BEST of Sexy Wines: Old School Tasting

her LEGEND is bigger than any wine

Forget the vertical and the varietal. Show me what ya got. Bring out your best and pull the cork. Tasting wine old school. Line em up and suck em down. The tBoW tasting team assembled at Hollywood classic restaurant Marino on Melrose between Highland and Vine. This is always a treat. You want old school this is it from the Rat Pack to Cardinal Mahoney. Owner Mario is beyond accommodating. Marino is cozy with a handful of wall booths and tables. Stem service is perfect. And the food is very well prepared. Perfect site for our sexy sexy wines.

We pulled corks on a 2006 Napa Cabernet, a 2005 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir and a 1996 Barolo. We dispensed with the stuffiness that is part of becoming total wine snobs; Pinot Noir only, 10 years old only, $50 plus only, etc. We had three excellent wines of three different varietals in front of us, each in its own differently sized glass so the tippler can return to the right stem without too much mental stumbling, and each representing a distinct region with no attention paid to wine age. Having the 16 year old Barolo would seem risky. Our expectations were unsteady. At a decade older would it hold up? Like LA Legend Angelyne has held up? See photo evidence to the effect. Here are the wine outcomes.

2006 Anselmo Vigne Cabernet Sauvignon Veloce Napa Valley $25: Outstanding value on release. Delicious Cabernet flavors without the overpowering overripe and over-priced Parker-ized effects. Silky smooth like the Zohan might say so. Still shows power without being a big fruity brute. Also like the Zohan. Includes 3% Petite Verdot. Cab lovers will be pleased. Appears to be available. 14.7%

2005 Baxter McPhail Toulouse Vineyard Pinot Noir $45: Carlitos kept the bottle wrapped in tissue so we had to guess the varietal. The nose revealed a New World Pinot Noir. Probably Northern coast we thought. Dark fruit, strong flavors including the alcohol and marzipan sweetness. Lots of cherry and strawberry. Really quite nice. When we saw it was Anderson Valley and from Toulouse Vineyards we were surprised as the wine seemed too ripe for the area. Reminiscent of the fruit forwards style we associate with Golden Eye wines from the region. Baxter Winery is a small lot father and son operation. 150 cases on this wine. Would try again without complaint. 14.2%

1996 Alessandria San Giovanni Barolo $80 online: Last of the 1996 stash. This is the black label. A recent bottle was tight and lean so we decanted this time. That was the right decision. This wine was forward in the most delicate way. Bobby Jones would describe the proper tension on how to grip the golf club as “just enough to shake a lady’s hand.” Got it? The wine continued to shine and in this big hitter company that was impressive. The producer is not an all star but the vintage was so this wine was also superb. Label is from 1995 another vintage we loved from this Monforte house. 13%

It is good to relinquish control sometimes and just let things happen. You never know what will happen once you let go. Like running into the Vixen of the Valley! And yes that is HER hair. CALL ME.

Now…at last…some Zohan. Nonononono


  1. Wavatar
    igty says:

    we had a fine time….for a pinot putz to love a cabernet…now that’s a surprise. the barolo was great too, maybe the best wine of the night. we were 3 for 3. and the best part — i was a mooch. what could have improved on that?

  2. LL has been sampling a plethora of $6-9 cal pinots — ok not much complexity, but bargain delish — light, fruity, and occasionally competes favorably with labels at 3-4x the cost, i.e. Crane Lake (napa 11, 12.5%)… About $6 at Sprouts… best bargain pinot I’ve found as of late. as for Angelyne — double barrels notwithstanding in terms of fire power, that’s way bigger than anything I’m packing. My only critique on Le Blogue, Vinemaster, is that editions like this come off as just a bit too LA-centrique, but who can say truth-in-cleavage advertising ever hurt their market penetration?

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