Cabernet rules this roost

One of LA’s most impressive wine cellars is behind this door.

Dinner with Carlitos and Alice means plowing through the finest classic Cabernet Sauvignon wines produced in Napa. You should know by now that tBoW is not a cab fan. As a good friend and winemaker once put it…Cabernet – a terrific blending grape.
On its own I find Cabernet Sauvignon to be too damn big. I recognize Napa makes what are probably the world’s best Cabernet wines (so sorry Bordeaux) BUT…I said BUT these are wines for either trophy hunters at worst and/or people with steel plated palates at best. There are few blended Cabernet wines that I find appealing. tBoW found the Argentina blends of Malbec and Cabernet were the least interesting from that region, preferring Malbec and Merlot or even Syrah. In California styles, the most appealing Napa red wines are less than half Cabernet and preferably that quantity is closer to 30%.
No matter. When Carlitos opens his wine cellar, people of the Cabernet persuasion sit up and take notice. Even I am impressed with the depth of his stash. (more…)

Carlitos Way is Cabernet bay-bee

viva%2Bvino.jpgCarlitos is a genuine LA character. From stuffing burritos at El Rey Taco for 60s and 70s era USC football greats at Fig & Vermont when he was a teenager to making the leather boots for the old PSA stews (i.e., flight attendants) to throwing my favorite Xmas party, the man is endlessly amusing and excellent company. We have a March Madness bet – most wins – and this year I nipped him by 2 games. So he had to buy dinner at his favorite local Italian joint, Giorgios, in Palos Verdes. Like Litos, Giorgios is classic right down to the plaster statues between the banquettes. The highlight of the meal, for me, was Chef Carlo serving us panne cota ora’nge for dessert. Carlos requested cherries jubilee (what else?) which Giorgio prepared at the table. The only thing missing was a Tony Bennett serenade. (more…)