Friday, December 5, 2014

The Tasting Room with Tom Leykis: Cult wines and special guest Scott Kannberg

Holiday Episode of the Tasting Room with Tom Leykis.  

Jeff Zimmitti of Rosso Wine Shop and Scott Kannberg of the band Spiral Stairs and Pavement join Tom Leykis on the Tasting Room to drink and discuss cult wines; road stories, touring with a rock band and discovering wine.

We broke out the big guns for the holidaze with Tom! I brought a few "mailing list" wines that I have, an older Kosta Browne Pinot Noir and a recent release Saxum. And Scott brought a Schrader and Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon. All these wines are scarce, top scoring and highly sought after.

Let's try 'em. Why not?

Listen here: tastingroomwithtom
via an online stream, iTunes or TuneIn

Kosta Browne, Saxum, Schrader, Vine Hill Ranch
Some reviews and notes:

2005 Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Kanzler Vineyard
(96 Points: Wine Spectator) "There are restrained aromas here, yet the flavors build gracefully. Juicy, with vivid, layered wild berry, raspberry, cherry and floral scents. Deep, complex and ending with a laser-beam focus. 255 cases made."

**In 2011 the Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2009 was named Wine Spectator wine of the year.

2011 Saxum Red Blend Paderewski Vineyard
(96 Points: Wine Advocate) "Much more sexy and voluptuous, the 2011 Paderewski Vineyard (34% Zinfandel, 31% Mourvedre, 16% Tempranillo, 10% Syrah and 9% Petite Sirah) delivers loads of black and blue fruits, spice, incense, chocolate and pan dripping-like savoriness to go with a full-bodied, decadently styled mouthfeel. Small production."

**In 2010 the Saxum James Berry Paso Robles 2007 was named named Wine Spectator wine of the year.

2009 Schrader Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard
(95 Points: Wine Spectator) "Intense and multifaceted, exhibiting dense, detailed currant, spice, chocolate brownie, crème de cassis and mocha flavors. Focused and persistent, building depth and gaining length. 375 cases made."

**Thomas Rivers Brown-winemaker. Oakville fruit. Major scores including multiple 100 points.

2011 Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
(94 Points: Wine Advocate) "The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon is just as impressive as it was when I tasted it six months ago. Tar, smoke, melted road tar and black fruit all come to life in this powerful, brooding wine. For the first time, the Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet includes a dollop of Petit Verdot, which gives the wine a little more backbone and gravitas. Super-impressive."

**Antonio Galloni/Vinous: I can’t say enough about the work the Phillips family has done with the first four vintages of VHR, Vine Hill Ranch.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October Supper Club with Italian Flavors

This last Supper Club was a blast. I asked chef to come up with some Italian-inspired flavors but without being too obvious. He came up with a fresh and flavorful four courses to which I paired the wines, sourced from all over Italy.

Excellent food by chef Matthew Roberts and the wine pairings worked out well. As usual, a good time was had by all.

First course: Seared tuna, citrus salad, castelveltrano olives, capers

Second course: Roasted pumpkin soup, ginger oil, pepitas, crostini

Third course: Wild mushroom polenta, parmesan (x2), pine nut, arugula

Fourth course: Tomato braised pork shank, cannellini beans, house-cured pancetta, gremolata

Wines: (1) Frascati, (2) Valpolicella, (3) Colline Novaresi, (4) Bolgheri

Full menu with wine $60 per person

chef Matthew Roberts describing the dishes
To sign up for the invitation list, visit our website:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Farmer's Markets and Corkage Fee List

We enjoy Farmer's Markets. And we like to bring special wines out to restaurants on occasion.

Did you know we have a complete list of the Farmer's Markets in Los Angeles on our website? Yes, we do.

Take a look: Farmer's Markets

And we also regularly update a page for Corkage Fees throughout Los Angeles' restaurants as well.

That list can be found here: Corkage Fees

Monday, August 18, 2014

Summer Corn Supper Club

This Supper Club we celebrated Summer corn! We had some blackened corn, some popcorn, some succotash, some corn grits and corn bread pudding mixed into each course respectively. 

Fresh. Delicious. Summer. Chef Michael Ruiz at the helm.

The Wines.


1st Course
poke / agave / pineapple / blackened corn
wine: 2013 Chateau L’Eperonniere Rosé de Loire, France
2nd Course
smoked sockeye / succotash / radish / arugula
wine: Drew Family Cellars Pinot Noir Suitcase Clones, California
3rd Course
brisket / belly / grits / greens
wine: 2010 Ardevol Priorat Anjoli, Spain
4th Course
corn bread pudding / pickled strawberries / chili chocolate
dessert wine: 2012 Conte Vistarino Sangue di Giuda Costiolo Lombaria, Italy

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sparr Heights Coming Up!

Tucked away in north Glendale and just south of Montrose, our little neighborhood of Sparr Heights is definitely coming up. See what is going on and what is coming with our handy map. And there is more in the works!

1) Schreiner's Fine Sausages - All things German
Offering a vista of sausages and cold cuts, from familiar items like bratwurst and knackwurst to more exotic options. All the accouterments are on hand too--mustards and sauerkraut, German-style bread from area bakeries, and of course, beer.
3417 Ocean View Blvd, Glendale, CA 91208

2) Berolina Bakery - Breads and European pastries
Owned and operated by a local European couple since 1991, Berolina boasts traditional favorites as well as signature specialties with an assortment of baked goods.
3421 Ocean View Blvd, Glendale, CA 91208

3) La Cabanita - One of L.A.’s most popular Mexican
Famous with locals for both its authentic Mexican cuisine and its giant, frosty margaritas, the three airy dining rooms are regularly bustling with a lively crowd of couples, families, and groups of friends. Specialties include pork with green mole, pork chops baked in pasilla sauce and pozole.
3447 N. Verdugo Road, Glendale, CA 91208

4) Bashan Restaurant - Casual fine dining
Nadav Bashan, former sous chef at the esteemed Providence in Hollywood, opened his own operation in 2007. The menu is decidedly new American with French and Asian influences. Taste why the Los Angeles Times has raved about it.
3459 N. Verdugo Road, Glendale, CA 91208

5) Rosso Wine Shop - For the disenchanted TJ’s wine buyer
A welcoming neighborhood wine shop specializing in reasonably priced wine from around the world. A select focus is given to Italy, France, Spain and California. Enjoy themed wine bar flights every Friday and Saturday between 5:00pm to 8:00pm. After expanding in 2010 there is more of everything!
3459-1/2 & 3461 N. Verdugo Road, Glendale, CA 91208

6) Bountiful Bakery - Artisanal goods & gourmet take-out
Coming Soon!
3527 N. Verdugo Road, Glendale, CA 91208

7) Benitoite - California bistro, locally sourced
Coming Soon!
2200 Honolulu Blvd/N. Verdugo Rd, Glendale, CA 91208

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Supper Club June Edition

This Supper Club we celebrated the warm weather in SoCal with a fresh menu from guest Chef Matthew Roberts.


Grilled Peach and Octopus Salad
Vitteaut-Alberti Cremant de Bourgogne Rosé, France

Haibut Crudo, Ajo Blanco, Pickled Grapes, Chili Oil
2012 Herencia Altes Garnacha Blanc, Terre Alta, Spain

Duck Confit, Blackberry Guajillo Salsa, Kumquat, and Polenta
2012 Domaine de Colette Beaujolais-Villages, France

Wild Boar with Mole, Sweet Corn Puree, Pickled Onions, and Pepitas
2010 Jean-Louis Orchis Vieilles Vignes Tribouley Cotes Catalanes, France


The Cremant de Bourgogne Rosé was a great starter wine. Fresh and lively. Made with 100% Pinot Noir and with enough depth to stand up to the first course. The Garnacha Blanc was fruity and oily and provided some weight to the halibut crudo. Excellent. The Beaujolais-Villages, slightly chilled, was a great foil for the rich duck confit. It provided a good lift. And the Orchis was gob-smacking good when paired with the Wild Boar. It needed to be hefty to stand up to the intensity of the dish.

Grilled Peach and Octopus Salad
Haibut Crudo, Ajo Blanco, Pickled Grapes, Chili Oil
Duck Confit, Blackberry Guajillo Salsa, Kumquat, and Polenta
Wild Boar with Mole, Sweet Corn Puree, Pickled Onions, and Pepitas

A good time was had by all!

To sign up for our invitation list visit

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Supper Club: Southern Italian Style

The Supper Club is our after-hours, invitation only, private event, where we work with local chefs and pair some offbeat wines. This dinner we celebrated the flavors Campania and Southern Italy. We had a guest chef, Michael Young, formerly of Ombra in Studio City.

Arrancini (stuffed, deep-fried rice balls)
NV DeConciliis Selim Spumante

-1st Course-
Casatiello (Neopolitan stuffed bread with pancetta) and antipasti of caponata, pepperanata
2012 Terredora Greco di Tufo

-2nd Course-
Crudo di tonno ricciola e bottarga (Tuna, ricciola crudo with cured roe)
2012 Marisa Cuomo Ravello Bianco

-3rd Course-
Agnello Cacio e Uova (Braised Lamb Shoulder with Peppers and Eggs)
2008 Terredora Taurasi

 -4th Course-
Pastiera Napoletana (Ricotta cheese cake in Neopolitan-style)
Late harvest Malvasia (sweet)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Chi Spacca a Carnivore's Dream Spot

I suppose I could just write "wow" and post a few photos... but I'd like to elaborate a bit on the meat mecca Chi Spacca. OK, yes, it is part of the Batali & Bastianich empire, but, it has a small, chef-driven feel to it. And any restaurant that makes the claim that this is their ode to superstar butcher and personality Dario Cecchini (dariocecchini) can't be all that bad.

Service is well-informed and attentive without being intrusive. Everyone seems to have a sense of the excitement that is going on. Diners are completely engaged. The room is economical. Around the perimeter you have a wine library and then the large grill, wood fire oven and prep area. It all feels purposeful.

The menu is small but focused. Plenty of good choices but the meat is definitely the star. And specifically the beef cuts seem some of the most serious. Our strategy; order their house made specialties to start, so that means charcuterie and meats and balance that with their house cured pickles. Then meat and potatoes (and maybe some green stuff). 

Here is how it played out:

House made pickles with Falaghina off the menu

Charcuterie mixed plate

Together on the plate; great combination

The star: the Costata all Fiorentina

Paired with '04 Uccelliera Brunello Riserva from my cellar

Green stuff: butter lettuce with herbs

Chi Spacca potatoes

the carved beef; wow

on the plate; all food groups represented

All in all it was a fantastic experience. The food was simple and pure with loads of flavor that only top-notch ingredients can bring. Their corkage policy is fair; $30 per bottle with a 2 bottle limit but they will waive the fee if you buy something off of their list. And the list is well chosen. Yes, a good majority is Bastianich-driven but there some smart choices at a reasonable mark-up.

Get yourself to Chi Spacca.

Chi Spacca
6610 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Tasting Room with Tom Leykis - March 2014 Edition

We enjoy doing the Tasting Room with Tom Leykis; so much so, that we try and get in there at least 3-4 times a year. Sometimes we have a theme, sometimes, it is whatever I grab. Generally it is a great opportunity to talk about wine, wine trends, small business, the pulse of the wine market in Los Angeles, or stories of our wine travels, but it is always entertaining. I urge you to tune in and listen. 

There are many ways to get there: 
1) Click this link to the website and stream: Weekend of 03-01-14
2) Download the free Podcast on iTunes: iTunes Podcast
3) Stream it via Tune-In: Tune-In playlist

Tom is rapidly re-defining online streaming with both his regular Tom Leykis show and the Tasting Room with Tom Leykis. It is innovative and fast-moving towards the way of the future. He has put his money where his mouth is and he does not have to answer to anyone; the classic small business success story. Of course he had an advantage of being one of the most-listened-to radio personalities for close to three decades but that is just another reason to get on board with his new start-up, now just at two years old (as of April 2014). Though I should clarify the Tasting Room has been running for close to ten years, I believe.

This episode I chose some of my recent favorites in the shop. My buying strategy is a combination of keeping proven sellers and mixing in new discoveries. That percentage changes all the time as I pride myself on staying on top of everything new in wine. The wine world is very dynamic.

Here are the wines I chose to feature on the show:

2011 Marisa Cuomo Ravello Bianco $24.99 Italy
Ravello is the specific region within Campania (not far from Naples). The wine is a blend of Falanghina and Biancolella from vineyards terraced into the steep cliffs of the Amalfi Coast. The proximity of the ocean and the region's volcanic soils are apparent in the wine's salty minerality and firm structure. Subtle flavors of kiwi and melon grow profound and savory with air, their length propelled by elegant acidity.

2012 Terre Nere Etna Rosso Sicily $19.99 Italy
The Etna Rosso is a blend of two native Sicilian grapes; 98% Nerello Mascalese, and 2% Nerello Cappuccio. Ruby in color with a nose of candy and flowers and some dried fruit. On the palate you experience candied cherries, spice and earth. Unfiltered and unfined. Very pure with medium body, smooth tannins and lively acidity. Great balance.

2011 Lento Dragone Calabria $21.99 Italy
Cantine Lento is situated in the Lamezia DOC of Calabria and produces both indigenous and native varietals. The Dragone Rosso is generally a blend of Magliocco, Nerello and Greco Nero. Intense ruby red. A wide and enveloping nose, rich in red fruit notes with spicy and persistent finishing notes. Good structure with balanced tannins to make it round and velvety.

2010 Domaine Grand Nicolet Rasteau Vieilles Vignes $22.99 France
(92+ points Rhone Report) "The 2010 Domaine Grand Nicolet Rasteau Vieilles Vignes is a blend of 70% Grenache (from 60-year-old vines) and 30% Syrah (from 30-year-old vines) that has the Grenache aged in tank and the Syrah in 10% 1 and 2-year-old barrels. Big, mineral-driven and firm, with black cherry liqueur, spice-box, and new leather aromas and flavors all showing in this full-bodied, concentrated Rasteau."

2011 Sans Liege The Offering Santa Barbara $26.99 California
A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and just a touch of Viognier, using about 15% whole clusters, aged in a combination of new, once-used and neutral French oak. The resulting wine is complex and earthy, with a savory, meaty undercurrent from cooler climate Syrah and Mourvedre. There's also bright cherry and raspberry fruit, brambly blackberry and something evocative of a caramel hazelnut mocha spiked with black pepper.


"Get in the game" - Tom Leykis on wine

And if you have read this far, here is a page that created with all of my appearances on the Tasting Room with Tom Leykis: Rosso Wine Shop on the Tasting Room

Monday, March 3, 2014

New Discoveries in Santa Ynez

Another excellent Santa Ynez visit. We have been going to the area for over 17 years now, and I have to say, it has really come a long way. And I'm sure long-timers like Jim Clendenon and Richard Sanford might say try going back 30+ years and see that difference, but I only have my frame of reference.

There are quite a number of newer wineries, a change in some of the local eating establishments and some real growth in certain areas. All for good.

Our winery visits at Alta Maria, Presqu'ile and Martian Ranch were all very enjoyable. We now have several of the wines in stock.

2011 Alta Maria Sauvignon Blanc Santa Barbara $17.99 California
from the winery: "Pale antique gold in color, dynamitic aromas of honeydew, gooseberries and tomatillos abound in the glass. Tropical fruit adds to the body of this moderately weighted wine which opens up on the palate to zesty acidity and slight minerality."

2010 Alta Maria Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley $27.99 California
(90 Points: International Wine Cellar) "Vivid ruby. Sexy red fruit aromas show good clarity and lift, with Asian spice and floral nuances adding complexity. The spicy quality carries onto the palate, which displays smooth raspberry and spicecake flavors and a touch of clove. Finishes silky and long, with lingering sweetness and soft tannins."

2012 Martian Ranch Grenache Blanc Los Alamos $21.99 California
from the winery: "Big almond and lemon verbena aromas greet the nose with hints of lemongrass and quartz adding complexity. Texturally it is really quite lovely; it’s bright, clear and moderately tense with a hint of white peach accenting a core of orange toned fruit." Biodynamic and sustainable farming.

2011 Martian Ranch Syrah Red Shift Estate $23.99 California
Farmed biodynamically and sustainable on their estate in Los Alamos, this Syrah Red Shift is very fresh. The nose is filled with spicy notes and red fruits with hints of herbs and spice. The palate shows a little meatiness, and some dark berry fruit with a long mineral-laced finish. Impressive.

On the food front, we were excited to discover Industrial Eats and Brothers Red Barn. Industrial Eats is quite new and very impressive. They serve wood fire pizza and flatbreads, along with gourmet cheeses, house-made specialties like terrines and daily items. All great. And Red Barn is the newest iteration of the Mattie's Tavern folks. A little slicker but still charming and the food is excellent. As evidenced by this steak snap.

Get yourself to wine country in Santa Ynez.

Industrial Eats 
181 Industrial Way
Buellton, CA 93427
(805) 688-8807

Brothers Red Barn
3539 Sagunto Street
Santa Ynez, CA 93460
(805) 688-4142

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Goals for 2014: World Cup Year

There is some buzz in the air.
As a small business owner you can feel the ebbs and flows of your business (if you are really dialed into it). And given how 2013 progressed, there is some palpable momentum moving forward into 2014.

Like in our personal lives, businesses should set goals too. But as important as it is for a retailer to remain consistent by developing a trust and continuity, it is also important to grow, experiment and pursue new things. And in this coming year, I've set some modest goals that can be reached and also exceed, depending on the response.

1) Expand our sparkling wine picks.
Over the years I have observed other categories grow beyond where we started by simply adding more choices and exposing people to good quality for the price. This I will do with sparkling wine. So that means expect more Champagne, more Cremant from France and a few more choices in Prosecco and some Franciacorta from Italy. And that includes more opportunities to taste them at the bar.

2) Continue to build our Burgundy section.
A personal goal for me over the last 10 years has been to focus on Burgundy. I see it as one of the most alluring wine regions. But it takes some effort. I will happily make that effort so my customers don't have to. You can trust my picks. I've spent many hours doing "research."

3) Offer more food and wine events.
Everyone loves food. Well, almost everyone. And since we always get a great response for our Underground Supper Clubs and winemaker events we should do more. And we will.

4) Partner with more businesses.
We enjoy working with other businesses, whether they are restaurants or other retailers. As our area continues to develop expect to see more partnerships and events with said businesses.

5) Expand our reach.
Everyone says that but how do you do it? Well at least in the micro picture, we will continue to offer great value to being on our eNewsletter list. Get people to sign up. Make special offers. Continue to be forward-thinking with new weekly arrivals to the shop, special events and news.

To sign up for our mailing list, visit our website: and come along for the ride.

Oh, and the World Cup is this year; another great thing about 2014.