Sunday, April 3, 2011
Last year, I was an honored guest at a heart-warming wedding. The two souls had been match-made six months earlier by my dear wife at a wine dinner at Donato Enoteca, and they decided to seal the deal at the same place. That turned out to be a magnificent event, documented here.
Now two of my other friends are getting married. An exclusive dinner planned with just the close family, not an extravagant affair for the hundreds. Where?
Rona and I took them to Donato Enoteca to check it out. They had never been - what outrage! Of course, they loved it - gourmet yet relaxed, five different spaces available for parties, plus an outdoor veranda which looks gorgeous during Spring cherry blossom season.
We asked Donato to cook an "omakase" menu (whatever he likes), and Kate & Scott (who is a gourmet chef himself) were dazzled. I stuck to a modest order of mushroom/sausage Pizza - Donato makes one of my faves in the Bay Area - and then I focused on the two wines in front of me.
We paired early courses (of seafood and burrata) with the luscious Bollinger La Grande Annee 2000 vintage Champagne - a wine that impressed me throughout dinner with its seductive scents of candied ginger. You drink a sparkling wine like that, and you immediately know - it's Champagne. All other regions in the world may aspire (and I admire Trento and Franciacorta appellations in Italy), but the real thing is unmistakable. James Bond's beverage of choice - if Bollinger is good enough for Mr. 007, it's got to be good enough for Iron Chevsky, right?! The relatively high percentage of Pinot Noir (60%+) in the blend gives it an extra dimension and body that is hard to resist. (WineChateau.com and a number of other fine wine shops still carry this vintage.)
The latter courses were matched with a classic 1998 Bartolo Mascarello - a Barolo so beautiful and complex that smelling it alone could last me hours. Aromas of orange zest and "peaty scotch-iness" (as Scott aptly put it for its indescribable flavor of something like liqueured cherries in scotch), a hint of leather and chocolate in the background, medium bodied, very intense yet floating on my palate.
1998 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo - a beauty.
Best-ever pork medallions, slightly pink inside - delicious & juicy.
Always reliably delightful fall-apart-at-the-touch-of-a-fork beef short-ribs.
One of my favorite pizzas - mushroom and sausage. Perfectly decadent with Bartolo Mascarello Barolo.
After a dinner like that, how could Scott and Kate not trust Donato with their wedding reception! Congrats to the soon-to-be-newlyweds!