Location: 802 S Spring St. Los Angeles, CA 90015. 323-954-0300
Date: September 30, 2013
Rating: Great location!
Terroni is a small chain (5 restaurants) of high end Italians out of Toronto. They have two locations now in LA and downtown is the latest, just a few weeks old. This provided the perfect excuse for the Hedonists to haul the Italian treasures out of the cellar.
And our private room is no slouch either.
2009 Vie di Romans Friuli Isonzo Tocai Friulano Dolee. IWC 89. Bright, gold-tinged straw-yellow. A hint of lanolin dissipates to reveal fresh aromas of lemon and yellow apple, complicated by musky nuances of licorice and nuts. Nicely balanced and lively, with flavors of lemon icing, butter, cut grass and shaved almond. Finishes long, rich and buttery, but with very good rather than outstanding concentration.
Prosciutto e Burrata. prosciutto, burrata, fresh spinach and extra-virgin olive oil.
Tonight, co-organizer Kirk wanted to go all Italian and really set the bar high. This is most (but not all) of the lineup and includes some of the boot’s top wines. He also reigned in the chaos present at some of our dinners and served the wines neatly in flights.
From my cellar, 1990 Gaja Barbaresco. Parker 95. The 1990 Barbaresco emerges from the glass with an exotic array of tar, smoke, licorice and grilled herbs. There is wonderful intensity to the fruit and plenty of structure. The tannins are still a touch young and the wine is only now beginning to enter the early part of what looks to be a long drinking window! The 1990 Barbaresco is rounder and softer than the 1989, with perhaps just a touch less aromatic complexity and inner perfume, although that is splitting hairs at this level. The finish is long, intense and deeply satisfying. This is a marvelous bottle of Barbaresco.
1996 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Falletto. Parker 94-96. The saturated ruby/purple-colored 1996 Barolo Falletto exhibits an extraordinary nose of smoke, earth, white truffles, black fruits, licorice, and floral scents. Extremely massive, with layers of concentration, high tannin, a muscular personality, and a 40+ second finish, this classic, young Barolo will require patience. Why can’t I turn my body clock back twenty years?
1996 Aldo Conterno Barolo Cicala. Parker 94. The stunning aromatics of the 1996 Barolo is full-bodied and muscular. It possesses high tannin as well as extract, and mouth-searing acidity that gives the wine both great precision as well as a frightfully backward character. A super-dense, extracted, and rich Barolo, it will not be ready to drink for a decade. Discipline in the form of cellaring is definitely required for this fabulous Barolo.
Cheesy and a touch bitter. They sent around some Calabrian peppers that really spiced this up nicely. They have a chewy thin crust that is pretty authentically Italian.
Da Do a Da. tomato, mozzarella, goat cheese, eggplant and roasted red peppers.
2006 Dal Forno Romano Valpolicella Superiore. Parker 91. Romano Dal Forno’s 2006 Valpolicella Superiore is dark, rich and powerful. Firm yet well-integrated tannins frame black cherries, mocha, licorice and spices in this deep, broad-shouldered wine. The 2006 boasts tons of depth and richness in a sophisticated, sleek style. I was quite surprised to see the 2006 drink well with just a few hours of air.
1982 Roberto Mazzi Amarone Punta di Villa. Parker 92. Mazzi’s 1982 Recioto della Valpolicella-Punta di Villa is a wine to enjoy at the end of a meal – either with cheese or by itself. It is a powerful, spicy, intensely aromatic wine (nuts, herbs, leather, and red fruits), with exceptional intensity and a dry yet muscular, rich finish. It should last for 10 or more years.
2004 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Cru Cerretalto. Parker 96. The 2004 Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto is deep and powerful in its smoke, tar, spices, scorched earth and plums. The wine has shut down quite a bit since I last tasted it a few months ago, and the refined silky tannins that were present a while back have turned decidedly virile. Still, the wine’s pedigree is impossible to miss, and the only thing this needs is time, probably lots of it. Pretty scents of soy, smoke and incense inform the long, elegant finish.
2001 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino. Parker 91. The 2001 Brunello di Montalcino, which saw three years in cask, opens with a perfumed, aromatic nose followed by layers of dark cherry fruit, licorice and tar that develop in the glass with outstanding purity and definition. It offers notable balance and harmony. Today the tannins come across as slightly hard and this wine will require a few years in the bottle to fully come together.
Capunti al Ragu d’Agnello. capunti pasta with slow cooked lamb ragu’ and parmigiano shavings. Covered in white truffles. This proved a slightly unusual combination. It’s basically a classic Bolognese with truffles on top. I’m not sure they added hugely, but it was tasty.
2008 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo. Parker 96+. Mascarello’s 2008 Barolo is a wine of extraordinary elegance. A sweet, open bouquet leads to dark red fruit, mint, spices and licorice in this pretty, nuanced Barolo. The 2008 is all about detail and understated finesse. It boasts breathtaking purity in its fruit and fabulous overall balance. A textured, finely-knit finish leaves a lasting impression. The 2008 is very classic in style. It will require considerable patience, despite its deceptively medium-bodied structure. This is another dazzling wine from Maria-Theresa Mascarello.
From my cellar, 1994 Castello di Ama Vigna l’Apparita Toscana IGT. 95-96 points. Moderate depth of color, red rim (looked younger than its age), moderate depth of color at rim… aromatically this wine was phenomenal… lots of dark and red fruits, just a hint of savory tomato thing I often find in merlot, loads of exotic spices… some from oak some from somewhere else… minerals… incredible definition of aromas. On the palate the wine was fresh with high acidity, had a nice round midpalate with good flesh, the tannins were completely integrated, moderately ripe, ETOH was moderate. Perfect balance, incredible length, great intensity of flavor, off the charts complexity. Wine had finesse, flawless texture, and very good expression of place. This wine really surprised me and is one of the two or three best merlots I’ve ever had. Remarkable wine… I was floored!
1998 Antinori Solaia Toscana IGT. Parker 93. Solaia has been one of Italy’s most brilliant wines since the early eighties. Made in a Bordeaux-like style, it will age for two decades or more. The 1998, a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese, and 5% Cabernet Franc (8,000 cases), was aged for 14 months in new and one-year old French oak casks prior to being bottled without filtration. Yields were a low 30 hectoliters per hectare. The 1998 is a classically-structured, dense, full-bodied, youthful, well-balanced wine designed for cellaring. Its opaque ruby/purple color is accompanied by a classic bouquet of black currants, vanillin, earth, tobacco, and a touch of mint. Full-bodied, moderately tannic, dense, and concentrated, this backward 1998 needs 3-4 years of cellaring.
2005 Tenuta dell’Ornellaia Masseto. Parker 94. The 2005 Masseto comes across as fresh, vibrant and beautifully delineated. It is a mid-weight wine that will most likely age along the lines of some of the more slender years from the 1980s. Today the 2005 impresses for its length and sheer energy. In this tasting the 2005 comes across as a bit out of place in a flight of wines from ‘challenging’ vintages. The 2005 is a striking Masseto.
A dessert plate consisting of nutella fritters (amazing), pana cotta, hazelnut gelato and a creme puff thing (upper right).
Overall, this was a fabulous evening. Terroni’s new space is as good looking as any restaurant space in town and the service was top notch. Plus our bevy of top Italians were utter knock outs. The food is still a bit of a work in progress. I’d call it better than 80% of LA Italians, and the menu is large and excellent, but execution needs a bit more tune up to rival the very best.