Tripe alla Fiorentina at Restaurant Delfina, San Francisco. Delicious, perfectly textured between chewiness and melt-in-your-mouth'ness.
Last time after I raved about Pizzeria Delfina, located next door to the San Francisco jewel of an Italian restaurant that I'd never been to - Restaurant Delfina, the chef owner Craig Stoll was nice enough to invite me over.
With menus updated daily and swanky atmosphere in the midst of a bustling Mission neighborhood, I'd been itching to go for a while, as the place has foodies abuzz. Having a bottle of the Vietti Barolo Lazzarito 2004 in hand that I had just gotten from WineChateau.com, Rona and I headed to Delfina to meet our dear friends whom we hadn't seen for ages.
Vietti sits somewhere in between the traditionalists and the modernists of the Barolo producers spectrum. The influence of oak is there, especially compared to the recent bottles of a staunch traditionalist Bartolo Mascarello (I just had 2003 and 2006 at Donato Enoteca a couple of weeks ago). Lazzarito is a single-vineyard bottling in Vietti's famous and quite extensive Nebbiolo line-up. Their other top single-vineyard Barolos are Brunate, Rocche, and Villero. Lazzarito - expensive, formidable, masculine, and built to last, the wine has personality. Coming from the great 2004 vintage, with the structure for aging, Vietti was not going to be approachable. Yet, I had to see how it's been evolving while there is still an opportunity to buy more at retail. I had remarked positively on this wine two years ago at Tre Bicchieri 2009 tasting, and on its 2005 vintage at Tre Bicchieri 2010. When just opened and tasted, the wine was as they say "tight and tough as nails". I poured it into a decanter and back into the bottle, three times, back and forth. By the time we started dinner three hours later, and throughout the meal, the wine kept opening up, as layers of flavor revealed themselves, coaxed by the impeccably executed, belly-warming and soul-caressing dishes of Delfina. Lazzarito is a darker expression of Nebbiolo - with loads of cola, tobacco, leather, with hints of menthol, figs and plums, rather than the more common to Nebbiolo sour cherries. The mintiness was not apparent to my friends at first, until they paired the wine with mint tagliatelle pasta, and nodded! A commanding bottle of vino for those who enjoy the darker style of Barolo, but it needs time. At $90-100+/btl, it gives me pause, especially when Vietti's entry-level non-single-vineyard Barolo Castiglione is quite good for around $40.
Take a look at the array of spectacular food we had - every single bite was spot on! Oh that tripe! Oh that panna cotta! Oh that this, oh that that! When do we go back?!