with Jamie at La Ciccia Restaurant, San Francisco(10/25/2008)

Having to travel to SF on business, I took the opportunity to arrive a day early and arranged this dinner in the Offline Forum. I had met Jamie several times before but everyone else was new to me. It still amazes me how genuinely nice everyone I meet at offlines is. I had a terrific time and look forward to getting together again in the future. (Not that I need much encouragement to visit SF.)

The food, service, and charm of the owners and staff at La Ciccia is just great. I strongly recommend this place to anyone in the area.

Venue: La Ciccia Sardinian Restaurant, 291 30th Street (also Church St here), San Francisco, 415-550-8114. (Owners: Massimiliano (Max) Conti and Lorella Degan). Start time: 8:30 PM

Pictures: Here.
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Gence Alton
Fred Ciaramaglia
Jamie Kutch
Kristen Kutch
Richard Osborne
Trevor Sheehan
Ken Vastola

Flight 1
[from La Ciccia’s wine list]

2004 Querciabella "Batàr" Toscana IGT (50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Bianco), $130.
Lovely floral, lemon butter nose. Complex in the mouth. Long crisp dry finish. Gence says “fennel seed”. I think he’s right. Nice wine, but for $130? 91 points.

2005 Benjamin Zidarich "Prulke" Friuli VDT (Vitolska, Malvasia, Sauvignon del Carso), $140.
Stunning nose of lavender and lemond custard. Great length and complexity. A terrifically flavorful white which goes very well with all the apps. 94 points.

Flight 2

1980 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo (Trevor)
Pretty nose of dried cherries and flowers. Gorgeous in the mouth. Surprisingly thick and velvety. Fresher than the very good bottle Jamie Wolff brought to Antonio’s a couple years ago. 92 points.

1982 Renato Ratti Barolo Marcenasco (Gence)
Interesting nose. Delicate, mature, tannic. Old fashioned stuff. Slightly sour, but very nice. Drink up. 91 points.

Flight 3

1982 Gaja Costa Russi (Fred)

Terrific nose of kirsch. Still fiercely tannic, but silky and delicious. Really shows it stuff with the rabbit stew. 94 points.

1982 G. Mascarello Monprivato (Fred)
Corked. Not horribly so. You can still tell this could have been great. NR

1982 Giacosa Barolo Falletto di Serralunga d’Alba [white label] (Ken)
Classic Giacosa Serralunga nose of blood, iron, and fruit cake. Full and rich in the mouth. Exquisite tannins. Even better with the Boar Stew. 96 points.

Flight 4

1989 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Cascina Francia (Jamie)

Black fruit and licorice nose. Thick, rich, quite massive in the mouth. This might be the best bottle I’ve had of this. A true classic. 97 points.

1989 Paolo Scavino Barolo Cannubi (Richard)
Wow! I love the floral nose on this. Intense, tannic with loads of black fruit. This and the Fiasc could have used more air time. Still, the greatness is there. 94 – 96 points.

1989 Paolo Scavino Barolo Bric del Fiasc (Kristen)
Even more backward than the Cannubi. Earth, licorice, blood. Again, massively tannic with lots of black fruit, but needs more time. 93 – 95 points.

Flight 5
[A surprise. Jamie brought samples of two of his yet unreleased 2007s.]

2007 Kutch Pinot Noir Kanzler Vyd.
Nose of grenadine and kirsch is stunning. I thought it was a mistake to taste these after all these terrific Barolos, but this is great stuff. The sweet fruit shows really well after all that tannin, but it sure doesn’t lack for complexity. Ringing finish. Great fruit. At least 93 points.

2007 Kutch Pinot Noir McDougall Vyd.
Dry spice and cherry in the nose. Sweet cherry in the mouth. The fruit is almost too intense in the superlong finish. Great stuff. Certainly Jamie’s best so far. 94 points.

Thanks to all who attended, esp. Gence and Fred who did much of the organization and Richard who generously traded me a bottle of SQN Papa! It was great to finally meet the charming Mrs. Kutch and the infamous Trevor. ;)




All orignal content © Ken Vastola