Wine tasting comes together best when combined with a wine pairing dinner. I find West Hollywood restaurant Tesse creates food pairings that bring out the finest quality in wines. Owner Jordan Ogron enables one to travel the world in a three or four-course dining experience.
West Hollywood Restaurant Tesse
Tesse is a French restaurant inspired by the cuisine of Chef Raphael Francois. The restaurant has an extensive wine program organized by Jordan Ogron. Boutellier, a wine store that features Jordan’s wine selections, is attached to the restaurant. The wine pairing dinner becomes an integral part of the restaurant’s wine program, bringing exclusivity for restaurant patrons and wine collectors.
The restaurant’s name comes from the French word delicatesse, which means delicacy or thoughtfulness. After dining, one understands that much thought goes into the food and wine pairings.
Over the years, I have attended several meals pairing Spanish wine with Tesse’s cuisine. From La Rioja Alta, Vega Sicilia, to Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine, I explored the different wine regions of Spain.
PoderNuovo A Palazzonne Estate in South-East. Tuscany
Recently I ventured to a lesser-known area of southern Tuscany. The wines, PoderNuovo A Palazzonne project are the mastermind of Giovanni Bulgari, a member of the well-known Italian jewelry family. In addition to showcasing the wine, Francesco Poggi, PoderNuovo’s export manager, shared Bulgari’s philosophy behind the wines. The goal is to produce red wines that combine old-world winemaking with modern-day techniques that both respect the terroir and reduce its carbon footprint.
The winery is located in San Casciano des Bagni, which lies in the southeast portion of Tuscany. The estate consists of 50 hectares, of which 30 have been planted in vine since 2009. The rolling hills of the estate lend themselves to growing Sangiovese. In addition, other varieties grow in those hills, including Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, and Merlot.
Completed in 2012, the winery and designed to respect the surrounding environment. Geothermal and photovoltaic heating acts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
From Gems to Wine
Sotirio Bulgari was born into a family of silversmiths in 1857 in the foothills of Mount Pindus in northern Greece. Moving to Italy in 1884, it was his vision to open the first Bulgari store in the center of Rome. Shortly after, he opened the second store, where he started to create the jewels that made Bulgari famous. That same attention to detail and excellence in quality and aesthetics are continued four generations later by Giovanni Bulgari, only with a different type of jewel known as wine.
Giovanni was born and raised in Rome and worked in Bulgari’s gemological division. Giovanni spent a reasonable amount of time during his childhood at the family estate in Umbria. During that time, he developed his love of nature, agriculture, and wine, which ingratiated him with longing and passion to return to the countryside. PoderNuovo A Palazzonne represents that homecoming.
The PoderNuovo Label
The design on the label represents a vineyard. The yellow background signifies the white grape, and the red depiction of the vineyard implies vineyards of red grapes.
Wine Pairings – Nicoleo
The first wine we sampled was the Nicoleo. This wine is named after Giovanni’s two sons, Nico and Leone. This white wine combines Grechetto and Chardonnay. Twenty percent of the wine ages in oak for six months. The rest ages in Stainless steel. I found aromas of white flowers and honey. The wine exhibited a creamy, buttery sensation on the palate with flavors of lemon and lemon curd, minerality, and viscosity.
The Nicoleo paired with Italian Spreads Antipasti, which included Tonato, Tapenade, and garlic hummus with Rosemary focaccia.
Wine Pairings – Therra
Therra is an IGT wine that combines Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Montepulciano. Therra means soul, and it represents PoderNuovo’s everyday wine. This vintage reflects a wine that comes across as very savory. Considered PoderNuovo’s super Tuscan wine, Therra contains more than 50% Sangiovese; in this case, I found a very savory wine.
The food pairing consisted of a Beef Carpaccio “D Manzo” with aged parmesan, green peppercorn, and persillade and seemed ideal for a young wine.
Wine Pairings – Argirio
2016 Cabernet Franc Argirio: Its name is Arigiro, which represents the type of clay soil. This wine exhibited herbaceous qualities on the nose delivering dark fruit and a spicy finish on the palate. The soils in this area are known for their blue attributes.
2011 Cabernet Franc Argirio: This wine also delivered the herbaceous nose but came across as a more integrated wine.
The Cabernet Franc paired with Oxtail Agnolotti with Spinach, ricotta, Romano, and roasted mushrooms. In my case, it was gluten-free pasta with a lamb reduction and green herbs. I don’t eat a lot of pasta, but the flavors of my pasta were so inviting I could have made an entire pasta meal.
Wine Pairings – Sotirio
2014 Sangiovese Sotirio.: This wine is named after the person who started it all for the Bulgari family, Sotirio Bulgari. Soltirio’s vision brought the family to Rome to begin their famous jewelry company.
The wine displays an elegance like Sotirio’s jewelry. It makes a strong impression yet has delicate qualities. The wine’s silky tannins open to a long balsamic and spicy finish.
This course pairs with the gamey qualities of Osso Bucco.
The Close of the Wine Pairing Dinner
Although the dessert pairing did not represent PoderNuovo, a Truffle Tiramisu was paired with Passito Fattoria Zervina Arrocco from Emilia-Romagna, a dessert wine from another region of Italy.
West Hollywood Restaurant Tesse does a brilliant job of creating a wine pairing dinner you will not forget, letting you tour the world of wine in one sitting.
Note: Common to the wine industry, this writer received a hosted wine pairing dinner at West Hollywood Restaurant Tesse. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.