In 2016, reporting on the Los Angeles edition of the Garagiste Festival, I singled out Rhythm Wines as a “winery to watch”, especially enjoying the 2015 Tannat from the local Alonso Family Vineyard.
Then, I lost track of them.
Then, in early 2017 by my recollection, the manager of the short-lived and greatly missed Maré Restaurant in Silver Lake tasted us on a Rosé made by a local winemaker who was focusing on Los Angeles County grapes. But I didn’t make the connection, until…
Eve received an invitation to attend a winemaker dinner at Crossings restaurant in South Pasadena featuring the wines of Angeleno Wine Company. Eve was busy partying – um, I mean researching – in New Orleans, so her loss was our gain.
Karen and I were delighted to take her place but I was unfamiliar with the winery. A quick internet search followed and I was soon looking at the faces of Jasper Dickson and Amy Luftig Viste from that 2016 Garagiste Festival. With the focus now primarily on the Alonso Vineyard, they are working on opening their winery and tasting room in Downtown Los Angeles.
My plan is to devote a full article to Angeleno in the near future. In the meantime, back to the dinner…
Established in 2013, Crossings occupies the historic [built in 1908] Edwards and Faw building in South Pasadena. With dining rooms on two floors and the wine loft in between them as well as a patio, Crossing is visually stunning. The only question was: would the food match?
We were about to find out.
Hosted by Crossings’ Proprietor Patrick Kirchen, Chef Kevin Malone and Wine Ambassador Chris Sweeney along with Angeleno’s Winemaker Jasper Dickson, the challenge to create perfect pairings was not only met but exceeded. With Angeleno’s focus on LA County’s wine history, Chef Kevin developed a Latin-inspired menu that not only paid homage to the heritage of Los Angeles but also to Juan Alonso’s and his vineyard’s Spanish roots.
The first course, a ceviche with compressed melon and roe, also had habanero powder sprinkled on it. The heat from the habanero was cut by the balanced acidity of the Angeleno 2017 White Field Blend of mostly Spanish varietals from Alonso Family Vineyard.
Next came the monk fish with passion fruit and dwarf banana. This was paired with the 2017 “The Meadow” Rosé. This was the only wine not from LA County grapes, instead it was a blend of Graciano and Garnacha from a vineyard farmed by Markus Bokisch in Lodi. This dish and wine pairing had everybody asking for more. As Winemaker Jasper said: “Rosé all day – in LA!”
Next up, quail with mole, yolk and herb salad. This dish was not only delicious but ingenious as well, with the quail and quail egg in the same dish [raising the chicken and egg question in its own way]. The richness of the mole went perfectly with the 2016 Grenache from the Alonso Family Vineyard.
The final course [before dessert] was pork belly [yum!] with tamarind, jicama and hibiscus. Pork belly, of course, is very rich. The jicama cut through that perfectly. This was naturally paired with the heaviest wine of the evening, an excellent Tempranillo and Garnacha blend called “Bike Path”, also a 2016 from the Alonso Vineyard.
Dessert was a churro with queso Oaxaca, guanabana and honey. Pairing the cheese with the sweet dessert provided great contrast and the dish was all brought together with the 2016 “Superbloom” blend of Albarino, Riesling and Chenin Blanc, for the perfect ending to a fabulous meal.
Crossings does special events frequently. But you don’t have to wait for an event to check out Chef Kevin’s food or the killer wine list that Chris has put together. Check out the Crossings website for details.
And stay tuned for more information on Angeleno Wine Company.
Crossings 1010 Mission St, South Pasadena, CA 91030
Angeleno Wine Company Los Angeles, CA
Michael Perlis has been pursuing his passion for wine for more than 25 years. He has had the good fortune of having numerous mentors to show him the way, as well as a wonderful wife who encourages him and shares his interest. After a couple of decades of learning about wine, attending events, visiting wineries and vineyards, and tasting as much wine as he possibly could, he had the amazing luck to meet Eve Bushman. Now, as Contributing Editor for Eve’s Wine 101, he does his best to bring as much information as possible about wine to Eve’s Wine 101 faithful readers. Michael is also Vice President of Eve Bushman Consulting (fka Eve’s Wine 101 Consulting) http://evebushmanconsulting.com/ and President of MCP Financial. Michael can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.