Vintage Enoteca: Hollywood's Newest Wine Bar a Welcome Addition to the Neighborhood
Sometimes, as the saying goes, everything old is new again. In Los Angeles, where our buildings, and, in turn, memories, are turned over with a sometimes alarming frequency, something new can spring up somewhere old, and, with luck, get it right.
Vintage Enoteca is breathing life into a space that sat beloved, but dormant, for a long time on a Hollywood block that is still holding hands with the rock-n-roll energy of days gone by. A casually classy wine bar, Vintage Enoteca is the result of the hard work and pairing of co-owners Danielle Francois and Jennifer Moore, who uprooted their East Coast lives and journeyed West to open their first restaurant.
The result is a welcoming eatery where wine enthusiasts can sit comfortably alongside the wine-curious, sipping from Francois and Moore's thoughtful selections, and nibbling on savory small plates and bites.
At a recent by-invitation dinner, the best and the brightest of Vintage Enoteca's menu was offered up for tasting. The Italian-inspired menu was created by Chef Paul Dozois, who has trained in the kitchens of well-known culinary superstars such as Tom Colicchio, Wolfgang Puck, and Jose Andres, as well as in restaurants all over the world. New York-based Sommelier Sarah Sutel consulted on the wine list, which features standout selections from Italy, France, Spain, Austria, and Washington--though the favorites of the evening hail from our very own California.
The menu is prime territory for sharing, and the warmly-lit, high-ceiling space ideal for a table of friends or a romantic date. Get your hands on the hands-on items like their Bruscettas, particularly the earthy White Bean or the lovely Goat Cheese with caramelized onions and crispy, salty prosciutto. Pair these bites with what I have since dubbed the official white wine of Summer 2010: Sauvignon Blanc: Walter Hansel, Russian River Valley, California, 2009. It is a wine that will make you sit up and take notice of its cheery flavor notes. A sip is like the sensation of taking a bite of perfectly ripe peach while sitting atop freshly mowed grass while the power lines hum with the heat of summer nearby.
Other tantalizing bites include the speck-wrapped Medjool dates stuffed with grana padano, and the flatbreads, particularly the mushroom with Fontina and thyme, and the surprising cauliflower (yes, cauliflower!) with Bechamel and prosciutto. There are also a number of panini, and salads, good to split or have for yourself with a glass of wine. For the flatbreads, the Pinot Noir: Sean Minor, Carneros, Napa Valley, California, 2008 poured was perfect.
Filing myself somewhere between wine-savvy and a blank slate, the pairings provided introduced me to new bottlers, and proved how great wine can bring out the best in food, and vice versa. To do so without posturing or pretense is no small feat, and the laid-back charm of Vintage is the ideal workspace for such an endeavor. As the energy of lively conversation over shared plates and pours fills the room, it is re-affirming to know that while you can't go back in time, you can infuse a place with fresh life and create a new future. That is the beauty of Vintage, where this is happening with each bottle uncorked and toast made to good food and good times.