Corks and Forks

La Bottega is an authentic piece of Italy in downtown Vancouver

La Bottega carries an impressive 300+ wines-all available for retail purchase. Photo courtesy of La Bottega.

La Bottega carries an impressive 300+ wines-all available for retail purchase. Photo courtesy of La Bottega.

Last Tuesday I took advantage of La Bottega’s half price bottle special to linger over a 2010 Carmen Carmenère Gran Reserva from the Colchagau Valley with my husband as he partook of their antipasto platter, as well. The ample portion of Italian cured meats, marinated vegetables, olives, cheeses and crostini would’ve satisfied two but, having had a vegetarian reuben earlier in the Sellwood neighborhood, I left him to nosh on most of the nibbles while I reveled in what is currently my favorite wine varietal.

The tobacco and earthiness of carmenère makes it a perfect food wine that would pair beautifully with La Bottega’s spaghetti marinara with sausage, smoked chicken and bacon sandwich, coriander braised pork shoulder or grilled Oregon lamb T-bones but I thoroughly enjoyed this garnet-colored, medium acid wine all on its own.

Fettucini alla panna-prosciutto, peas and spinach in a pesto cream sauce-would also pair nicely with their 2010 Carmen Carmenère. Photo courtesy of La Bottega.

Fettucini alla panna-prosciutto, peas and spinach in a pesto cream sauce-would also pair nicely with their 2010 Carmen Carmenère. Photo courtesy of La Bottega.

Our decision to stop in at La Bottega when we did proved serendipitous as Andreas Oswald of Noble Wines was conducting a tasting in the back for several servers and co-owner, Peter Dougherty. With a wine menu in excess of 300 bottles—all available for retail purchase—it’s important for staff to keep up on the educational piece of wine and food pairings for their diners.

Andreas was kind enough to bring over a sampling of the 2013 Domaine Drouhin ‘Arthur’ Chardonnay, 2012 Starmont Chardonnay and 2013 Patz & Hall ‘Dutton Ranch’ Chardonnay—all available to consume on site or take away. The French oak and stainless steel aging of the Domaine Drouhin made it delicate, bright and more minerally as opposed to the buttery notes that chardonnay can exhibit but it was the pronounced dairy qualities and rich mouth feel of California’s Patz & Hall that proved the winner for me.

The richness and acidity of a past specialty at La Bottega—pan-seared trout with Italian marinated sundried tomatoes—would marry beautifully with a bottle of 2013 Patz & Hall ‘Dutton Ranch’ Chardonnay. Photo courtesy of La Bottega.

The richness and acidity of a past specialty at La Bottega—pan-seared trout with Italian marinated sundried tomatoes—would marry beautifully with a bottle of 2013 Patz & Hall ‘Dutton Ranch’ Chardonnay. Photo courtesy of La Bottega.

I was excited that Andreas also left us with a 2012 Syncline Mourvèdre sampling. Over 60 percent of these mourvèdre grapes were sourced from the Red Mountain AVA in Yakima giving them the preferred sun time to yield high tannin wines while blending it with Horse Heaven Hills grapes that bring along the intense fruit flavors mourvèdre-lovers seek out. This dance produced a velvety smooth wine with a juicy berry palate and pepper on the finish.

I can’t say enough about the wait staff we encountered— in particular dining room manager Nichole Dougherty. She was gracious and accommodating. I love the atmosphere of La Bottega. It’s an Italian shop-cum-restaurant with specialty, authentic food items that can be purchased to make an inspired meal at home and plenty of cozy tables to enjoy lunch and dinner prepared on site. I could’ve been at any number of pizzicherias I’ve eaten at on past trips to Italy.

Don’t miss half price bottle night every Tuesday from 5-9 pm when bottles $50 and under are half off and those over $50 are marked $25 off and their Wednesday night wine tastings from 5-7 pm. 

La Bottega, 1905 Main St., Vancouver; (360) 571-5012; www.labottegafoods.com.

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Viki

Viki

I am a Clark County native. I am Level 2 WSET (wine and spirit education trust)-certified and enjoy pairing wine with my passion for travel and fondness of food. My most prized possessions are the memories of places I've been with my husband, the chance encounters we've been blessed to have along the way and my carry-on bag. I can often be seen around town and in tasting rooms with our two beautiful, double-Merle Australian shepherds, Challenge and Baby Girl.

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