Menu Announced for Barbaresco Dinner with Aldo Vacca

barbaresco-sign-web-courtesy-of-produttori

Dinner with Aldo Vacca
Thursday, March 24, 7pm

Call to reserve (510) 547-5356

Elusive, feminine Barbaresco is meant to be savored with food, and in the case of our upcoming dinner with friend and mentor Aldo Vacca of Produttori del Barbaresco, the food will be as eloquent, and as outrageously good, as the wine.

While we compare two Barbaresco vineyards over the course of four vintages, chef Jonah will be treating us to food from the region – of which the cotechino is eagerly anticipated. A new addition to chef Jonah’s repertoire, it will be similar to the one he created for our recent Whole Hog Dinners, in which the muscles were removed from a pig’s shank, stuffed back into its skin, and braised in wine.

Menu

Warm salad of roasted vegetables with bagna cauda classica
Vitello tonnato classic Northern Italian cold veal with tuna sauce
Tajarin with pigeon ragù
Cotechino al Barolo with de Puy lentils and salsa verde
Crema di latticello with poached rhubarb, elderflower granita, juniper-rhubarb reduction and meringue crumb

Wine

1982 Asili
2001 Asili vs Ovello
2004 Asili vs Ovello
2009 Asili vs Ovello

 

This intimate four-course prix-fixe dinner will take place in the Siena room.

150/person
not including tax and service charge
March 24th, 7p
Call to Reserve
2017-09-12T15:46:39+00:00 March 17th, 2016|Coming up..., Italy, Piedmont, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Winemaker Dinner with Aldo Vacca

 

Photo courtesy of Produttori del Barbaresco.

Photo courtesy of Produttori del Barbaresco.

March 24, 2016 at 7pm
Call to Reserve (510) 547-5356

We’re endlessly fond of our longtime friend Aldo Vacca, a gentle, highly intelligent soul whose light hand, as the director of world-renowned Produttori del Barbaresco, persuades the Nebbiolo grape to express what seems inexpressible – the essence of a place.

His skill has made his wine cooperative world-renowned, and he’s done much to shape our own cellar and ideas about wine.

Our list of single-vineyard Barbarescos from the Produttori is extensive, going back to 1979. Made without care to trends, focused exclusively on place, they are elusive, delicate, untamed, and made to age, which they do in surprising ways. We sent Aldo the full list and he’s selected seven for our comparison – four different vintages that represent two very different vineyards in the area.

2009 Asili vs Ovello
2004 Asili vs Ovello
2001 Asili vs Ovello
1982 Asili

It will be a fascinating evening with a master craftsman. Aldo is an inspiring teacher of terroir – in fact we made a video in tribute to what he’s taught us. The four-course prix-fixe dinner will be intimate, taking place in the Siena room. Be sure to call, instead of making an online reservation, to be certain of booking.

150/person
not including tax and service charge
March 24th, 2016 at 7pm

Call to Reserve!
(510) 547-5356

Think Big — Go Ahead.

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There are only two days left of Randall Grahm’s (Bonny Doon Vineyard) crowdfunding campaign for his new, incredible, vineyard Popelouchum. Several great perks remain, including the unique opportunity to sit at the table and dine with Randall and New York Times food writer Mark Bittman as they discuss Randall’s most audacious plan yet – to create a true California terroir-driven wine.

It will surely be an amazing meeting of the minds. Over the years, we’ve never missed an opportunity to hear Randall’s intellectually rigorous flights of fancy. We’re equally eager to spend time with our newer friend, the immensely insightful and knowledgeable journalist Mark Bittman. And we’re thrilled to host an intimate dinner with both of them at Oliveto.

Popelouchum is a vineyard in San Juan Bautista that’s trying to take California terroir-driven winemaking into its next phase. To listen to Grahm speak about it- or write about it,  as he does, prodigiously, on his blog – the undertaking is immense, with wide-ranging considerations that are at once terrestrial and poetic.

With Popelouchum, he hopes to breed new grape varieties by planting them by seed (as opposed to cloning). The goals of his breeding plan are many. We’ve teased out a few for you:

  • To discover new grape varieties that reveal the unique characteristics of his land. Instead of mimicking Burgundy in its traditions and its grapes, Grahm hopes to discover a uniquely Californian wine – just as haunting as the Burgundies, and with its own character, nuances, and enchantments.
  • To discover new varieties that are “less needful of heroic levels of intervention”, and that require less water. (Such grapes could have “greater utility in a warmer, drier world”.)

To be privy to Grahm’s dreams makes one’s head swim in the most pleasant way. And to be able to help in making the dreams a reality, will make such swimming an even greater delight.

We think Popelouchum is a profoundly worthwhile endeavor, and we hope many will get into it. In support, we are also offering a free pizza downstairs in the Cafe if you bring us a receipt of your contribution of $25 or more to Randall’s extraordinary project.

To take part, read more here.

2017-09-12T15:46:53+00:00 August 20th, 2015|California, Coming up...|0 Comments

Randall Grahm’s Visionary Project

RandallGrahm1

Grahm planting some of the first grapes at Popelouchum.

 

Visit Randall Grahm’s Restaurant Row and make something happen.

Our friend Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard has launched a project, a “life’s work” kind of project, to create an original vineyard that in every way mines the attributes of place.

Hearing a winemaker speak of terroir has become meaningless. But that doesn’t mean that terroir is without meaning.  Randall’s search for terroir is brilliant, far-reaching, and though hard to imagine, makes you want to imagine.  The vineyard is being built at his new property in San Juan Bautista, and is called Popelouchum.

Read about it here, and consider supporting it.  It is so rare to have the opportunity to support something actually original. There are perks involved.  Note Randall’s very fine Restaurant Row.

 

Restaurant_Row_Grid 8.3.15 FOUR ONLY (1)

 

2017-09-12T15:46:53+00:00 August 5th, 2015|California, Coming up..., Events|0 Comments

A Tasting with Alto Piemonte’s Brilliant Young Winemaker Cristiano Garella

We are great admirers of young winemaker Cristiano Garella. Considered a “whiz kid” by Wine Spectator, he quickly made his mark with outrageously good wines in the emerging region of Northern Piedmont. At the age of 23, he was made the winemaker of Tenute Sella, the most prominent winery in the region at that time, and manager of the whole estate a year later. Now 30, he is a consulting winemaker for a number of small producers in Northern Piedmont, and one in the Oltrepò Pavese.

“Cristiano is my kind of enologist,” says wine importer Oliver McCrum, “very technologically savvy but committed to making wines that express terroir through largely traditional techniques. He’s an amazing taster, too.”

This area is considered up-and-coming, but actually the area was producing Nebbiolo far before Barolo and Barbaresco became fashionable — in fact it is the original home of Nebbiolo, and these new wines are a reconnection to the area’s past and its long-held traditions, which are capable of producing beautiful, age-worthy reds with character.

We will be tasting four wines based on the delicate and complex Nebbiolo grape, coming from three different growing areas in Northern Piedmont — Bramaterra, Fara, and Lessona, all with varying soil types and terrain. These wines come from small, young wineries for which Garella consults: Le Pianelle, Boniperti, and La Prevostura. Garella makes wine organically, favoring a low-intervention approach with natural yeasts.

After the tasting, our menu upstairs will feature Garella’s wines by the glass and Piedmontese dishes, and Garella will be present to discuss his wines.
August 16th, 5:30 pm to 6:15 pm

$40.

 

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2017-09-12T15:46:54+00:00 July 30th, 2015|Commons Past Events, Events, Happened already..., Italy, Piedmont, Wine Events|Comments Off on A Tasting with Alto Piemonte’s Brilliant Young Winemaker Cristiano Garella

Visitors from Sicily

CiroandStef

Monday, June 15th

We’re huge fans of Ciro and Stef Biondi. They are smart, generous, and full of life. Their wines are too. While their vineyards have been producing wine for centuries on Mt. Etna, Ciro hit the restart button less than two decades ago, trying to make a great wine, taking full advantage of the extraordinary gifts of Mt. Etna — its young volcanic soil, its altitude high above the sea, and warm days.

We’re pleased to introduce you to them. Ciro and Stef will be in the Oliveto dining room, pouring their wines (some older vintages too) this coming Monday, and Chef Jonah will be offering some appropriate dishes to go with these wines:

  • Fritto of house made ricotta-stuffed squash blossoms
  • Crudo of swordfish with oregano, currants, pine nuts, and lemon
  • Rigatoni alla trapanese
  • Spaghetti with fresh anchovies, saffron, pine nuts, and raisins
  • Charcoal-grilled pork porterhouse with eggplant, artichoke, and salmoriglio

There are also a few places still available in the 6:15 to 7 PM tasting that Ciro will offering in our private dining room.

  • 2014 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Bianco
  • 2013 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Rosso
  • 2011 ‘Cisterna Fuori’
  • 2008 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Rosso
  • 2007 Biondi ‘Monte Ilice’ Etna Rosso

The tasting is $40. Register here.
After the tasting, stay for dinner.

Wine Tasting with Ciro Biondi

Mount-Etna

 

On the ferry to Sicily from Naples, you can see the city of Catania and its surrounding villages, above which the active volcano, Mt. Etna, looms. Here lives Ciro Biondi, who tends centuries-old vines on his family plot.

His vineyards are a simple, beautiful place on the eastern slope, where cool evenings and warm days make for a wine that far exceeds the standards of the island. Its soil is of young volcanic ash, crumbly and crystalline, and its eastern aspect allows the morning dew to dry from the grapes when the sun rises. His wines are spectacular. Over the last five years, Etna has emerged as one of the most important wine regions, and Ciro is one of its biggest players.

We love Ciro personally as well. He’s warm and passionate, both in winemaking and in life. We’re happy to have him for a tasting of his wines, and we’ll be having Sicilian dishes on the dinner menu that evening in his honor.

The wine tasting will consist of:

2014 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Bianco
2013 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Rosso
2011 ‘Cisterna Fuori’ Etna Rosso
2008 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Rosso
2007 Biondi ‘Monte Ilice’ Etna Rosso

$40 per person
Monday, June 15, 2015 from 6:15 PM to 7:00 PM
Oliveto Restaurant & Café
Oakland, CA

 

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2017-09-12T15:46:56+00:00 May 22nd, 2015|Commons Past Events, Wine Events|0 Comments

Wine Offerings for Provençal Dinners, May 19th and 20th

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Our good fortune is your good fortune.

Our most recently acquired stash of French wines from the 80’s and 90’s has revealed a number of delights, and we’re eager to share them with you at our upcoming Provençal Dinners on May 19th and 20th.

We have a handful of wines to offer:

1979 Domaine Tempier, Bandol Rouge Cuvée, Mourvèdre, “Speciale La Migoua”
*1987 Domaine Tempier, Bandol Rouge Cuvée, Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre, “Speciale La Louffe”
1988 Domaine Tempier, Bandol Rouge Cuvée, Mourvèdre, “Cabassaou”
1989 Domaine Tempier, Bandol Rouge Cuvée, Cinsault-Grenache-Mourvèdre, “La Tourtine”
*1989 Domaine Tempier, Bandol Rouge Cuvée, Mourvèdre, “Cabassaou”

All bottles are priced at $100, and those labeled with asterisks above are available by the glass ($20) and half glass ($10) as well. It should be an interesting event, as all of these have held up quite well over time, though there may be some uncustomary variation from bottle to bottle.

We hope to share these with you Tuesday and Wednesday for our prix-fixe menu from the classic Richard Olney cookbook, Lulu’s Provencal TableVisit our website for details on this simple, delicious late spring menu.

Opening Our Treasure Trove of Bandols

tasting-bandols

 

For many a bébé boomer, Provence’s Domaine Tempier, and Lulu and Lucien Peyraud, opened a door to what food should be: full-flavored, true, beautiful, not fussy, seasonal, and full of life.

We were shown a way. Preparing for next week’s dinners and the release of our little treasure trove of old Tempier red Bandols, we’ve been going through a tasting of bottles from select vintages. It’s been an honor and an adventure.

We’ve tasted many extraordinary bottles and a few “interesting” ones-the lesser ones having aged, alas, for too long, or some in which Brett yeast cells have run amok. Unfortunately, there’s little accurate information on what to expect as each vintage ages-even from the experts at Kermit Lynch. We’re rather enjoying performing the task of looking into each to determine the effects of time. (We must keep in mind that bottles might even vary within each vintage, creating yet another problem in making them available to you.) But we know we will be offering many spectacular aged Tempier Bandols at good prices, along with some merely good ones. Yesterday, we opened a ’79 and last rites were performed; then, an ’87, and it blew us away, and today it is still very much alive, with interesting character.

Here’s what we are working with.

1979 Mourvédre, “Speciale La Miguoa,” Domaine Tempier, Bandol Cuvée
1981 Mourvédre, “Speciale La Miguoa,” Domaine Tempier, Bandol Cuvée
1982 Bandol Cuvée Speciale, Domaine Tempier
1982 Cinsaut-Grenache-Mourvédre, “La Tourtine,” Domaine Tempier, Bandol Rouge Cuvée
1985 Mourvédre, “Speciale La Miguoa,” Domaine Tempier, Bandol Cuvée
1985 Cinsaut-Grenache-Mourvédre, “La Tourtine,” Domaine Tempier, Bandol Rouge Cuvée
1987 Mourvédre, “Cabassaou,” Domaine Tempier, Bandol Rouge Cuvée
1988 Grenache-Syrah-Mouvédre, “Speciale La Louffe,” Domaine Tempier, Bandol Cuvée
1988 Mourvédre, “Cabassaou,” Domaine Tempier, Bandol Rouge Cuvée
1989 Mourvédre, “Speciale La Miguoa,” Domaine Tempier, Bandol Cuvée
1989 Cinsaut-Grenache-Mourvédre, “La Tourtine,” Domaine Tempier, Bandol Rouge Cuvée
1989 Mourvédre, “Cabassaou,” Domaine Tempier, Bandol Rouge Cuvée
1999 Mourvédre, “Cabassaou,” Domaine Tempier, Bandol Rouge Cuvée

 

View our special Provençal menus for May 19th and 20th here.

 

Newly Acquired French Wines Welcomed with Provençal Dinners, May 19 and 20

domaine-tempier

We just took delivery on part of a large, beautifully chosen cellar (17 cases) of vintage French wines including some great Bordeaux (Pomerol 1982 and Saint-Emillion 1982); Rhônes, vintages 1978-88; a few older bottles from Burgundy; and, in largest part, Bandols from Domaine Tempier, 1979-90.

 

We’ll start offering the wines on May 18, and will celebrate with two evenings of Provençal dinners May 19 and 20. Inspired by Richard Olney’s paean to Lulu and Lucien Peyraud and Domaine Tempier, Lulu’s Provençal Table: The Exuberant Food and Wine from the Domaine Tempier Vineyard, this classic late spring menu Chef Jonah Rhodehamel selected is comprised of:

 

Apèritif: Melon Cubes Wrapped with Raw Ham,
Bouchées de Melon au Jambon Cru
Black Olives, Olives Noires
Buttered Sardine Crusts, Sardines Crues, Croûtons Beurrées

 

Sautéed Squid with Parsley and Garlic, Suppions à la Persillade

Leg of Lamb on a Bed of Thyme, Gigot sur Lit de Thym
Sautéed Artichokes and Potatoes, Artichauts Sautés aux Rattes

 

Dandelion Salad with Garlic Croutons, Salade de Pissenlit aux Chapons

 

Goat Cheeses, Fromages de Chèvre Frais

 

Cherries, Cerises

 

Prix fixe 70.
(Does not include beverages, service charge, or cheese course)
Jonah’s resumé includes four years at La Folie, which culminated in a position as Sous Chef; the Provence dinners will give him a chance to practice some old chops, figuratively speaking, that is. A selection of our vintage French wine will be available by the glass. Reserve online, or call 510-547-5356.