“If it’s on my list, it has to taste Italian,” Eric Lecours, Donato Enoteca (Redwood City)

In my experience, the greatest thing about wine blogging is the sense of community, solidarity, and camaraderie that it creates.

I’ve “known” Eric Lecours, wine director at the excellent Donato Enoteca in Redwood City, since 2007 when he first began commenting on my blog. I write “known” because for the first five years of our friendship, we never met in person, even though we regularly traded notes about wines we liked and wines that piqued our curiosity.

We finally connected and tasted together last night over a superb meal that began with baccalà mantecato (above), creamed salt cod, a dish that spoke to my Venetophilia. It’s so hard to achieve the right balance of saltiness and texture in this dish and chef Donato Scotti, who likes to remind his guests that his hometown Bergamo was once the last outpost of the Most Serene Venetian Republic, nailed it. Utterly delicious…

Calamari and broad bianchi di Spagna beans.

I had tasted this wonderful skin-contact Trebbiano d’Abruzzo by Crognaleto in LA the day before the with the importer. It’s going on to Eric’s list as well as my list at Sotto in LA in the fall.

The spaghetti al nero di seppia topped with bottarga was one of the best things I’ve eaten all year. Japanese guests, Eric said, rave about it and I can see why.

The housemade pasta at Donato is exceptional. The agnolotti are Donato’s signature dish. Note the plin (the pinch) that forms the dimple.

“My number one rule is that if it’s on my list, it has to taste Italian,” said Eric. Words to live by.

The 2004 Roagna Barbaresco Pajé is so gorgeous right now, with red fruit that dances atop eucalyptus and sage, very fresh and bright at this moment in its evolution. A 375ml was an ideal complement for the roast pork loin medallions shared by Zanotto and me.

Dulcis in fundo… I hate to break it to all the hipster mixologists out there: amaro doesn’t belong in a cocktail. It’s meant to cleanse the palate and encourage digestion at the end of a great meal.

Chapeau bas, Eric. Thank you for the thrilling meal and the friendship (no longer virtual).

4 thoughts on ““If it’s on my list, it has to taste Italian,” Eric Lecours, Donato Enoteca (Redwood City)

  1. Jeremy, Thanks for this post. It looks like a great spot, both pastas in particular (I’m not familiar with that baccala dish), although looking at the sample wine list how would anyone be able to pick a wine given the sparse descriptions? Ha Ha — I’d probably start with the Kofererhof and then maybe the Naima. Because I don’t get out to that part of the Bay Area often, it made me think of where I’d go here in Washington, DC to get similar quality and authenticity. We’re not quite up to the level of NYC or the Bay Area, but there are some compelling places. Happy travels and eating!

  2. “I hate to break it to all the hipster mixologists out there: amaro doesn’t belong in a cocktail. It’s meant to cleanse the palate and encourage digestion at the end of a great meal” – I love this…Amaro is the end! I am guessing I will be at Donato within the first 3 days of living in Palo Alto :-)

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