Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year!

We want to wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year! We graduated our fifth year at Rosso Wine Shop this past September and we are excited for the future. It is, and looks to be, a great time in the world of wine. Plenty of fantastic choices. And no shortage of good deals. If you look. And we do.

Here are some of our favorite non vintage Champagne picks (all from the Terry Thiese portfolio):

NV Chartogne-Taillet Brut Cuvée Ste. Anne $48.99
(90 Points: Wine Advocate) The NV Brut Cuvee St. Anne bristles with considerable energy for the year. It shows lovely balance in a fairly approachable style best suited to near-term drinking. The St. Anne is 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir, based on the 2007 vintage with 20% reserve wines from 2006 and 2005. In 2007 Chartogne was not happy with his Meunier, so it was left out of the blend. Dosage is 4.5 grams per liter. Disgorged June 2011. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2015.

NV L Aubry et Fils Brut $46.99
(90 Points: Wine Advocate) The NV Brut is a pretty, graceful wine layered with expressive red fruit, dried roses and sweet herbs. It shows plenty of the house’s understated finesse and personality. The finish is round, caressing and totally inviting. The NV Brut makes a great introduction to the wines of Aubry, one of Champagne’s most fascinating growers. The NV Brut is 25% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir, 45% Meunier and 5% other grapes. This version is 45% 2008 juice and 55% a solera reserve spanning vintages 1999-2007. Disgorged July 2011. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2015.

NV Pierre Peters Brut Cuvée Réserve Grand Cru $59.99
(92 Points: Wine Advocate) The NV Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Cuvee de Reserve is a gorgeous wine that captures the essence of Chardonnay in the Cote des Blancs. Pure, wiry and wonderfully expressive, the Cuvee de Reserve flows gracefully with layers of varietal fruit from start to finish. This shows superb clarity, depth and polish, particularly at the NV level. The current release is 65% 2007 and 35% reserve wines from a solera cuvee that contains 15 vintages. Roughly 2/3rds of the fruit comes from Mesnil, while the rest is from Cramant, Avize, Oger and Chouilly. This is Lot CBSAAI, disgorged: May, 2010 and bottled with 7 grams of dosage. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2016.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Favorite Restaurants of the Year

Here is a short list of some of our favorite restaurants this year. Most are relatively casual but deliver in the quality department and, if you can, they are well worth the visit.

435 N. Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036

3459 N Verdugo Rd
Glendale, CA 91208

235 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

3219 Glendale Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039

Lazy Ox
241 S San Pedro St 
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Le Comptoir at Tiara Cafe
127 E 9th St
Los Angeles, CA 90079

6221 Franklin Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90028

5955 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038

8474 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90069

176 North Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Tasting Kitchen
1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291

Friday, December 23, 2011

Le Comptoir at Tiara Cafe

Le Comptoir at the Tiara Cafe in downtown Los Angeles is quite an experience. Chef Gary Menes is a master at coaxing incredible flavors out of his uber-fresh ingredients. The setup is unique, there are 14 seats, and it is counter-only service. But make no mistake, even though this sounds casual, the food is as fine as you can get.

I highly recommend you make reservations as soon as possible. The run should continue for a few more months, according to Chef. 

Le Comptoir at Tiara Cafe
127 E 9th St
Los Angeles, CA 90079

Visit the site:

Our menu

something amusing... (it was: crispy chicken skin and creamy blue cheese)

first course
cauliflower velouté, yogurt, apple mostarda

second course
sunny side-up egg, young lettuce, herbs, sorrel jus

third course
“veggie plate” musqué de provence squash, mustard frill, carrots, fennel, turnips, onion petals, warren pears, brussels sprouts

fourthe course
house made fettuccini, preserved black truffles

fifthe course
“pot roast”, chanterelle mushrooms, heirloom shelling beans, romano beans, young celery, smoked scallions, sultana-pistacchio relish, truffle froth

sixth course
j&j ranch grassfed beef ny “steak”, hearts of romaine, confit of barbara’s potatoes, baby leeks, parsley vinaigrette

seventh course
chocolate cake, cream cheese, orange, graham cracker

1999 Leroy Savigny Les Beaune Les Galettes, 2006 Dauvissat Chablis La Forest
Staff hard at work
Amuse Bouche
Bubbles to start
1998 Mont-Olivet, 2001 Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf

Incredible bread made from 17 year old starter
Veggie plate
Fettucine and truffle
Veggie "Pot roast"
Grass fed beef
Cheese course

Sunday, November 27, 2011

5 Year Anniversary Party Snapshots

Domaine Maestracci E Prove Blanc and Rouge, Corsica, France
Roasted suckling pig
Potato salad with red onion and pickle
Roasted corn
Fennel and citrus salad
Communal table
Great vittles
Adam and Dayna

Thanks to everyone for making our 5-year Anniversary party so much fun. Special thanks to Adam and Kermit Lynch Imports (the Maestracci and Leccia wines from Corsica are great). Thanks to Ned for the amazing roast pig (as usual). Thanks to Rick, Lake, Allison and Lisa for help making the food happen (awesome). And special thanks to Wes for the great photos (always amazing).

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Local Butchers

In our continuing effort to promote independent shops, here is our list of favorite local butchers. These folks are dedicated to what they do and deserve our patronage. Make the extra stop, and we assure you, you will not be disappointed.

Harvey's Guss Meat Co
949 S. Ogden Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 937-4622

McCall's Meat and Fish
2117 Hillhurst Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 667-0674

Alexander's Prime Meats
(Howie's Ranch Market)
6580 N. San Gabriel Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91775
(626) 286-8871

Taylor's 'Ol Fashioned Meats
  14 E. Sierra Madre Blvd
Sierra Madre, CA 91024
(626) 355-8267

Huntington Meats and Sausage
(Los Angeles Farmers Market)
6333 W. 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 933-8577

Marconda's Meat
(Los Angeles Farmers Market)
6333 W. 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 938-5131

Lindy and Grundy
801 North Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 951-0804

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Italian Deli Experience

We enjoy supporting independently owned and operated businesses and we frequent the Italian delis in our neighborhood. You will find better products and, often times, develop a real relationship with the shop to enrich your experience. If you like the idea of that, here is the short list of our favorites.

Eagle Rock Italian Bakery
1726 Colorado Blvd
Eagle Rock, CA 90041
(323) 255-8224

Roma Italian Deli and Grocery
918 North Lake Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91104
(626) 797-7748

Mario's Italian Deli and Market
740 East Broadway
Glendale, CA 91205
(818) 242-4114

Monte Carlo Italian Deli
3103 West Magnolia Boulevard
Burbank, CA 91505-3046
(818) 845-3517

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

5 Year Anniversary Party

Join us
Saturday, October 15th from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. 
to celebrate our 5-Year Anniversary with Corsican wine and a feast, that you might find on the island, of roasted suckling pig.

The Domaine Maestracci Wines
E Prove

The Blanc:
Made with 100% Rolle, as it's called in France, and Malvoisie de Corse, in parts of Corsica and Vermentino in Italy. Confused yet? Aromas of pear and lime with a fascinating smoky note. Soft, ripe fruit with a fresh feel in the mouth and a very tasty herb character.

The Rouge:
A blend of Nielluccio (the island’s clone of Sangiovese), Grenache, a more recent import, Syrah, another newer arrival, and Sciacarello, a native Corsican variety that may be the source of the island’s most distinct wine. A rustic but pleasing red that has bright notes of cherry fruit and a earthy finish.

$20 per person - for food and wine!


Wine and Corsica

Since the arrival of the Phoenicians around 570 B.C., Corsica has produced a lot of wine in steep, coastal terrain. Production increased after 1950 when the Pieds-Noirs, ethnically French emigrants fleeing unrest in Algeria, arrived to plant vineyards. Until recently most Corsican wine stayed on the island. We are lucky to now be able to enjoy these wines here in the States. Thanks in no small part to Kermit Lynch Imports.

Adam Zuckert from Kermit Lynch will be behind the bar pouring, answering questions and will have some bonus Corsican wines to sample!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bouchon BH, Fried Chicken Night

Every so often Bouchon Beverly Hills does their fried chicken on Monday night, ala Ad Hoc in Yountville. The menu is fried chicken, collard greens, mac & cheese and corn bread muffins with honey butter - all for $36 per person.

The food is served family style and their wine list has some nice choices for French country wine. We went with a Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc) and Anjou Rouge (Cabernet Franc); both paired excellently with the rustic food.

Highly recommended!

Bouchon Bistro
235 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 271-9910

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Small Business Manifesto

Exceedingly present on most people's minds these days is the economy. While I won't profess to be an expert in the field I do want to express my opinion about one of the potential solutions. We often hear that small business drives the economy, so let's examine that idea a little bit.

More businesses are likely to fall into the small business category. According to the SBA the standards for what qualify as a small business are generally, under 50 employees, and, other than certain farming industries, an annual revenue under $4 million. Why do I highlight these facts?; because it is helpful to point these parameters out. More businesses are small businesses. We are bombarded daily with advertising from big businesses, so we may have a skewed perspective, but come the end of the day, there are many more small businesses.

Possibly more important, the benefits of supporting small business are far and wide. Did you know that when you spend $100 in a local small business, roughly $70 of that amount stays in that local community? Do you like to support your neighborhood? Then supporting local business is a sure fire bet. In general, local business owners live in the neighborhood and spend their earnings in that same neighborhood, thus creating a chain of support for the local community.

Beyond the financial impact of supporting local business, the customer service aspects of small business far and away exceed that of big business. Have you ever tried to procure a simple document, like a 3 year old monthly statement, from one of our big banks? There are several layers of bureaucracy to go through and then it comes down to a contracted group, only affiliated with the big bank, to process the order. And you have no way to track this service. So if it does not happen on the first try, it is up to you to follow up multiple times. That same request at a small community bank and you are working with one employee, who you likely know by name.

Expand this to our field; wine merchant, and tangentially, food. Every wine person I know has some connection with food. I guarantee if you approach a local wine merchant with a food-related question you will get plenty of useful information. Besides the obvious affinity wine has for food, remember that merchants work extended hours and have to eat somewhere. So they have likely tried everything within a stone's throw of their business and have an opinion on it. Have you tried walking into a large chain wine store and asked an employee for the best bistro in the area?

The customer service aspect of small business can be overlooked sometimes but when you don't get good customer service somewhere, you notice. Small local business pay attention to details. They specialize. It wasn't that long ago that people shopped for their cheese at a cheese shop, or their meat from a butcher. We see these things coming back in fashion. Support them. You will get better products. You will get special attention and you will support your local economy, which in turn, will have an effect exponentially.
I wrote these five years ago when we opened and it still remains our credo.

What you can expect from a independent wine merchant, like Rosso Wine Shop:

1) We will say hello when you walk in the door.
2) We will do our best to understand your palate and price range and suggest accordingly.
3) Ask for a $20 Cabernet and we will find you a good Cabernet at that price, no up-selling.
4) We will contact you when we run into a wine we think you would love.
5) We will offer you limited production wines and special deals on closeout items we find.
6) If you end up with a problem bottle (i.e. corked or damaged) we will replace it.

Anyone else have opinions on this subject?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sunday Supper at Lucques

A great value for the quality, preparation and service.

sunday supper

august 14, 2011

eggplant purée with burrata,
sweet peppers and shaved pecorino

2nd (choice of )
clams and chorizo with shell beans,
grilled toast and smoked tomato butter

harissa-grilled chicken with farro,
swiss chard, summer squash and charmoula

nectarine and blackberry galette
with crème fraîche and pistachios

$45 per person

Very flavorful food. Great textures. Well presented. Excellent service. 

Off their list: 2010 Cassis Rosé

BYO: 2001 Clos Vougeot

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Visit Wine Country

It is always great fun to visit where grapes are grown and where wine is made. You often hear people in the business say "each wine has a story," and many times, that connection to "the story" makes for a more favorable view of the wine. Not a distortion, mind you, more of a better understanding of the elusive sense of place.

If you have any interest in learning more about the process, the climate, the reason for being, a trip to wine country will be enlightening. Just like we always say the most important thing about learning wine is to taste, we also believe understanding where the wine comes from leads to added insightfulness.

On a recent Napa trip we were able to try some new wines and re-taste some old favorites. These kinds of trips contribute greatly to your inner encyclopedia of wine tastes. We highly recommend a wine country visit, to any one, really.

Fisher Vineyards was our first stop. They are located on the Sonoma side of Spring Mountain. The site is amazing. The wines are equally as beguiling. They are a very small production and all family owned and run, established in 1973.

Next up was Failla Wines on the Silverado Trail in St Helena. Ehren Jordan, the wine maker, trained in Europe and has an affinity for Pinot Noir and Syrah, even though he is based in Napa. He sources fruit largely from top sites in Sonoma. 

Outpost Winery was another visit. Thomas Rivers Brown is likely one of the most sought-after wine makers currently. He picks and chooses his projects and crafts top quality wines.  Outpost has amazing views on Howell Mountain. Great wines; Cabs, Zins, Petite Syrah and Grenache.

Another memorable stop was Karl Lawrence Winery, located on the bench floor, in St Helena. Mike Trujillo is the winemaker. We have worked with the wines at the store. Mostly Cabs and reserve Cabs. We were able to try some of the reserve wines, which in small production, are fantastic.

Corison Winery was a quick stop also. Kathy Corison crafts what I would call classic wines. They are balanced and show a real purity of fruit. Her style is what could be described as restrained, when compared to some of the real juicy wines that are dominating the market, but we like them a lot. Try to find some older vintages. You will be impressed.

A good resource for Napa Valley is: