by Jeff Hoyt
Italian cuisine restaurants have been popular in the U.S. for decades. And what better way to enjoy Italian food than accompanied by fine Italian vino? We recently enjoyed an evening of Italian wines at Valentino, Piero Selvaggio‘s Santa Monica restaurant that celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, as part of the Vino California celebration. Other events around town included dinners at Aventine Hollywood, Enoteca Drago and a Grand Tasting.
“In only its third year, Vino California has quickly become an iconic fixture on the national wine landscape,” said Letizia Miccoli, Executive Director of the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce West. “We are thrilled to bring such an extensive taste of Italy to Los Angeles which is filled with experienced wine consumers and professionals that are eager to learn more about old world wines.”
I was lucky enough to sit next to Letizia at the Valentino regional wine pairing dinner which focused on Central Italian wines and enjoyed her company and her commentary along with chef Nico Chessa‘s duck crespella, seafood risotto and beef grenadins. The white wines included Pileum “Valle Bianca” Passerina del Frusinate IGT 2011 and a crisp Le Corti dei Farfensi “Curtes” Falerio Pecorino DOP 2011; the reds were Pileum “Massitium” 2009 and Le Corti dei Farfensi “S. Joseph” Rosso Piceno Superiore DOC 2009, which was half Sangiovese and half Montepulciano. The dessert wine was a satisfying Pileum “Il Passito” IGT 2009 that worked well with a medley of sweets.
Even though the event is over until next year, you can still enjoy the same menu that we had. We savored courses that were part of the Valentino’s V Bar prix-fixe menu. This simple but satisfying four-course, menu is offered Tuesday through Saturday night in part of the restaurant, and offers choices for three of the courses. It’s an inexpensive way to enjoy this iconic Italian restaurant, along with a glass or two — Italian or otherwise — from its legendary wine cellar.
You can click on each photo to enlarge. All photos by Gianfilippo De Rossi.