One of the hottest new Italian restaurants on the peninsula - Donato Enoteca - that often goes by just "Donato", is reminding folks that it's not called "Enoteca" for nothing. For anyone who has been to the restaurant and seen their meticulously arranged list of wines that pair blissfully with the unique Italian cuisine of Donato, it's not a surprise. Eric Lecours, the wine director of Donato Enoteca, and the mastermind of the most intelligent wine program I have seen at any restaurant, takes his job VERY seriously. It doesn't show in Eric's quiet demeanor, but it does in the wines he carries and in the advice he gives with unassuming confidence, be that to a wine newbie or a crusty old wino. Eric firmly believes that wines, even great ones, are not to be put on a pedestal and idolized, just respected and enjoyed. Nor should they be over-analyzed and stack-ranked, as they tend to be in our techno-competitive American culture. Yet, if faced with a wine of stature and pedigree, he will give it undivided attention, white table cloth, no competing flavors, just focus and contemplation. He believes in wines that express the origins of their land and the traditions of their maker. Simple wines can be magnificent. Fancy wines can be "bitches" - he would say - if the winemaker sold out to cater to commercial interests, making generic blockbuster-wanna-be's. Next time you are at Donato Enoteca, take a moment to talk to Eric, and I guarantee you will enjoy your meal so much more, no matter the price.
If you know the man, you know that the inaugural tasting event at Donato Enoteca will be thought out to the last detail and executed with precision and class. And that's more than enough reason for me to be there with my camera, notepad, thirst, and a few more wine questions for Eric!
From the official press release:
Donato Enoteca will be the stage upon which dozens of artisan Italian wine importers will offer tastes of their finest wines at the "Enoteca 100" event on November 7, 2009. Featuring more than 100 wines from all over Italy, including beloved Barolo, Barbaresco and Brunello di Montalcino, "Enoteca 100" will be the biggest and best wine event on the Peninsula. Several of the wines featured also hold the prestigious "Tre Bicchieri" (three glasses) distinction of excellence for Italian wines. Regions represented at the event include Valle d'Aosta, Piemonte, Alto Adige, Veneto, Friuli, Toscana, Sicilia and Sardegna. Guests will also enjoy hors d'oeuvres from Executive Chef and owner Donato Scotti's menu with specialties to complement the wines such as imported prosciuttos, speck, Grana Padano and Asiago cheeses, along with house-made dishes such as the Wild Boar Bruschetta; House-made Sausage; Risotto Nero with fresh seafood; Porchetta (whole roasted pig); Grilled Wild Prawns; Agnolotti del plin; and Milk Braised Baccala.
Saturday, November 7, 1-4 p.m.
VIP Preview: 12-1 p.m.
1041 Middlefield Road
Redwood City, CA 94063
Note: Caltrain Redwood City stop is across the street from the restaurant.
VIP Preview (12-4 pm) - $70
General Admission (1-4 pm) - $55
Early Bird General Admission (1-4 pm, 1st 100 tickets)- $50
To purchase a ticket, visit www.donatoenoteca.com.