|via Sotto Enoteca|
I appreciate any restaurant that embraces the intimate feel of a quiet, back alley, European bistro. Such is the case with Sotto Enoteca, technically a wine bar sharing a kitchen with Trattoria Delia. Sotto Enoteca feels like the sort of place in Palermo you'd only hear about through word of mouth but once you get there, you realize everyone else is in on the secret, too. Tables are scarce but service is friendly and sincere.
The food's nice, too. We started with a salad, then pork belly with Vermont-grown rice. For the entree, we split a mussels pasta dish followed by an enormous and delicious tiramisu for dessert. Obviously the wine list is impressive.
It was date night for us, something I'm hoping we'll do more often. As our daughter gets older and more independent, I would like to invest some time in enjoying each other as a couple. As I told my wife recently, I don't want to be the couple who waits until the kids are gone to get to know each other again. I don't think we are that couple but I want to enjoy not being that couple now. After dinner, we made a stop at the bookstore for a leisurely browse, then home.
Squid on the Vine
Paul Nicolle, Chablis Vieilles Vignes Chardonnay, 2017
My rating: 8.0
A touch of bitter
Our most recent wine class was about Chablis. The shop, Dedalus in Burlington, was quite generous in the bottles they shared for the class, allowing us samples from vintages way out of our usual price range. It was nice to be able to witness the differences though, at least for me, it wouldn't be enough to justify the cost. Mind you, still fun to try them. The Paul Nicolle was a Dedalus Thirst Club wine for us.
Château Jouclary, Cuvee Tradition Cabardès Red Blend, 2017
My rating: 8.5
Starts fruity, finishes bitter.
Our second Thirst Club wine for the month, a highly promising red.
La Spinetta, Il Rosé di Casanova Rosé Blend
My rating: 8.5
Dark yellow, almost amber
"You know it's a rosé, right?" My wife asked after I ordered it. She knows I don't generally care for rosés. They feel like an unreasonable compromise for me. I guess I didn't realize it. I just liked the description in the Sotto Enoteca menu. I'd decided that I wanted to try one white and one red on the evening. Rosé was not what I had in mind and, in truth, it wasn't especially pink. Nice - bright, refreshing but with some dimension. The menu suggested the watermelon hints. I didn't pick it up until I thought of bubblegum - odd but pleasant.
Graci, Etna Rosso Nerello Macalese, 2017
My rating: 8.0
Recommended with the mussels
Smells sweeter than it tastes.
My red for the evening. I had some buyer's remorse with this one. It was okay but nothing earth-shattering. Earlier, I'd had my eye on a different red - one described as "immense" which seemed a promising adjective - but I went with our waiter's recommendation. He was right. It did go nicely with the mussels. I still wish I'd stuck with my original plan.