Tuesday, July 15, 2008

When in Palo Alto - Cafe Rosso and Bianco

Once again I traveled to downtown Palo Alto for dinner and was happy to discover Cafe Rosso And Bianco, a great restaurant featuring Italian food and the wines from the Coppola winery. For dinner I selected the Rigatoni al Forno. Figuring out the accompanying wine was difficult so I was happy to see that they not only sold wine by the bottle and glass, but have a hand-crafted Enomatic wine system allowing you to select wines for a taste, a half-glass, or a full glass, so I created my own little tasting.

First up was the 2004 Francesco Rinaldi Barbaresco, a delicious clear ruby-red wine with nice legs. Complex bouquet of blackberry and a touch of plum, smooth silky tannins and nice fruit with a long finish made the drinking experience a delight.

Next I had the 2001 Bussia Soprana Barolo. Mmmmmm. A beautiful ruby-red hue with garnet undertones, a rich complex perfume of licorice and cherry jam, this wine delivered a rich, full-bodied mouthfeel and delivered plums and red fruits on the tongue with prominent but not overpowering tannins and nice acidity.

It is interesting to taste these two wines considering that they are both made from the same grape, the Nebbiolo. For Italians, Barbaresco is known as the "Queen of wines" while Barolo is the "King of wines". Generally the Barbaresco is a little leaner, less alcohol and lower tannins than does the Barolo.

Finally I tried the best of the bunch for me, a 2004 Rubicon Estate Rutherford "Rubicon". By the end of my first taste I was doing my best impression of Homer Simpson as a drooling, slobbering hedonist. Rubicon is a Cabernet/Cab Franc/Petit Verdo/Merlot blend. The color is deep, almost black, bleeding out to a deep ruby. The nose is complex (I picked up blackberry, a little bit of black olive and some dark chocolate). The wine delivered deep fruit, dry but not too dry, nice round tannins with agood full mouthfeel and a deep, long finish. If you can afford it, I suggest you try it.

The excellent Rigatoni and the three delicious wines coupled with the alfresco dining made this squat little man happy (though missing Mr. Beau).

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