File this under: “Unicorn Wine” (1977 Emidio Pepe @sottoLA)

Emidio Pepe 1977 @sottoLA

Beautiful Bottle, inside and out.

There are many things to love about Sotto in Los Angeles.  The chick pea fritters, the pizza, anything they do with octopus, pork or tomatoes…. and the wine list.  Curated by Jeremy Parzen and Rory Harrington, it contains such southern Italian jewels as this bottle of 1977 Montepulicano d’Abruzzo from legendary producer, Emidio Pepe.  Nobody knows exactly what alchemy the genius minds at Emidio Pepe have used to create such singular and long-lasting expressions of the humble Montepulciano grape, but these wines are stunning.

Fabio and Mario @sottoLA

Fabio Angius and Mario Miranda @SottoLA

I had the honor of tasting this bottle with friends who appreciated its unique and compelling beauty- Mark McDonald, chef and owner of Old Vine Cafe in Costa Mesa, Mario Miranda, a talented young sommelier, and one of Sardegna’s national treasures, Fabio Angius of Pala winery.

Chickpea Fritters @sottoLA

Chick pea fritters at Sotto in Los Angeles.

A few of Mario Miranda’s “official sommelier” notes about this 1977 Montepulciano from Emidio Pepe:

Happy SardoSight:
Garnet core fading to a brown hue to the rim with Moderate Minus color concentration.
There is a slight sediment in the glass but just a normal sign of well aging.

Extremely complex on the nose!
Star of the show are all the dehydrated non-fruit notes of mushroom, thyme,
Rhubarb, orange peel, dried tobacco leaf, and vanilla bean.
Following the amazing mineral of clay and volcanic soil.
Dehydrated red fruit notes of currant, strawberry, cherry, cranberry, and pomegranate.

On the palate the complexity continues with all the fruits and non fruit notes mentioned but adding a strong savory note.
Most importantly the structure of the wine and how well it had aged.
The acid was vibrant (M+), firm tannins (M+), 13.5% Avb (M+), moderate body and a long and lingering finish.
Next vintage please??!!

–Mario Miranda

Tower of Porkbelly @sottoLAPork Belly @SottoLA.  If this is on the menu, order it.  No questions asked.

Without question, this particular bottle of Emidio Pepe’s Montepulicano is one of the best I have tasted.  Another piece of proof that natural, lee-interventive wine making can win out over its more mainstream counterparts, even after the long-haul.  This wine was magical, especially in the presence of such lovely and enthusiastic dining partners.

And the pork belly didn’t hurt, either.

Mark &  Joanie @SottoLAMark McDonald and Joanie, geeking out over Pepe 1977 @SottoLA.