Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Messmer Spätburgunder 2008

The desire for a late night stop after a movie hit us on the way home.  For Denise and me that's something which used to be reserved for vacation time. Since I'm on "involuntary extended vacation" now, we thought we'd take advantage of the fact that - for the moment, anyway - there's no such thing as a school night.

Vintage Enoteca is a small, dark "New York style" wine bar on Sunset Boulevard with a half dozen high tables inside.  The decor is spare and modern-looking.  The clientele appeared to be in coffeehouse mode - some chatty, with one woman even sitting alone working on her iPad while sipping a vino.  The service was quick to recognize that we were there, but problems ensued.

When we asked about the cheese plates, we were told they had over 50 cheeses available.  "Great," we said, because we like a good cheese selection.  "Can we see the cheese menu?"  "Uhmm," she purred, "There isn't a cheese menu per se but I can send her out to tell you about them.  "All 50 of them?"  "If you like."  To save everybody a big headache, we simply asked for "her" to surprise us.  We ordered the cheese and meat sampler - three cheeses and two meats for $15.

The three cheese selections we received were briefly stammered and the two meats were pointed at as well, but forget about digging any deeper.  Compared to the sort of attention  places like Cube and Artisan Cheese Gallery give to making sure the diner is aware of what's on the plate, this sort of approach was decidedly inferior.

The wine list looks decent - what I could see of it in the dark - and when my eyes were able to make out the word "Spätburgunder" I ordered.

Spätburgunder is German for Pinot Noir.  It's not something you see very often on restaurant wine lists in Los Angeles, so Vintage Enoteca get points for encouraging their patrons to explore off the beaten path.

The German Pinot I ordered is from Pfalz, the second-largest of Germany's 13 wine regions (Rheinhessen is the largest.)  Pfalz is said to be the sunniest and warmest of the German regions, with a climate that would put one in mind of Alsace.

The Messmer Spatburgunder appeals to me quite a bit. The smoky raspberry and black cherry nose is tempting and the palate offers a tart spread of cherry and raspberry.  The acidity is nice, and it went well with the cheeses and meats, whatever they were.

Denise ordered an Icelandic Ale.  It was an uncharacteristic order for Mrs. Now And Zin, but she's known for those.  She liked it, but the ale was so floral in aroma and flavor that it was a bit off-putting for me.  I'll stick with the Spätburgunder.