Above: Our very first staff wine training at Sotto in Los Angeles when the restaurant opened more than two years ago.
What a thrill for me and Tracie P to learn that S. Irene Virbila has named the wine program at Sotto, where I co-curate the list, one of the “best” in Los Angeles!
It means even more to me because I grew up in Southern California and went to U.C.L.A. for both undergrad and grad: like it was yesterday, I remember my first starry-eyed meals at Valentino and Spago, two restaurants also named in this shortlist of top wine programs in Los Angeles. And now my name is up there with theirs! Wow…
From day one, my co-curator and bromance Rory Harrington and I have taken a very radical approach to the list at Sotto and we’ve never strayed from that course. We have always featured food-friendly wines that truly reflect the grapes with which they are made, the place where those grapes are grown, and the people who grow them.
But like a tree that falls in the forest when no one is there to hear it thump, our wine list wouldn’t have any meaning if guests didn’t enjoy our selections. More than two years into this project, I never stop being thrilled by watching someone taste an old Taurasi, Gaglioppo, or Gioia del Colle Primitivo for the first time. Of all the rewards that this experience has delivered, this has been the greatest by far.
I’m currently on paternity leave from my monthly visits to the restaurant. But I’ll be back again in September and we already have some interesting wine events lined up for the fall.
Thanks SO much to everyone for supporting me and the restaurant in this adventure. And thanks from the heart to Ms. Virbila for taking the time to enjoy the wines that we love so much…