Restaurant: Heroic Deli and Wine Bar [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]
Location: 516 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401. (310) 490-0202
Date: May 17, 2022
Rating: Awesome wines and time
In Spring of 2022 friend Jeffrey, owner of Heroic Italian, hosted a series of old wine dinners. This one is (mostly) old Barolo. These things are immortal and some of my favorite accessible old wines.
To complement Jeffrey prepared an almost ludicrously rich and copious amount of food. Pay careful attention as the plated courses are INDIVIDUAL.
The street view.
We situated ourselves in the back of the main dining room. This was an epic dinner. Not only were the wine’s crazy good — these last forever.
From my cellar: 2015 Azienda Agricola Valentini Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. VM 93+. Good bright yellow. The pure, complex nose suggests lime, yellow apple and botanical herbs. Then very precise, intense and penetrating, if still youthfully unevolved, conveying a powerful, three-dimensional impression of extract and a deep, textured, multilayered mouthfeel. The wine closes very long and juicy, with herbal and saline elements that titillate the taste buds. Another outstanding wine from Valentini, who never misses a beat with his Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. (Drink between 2022-2033)
Jotas Jamon brushetta. Special piggy toasts.
Scallop with Uni and Caviar.
Walker manages the wines.
From my cellar: 1958 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva. Unfortunately flawed. Tasted like old dry sherry. Really really good dry sherry.
The 1958 is on the left next to another wine of similar age. Uh yeah, it’s gone. Had to open a backup 58 (below).
One old Spanish “snuck” in.
Praise Cheezus. Jeffrey concocted this whacky take on fried mozzarella served with spicy sauce, garlic aioli, and pesto.
We demonstrate how cheesy the interior is!
1947 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Riserva. 94 points. Wild strawberries with balsamico was mentioned by one at the dinner, and I completely agree. Also the slightest hint of nail polish. Also leather, rose hip, rose petals and “old” scents like an aged book or an old style library.
1955 Poderi Aldo Conterno Barolo.
Lobster Claw “prequel.” Served before the main lobster event.
My backup: 1958 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Riserva. 96 points. Very light color in the glass, but the wine got better and better with air. Overall it was consistent with my previous experience. Complex nose of dried flowers, caramel, quite a bit of red fruit, tar, and cherries. Good structure with present tannins and fruit notes that picked up weight with air. Long finish. Amazing experience.
Spicy Calabrian Sausage Pasta. This is an awesome dish with great al dente pasta and quite a lot of heat. Sort of a wine killer, but delicious all the same.
Lobster “Thermidor.” Mayhaps there is a “reaction” to this joke.
Farmer’s market asparagus.
1964 Fontanafredda Barolo. 93 points.
1967 Francesco Rinaldi e Figli Barolo. JG 94. 1967 is one of my absolute favorite vintages in the Langhe for current consumption and the ’67 Francesco Rinaldi e Figli Barolo is a stunning example of this very underrated year. The celestial nose offers up a complex and classy mélange of black cherries, licorice, pungent roses, road tar, spit-roasted gamebirds, complex soil tones and a topnote of bonfires. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and absolutely à point, with a great core of pure fruit, melting tannins, bright acids and simply stunning length and grip on the focused and impeccably balanced finish. Just a great bottle of fully mature Barolo at its zenith! (Drink between 2010-2040)
1970 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo.
Heroic’s amazing garlic bread. So good, so carby.
Pan seared foie gras “Estilo Hoffman.” Larry likes his foie.
Herbed Kurobata Pork Roll. aka porchetta.
The porchetta served with smashed potatoes, liver sauce, and creamed spinach (below). The meat was amazingly flavorful with that perfect crispy exterior. The smashed potatoes are very sexy as well.
Old Amaro and Etrusco — cool stuff!
Holy Cannoli. Good cannoli, but the shell needs that bubbly flakey quality from adding the wine to the dough and the ricotta, while good, wasn’t made fresh that morning in a small Sicilian village.
Overall, another amazing meal. So much food and so good. And the old Baroli… Except for my dead solider there were so many good ancient grapes. I really like old baroli as they have this lovely dried fruit quality that just keeps going and going!
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