It seems a shame sometimes to just write about wine, when the food so often steals the show. That was the case at the great Los Angeles Italian restaurant, Locanda Veneta. My wife will tell you that I wear out the phrase "this may be the best ever," but it was impossible to stifle it at this lunch.
I opened with grilled calamari, spicy enough for me to wave off the offer of fresh ground pepper. The grill flavor permeated the squid and the portion would have been sufficient for lunch, had I not also ordered the porchetta - stuffed with fennel sausage and served in a confit of onion. Was it the best ever? I'm saying "yes."
The wine was great, too. It may not be a list-topper, but it's right up my alley. The Gavi region in located within Piemonte, and wine production there dates back a millennium. The white grape Cortese - the grape from which this wine is made - has no recorded history there until the mid-1600s. It is usually fermented in steel and consumed quite young, but this one - four years old - showed some fairly complex aromas and flavors. those who know Gavi better than I do say you should cellar it for a while before enjoying it.
Produced by Castellari Bergaglio, the Fornaci Gavi shows no trace of oak, in fact it's as steely as a white can get. The golden hue belies the mineral-driven nose, although after a bit of warming, herbal notes start to appear that we're not apparent upon pouring.
On the palate is a savory note coming through the curtain of minerality. Notes of tart apples and a hint of pineapple also find their way to my taste buds, but the minerals define this wine.
Was it the best ever? Maybe not. But like a good Italian wine should, it served as the perfect complement for this meal.
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