The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2013

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Page 54 of 148

WINE LIST STARS Recipe for Success LAYER CAKE PRIMITIVO FILLS THE BILL AT LA VECCHIA CUCINA story and photos by David Gadd W Versatility! Layer Cake Primitivo complements all kinds of food, including the tempting salumi plate from La Vecchia. ideal restaurant wine. hen brothers Anthony and Mark "The area around the Adriatic coastline Mollica took over La Vecchia has seen trading for thousands of years," Cucina in the Los Angeles beach notes Biggar, "and the vineyards have a long, town of Santa Monica in 2006, they breathed complex history. The Primitivo from Puglia, new life into this longtime local favorite. A which some experts have identiied as celebrity clientele still frequents the stylish identical to California's Zinfandel, will taste but casual trattoria, just a volleyball's toss different because it's Italian. I like to say the from the beach, for Chef Mark's sapid Italian places have different sun." cuisine, executed with world-class Cordon Layer Cake also offers a bold Shiraz from Bleu training but heavily inluenced by the Mollicas' Sicilian heritage. In the dining room, General Manager Anthony welcomes guests like family, which also explains La Vecchia's high volume of regulars. The restaurant's thoughtful wine list, which ranges from Sonoma Chards and Willamette Pinot Noirs to heavy-hitter Barolos and Brunellos, includes one wine that the Mollicas and their customers have developed a particular affection for: Layer Cake Primitivo from Italy's Puglia region. "We brought in the Layer Cake Primitivo in 2008," recalls Anthony, who serves as the restaurant's de facto wine director. "We were impressed because [Layer Cake creator] Jayson Woodbridge was making Hundred Acre, which is a very expensive and exclusive wine. We wanted to bring in David Biggar (standing), President of Vintage Point, a label that would be affordable and toasts GM Anthony Mollica and Chef Mark Mollica at over-deliver for our customers—that's La Vecchia Cucina in Santa Monica, CA. what La Vecchia is all about. The South Australia, an elegant Malbec from Primitivo being the Italian label from Layer Argentina and an intense Garnacha from Cake, it its right in here at La Vecchia." Spain's Calatayud region, as well as concenDavid Biggar, President of Vintage Point, trated Cabernet Sauvignon, aromatic Pinot which markets the brand, notes that the Noir and crisp Chardonnay from California. concept behind Layer Cake is to source All of them are styled, and priced, to be grapes from the best appellations worldwide repeat drinkers. and deliver distinctive varietal wines at As a restaurant wine, the instantly accesa price point that make sense in today's sible Layer Cake Primitivo has deinitely market. The name refers not only to complex found a permanent home at La Vecchia. For layers of vineyard soil but also to the many layers of lavor that result in the wines. Layer the Mollica brothers, the formula is simplicity itself: "Food that over-delivers, wines that Cake Primitivo expresses the inky, jammy over-deliver. That's what's keeps us thriving, lavors of this appealing variety in a wine even in this economy." that's versatile with all sorts of foods—the 54 / the tasting panel / may 2013

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