fish with cucumbers and black olives. Taking a cue from the spring-like Southern California weather in January, I went directly to the rosé on the menu. It turned out to be not a rosé, but a lightly-hued red wine made from the Rossese di Albenga grape grown in Liguria.
The wine is made by a producer called Bio Vio in Italy's Liguria region. They farm organically, they say, not because of an economic or technical issue, but because that's the cultural attitude in that region. In addition to grapes, Bio Vio also grows olives and herbs for export.
The Rossese Di Albenga grape is thought to have originated in France, and is a fairly obscure variety today, even in Liguria.
The U Bastio cost $9 by the glass, and appears cherry red in the glass, somewhat like a rosado. The nose shows off some brilliant strawberry aromas with raspberry and an herbal note, with some earthy qualities as well. The taste is earthy, too, with flavors of cherry and black cherry dominating. The tannins are almost nonexistant, so it drinks quite smoothly.