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After working a highly enjoyable daytime event for Everlane on the outskirts of Chinatown DTLA I decided to make it a stop into Baco Mercat. I love it when I can go into a restaurant and literally feel happy ordering anything on the menu. Chef Josef Centeno put together something special; I am a sucker for anywhere with an excellent assortment of vegetable dishes. The dishes had a Mexican / Lebanese fusion going on that really proved interesting.

The combinations verged on the haute-stoner, in the vein of Animal, Umamicatessen or Plan Check.  Highlights for me were the “caesar” brussel sprouts, the warm farro w/wild mushroom (which had a delightful risotto consistency), and beef tongue schnitzel (which my companion thought should be more machaca like, instead of soft and unctuous – but I loved it)

The wine list is wine geek friendly with some serious gems – definitely designed harmoniously with the richness of the food. Great Italian selections such in Sancerre, Soave, Ribolla Gialla, Pecorino and Gewurztraminer from Alto Adige. Whomever the beverage director is, they have done an incredible job. Delicious beer selection was also abound.

After starting with an excellent take on a Negroni (White, with frozen watermelon infused Dolin) at nearby Cole’s I wanted to ensure safe driving conditions back to the west side with a nice bottle of wine.

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I spotted a Sylvaner on the list (the online link hasn’t been updated) also from Alto Adige. 10′ was a great year in Northern Italy, but difficult for most of the continent due to the cool wet spring. I recognized the name of Abbazia di Novacella – the Augustinian abbey that surrounds the town of Novacella in the South Tyrol region, dating from 1142. As South Tyrol(Südtirol) is far more Austrian than Italian (2/3rds the population speaking German), the name Stiftskellerei Neustift also graces the bottle.

The winemaker Celestino Lucin was Gambero Rosso’s Winemaker of the Year in 2009, I found a picture of him with the good Dr. Jeremy Parzen on the Mosaic website. Dr. Parzen is everywhere! One of my favorite mentors of Italian wine, and one of the only people I know who can make a joke out of just about anything wine related. His wine list from Sotto recently got some deserved acclaim.

The distributer is Skurnik, and it lists that a small part of the harvest is aged in oak for 6 months but I didn’t get any of this on the exceptionally clean palate. The first thing we noticed was the crisp and chalky mouthfeel followed by bright lemon, thyme, and grapefruit. The finish had a slight effervescence which moderated slightly to reveal a slight grassy and vegetal character. The wine was in the dry / off dry category, with a brief to medium finish, and a slight afternote of sweetness that was truly pleasurable.

I felt like I could start reciting A Midsummer Nights Dream, as the hedges we were sitting next to were filled with ethereal night blooming jasmine. I certainly could be a monk if It involved living in the Alps and drinking this stuff all day.

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