The Wine at Enoteca Sogno

“Compromises are for relationships, not wine.” — Sir Robert Scott Caywood.   If you haven’t heard yet there is this crazy Italian wine and food place that just reopened on the Northside of town.  Quite the upgrade from their old digs on Broad St.  The space is gorgeous, complete with a granite wrap around bar, dark wood tables, a warm tin ceiling and walls adorned with photos of Italy.  The owners Gary and Amy were on the floor tending to every patron’s comfort level, this restaurant is their baby and they are seeing to it’s proper development.  The nights have been pretty packed so far so reservations are encouraged.

The food offerings are wine friendly fare made up mostly of pasta dishes reflecting a tour of Italy’s regional food cultures.  A handful of simple appetizers and salads are meant to share.  The menu is supplemented by  daily specials.

The real reason to hit Enoteca Sogno is the wine list.  Nowhere else in Richmond will you find all Italian selections at ridiculously tiny markups.  The list grows each day as the restaurant gets its feet going.  Right now the reds outnumber the whites significantly but that is sure to change.  Verdicchio from Garofoli is solid, and at $20 you can order a second bottle.  Vietti  is famous for their Roero Arneis and Argiolas produces a zippy, herby Vermentino, perfect to wash down a whole Branzino.  The owners are big fans of the rich and dramatic white wines of Friuli and Alto-Adige so expect to see more bottles represented down the road.   The red wines contain mostly selections from Piedmont and Tuscany and a few from Campania.  Paitin’s “Ca Veja” is possibly the most mouth drying wine on the list and at $34 you can afford to punish yourself.  Azelia is a more modern producer of oak infused Barbera for immediate satisfaction.  Domenico Clerico’s “Trevigne” is sappy and sexy.  Felsina and Isole e Olena are two of my favorite estates in Chianti making structured and bright fruit beauties.

Paulo Bea for $48?  G.D. Vajra Freisa for $58?  04 Cepparello for $70?  This place must be crazy, these wines retail for almost the same amount!2001 G.D. Vajra “Bricco delle Viole” and 1999 Sori Paitin Barbaresco for $85 and 1995 Paitin for $90.  You can drink outstanding, life changing and mature wine for under 100 bucks.  Try finding any of these wines at a wine shop at comparable prices.  Brovia and Bruno Giacosa will make you cry into your glass.A few sparklers were highlighted by “Erbaluce di Caluso” from Orsolani.  Erbaluce is the grape that grows in one spot in Piedmont.  Orsolani is perhaps the only producer of it that you can find in the States.  This 2004 vintage bubbly wine is definitely its own thing, different from Champagne, different from Prosecco.  It is both steely and dewey with a fine creamy mousse.Also not listed was the 2010 Proprieta Sperino Rosa del Rosa rosato.  Made from Nebbiolo and tasting of roses, just in time for summer.

One other great thing about Enoteca Sogno’s new space is their upgrade in stemware.  All Riedel all the time.  The balance and grace of these glasses make wine so much more enjoyable.  They also offer Sori Paitin Barbaresco by the glass for $12.The new space at the end of the night after the rush.The Northside has a real neighborhood gem.  Do yourself a favor, get over to Enoteca Sogno now and drink something different.
Be sure to pet the street cats.

Enoteca Sogno
804.355.VINO (8466)
1223 Bellevue Avenue
Richmond, VA 23227

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