April 2017 - Please The Palate
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When you think about pinot grigio, you might think of water and lemon. You might think of a wine that does not really express anything. But pinot grigio made well can have real character - aromas of fresh apple, minerality, balance and aging potential. My tasting of the Valter Scarbolo pinot grigios from Friuli, Italy are beautifully expressive wines. As Lara Scarbolo explained, "pinot grigio is the wine of our heart." And that is why it is the Please The Palate "pick of the week." Scarbolo is located in Friuli in the Northwest of Italy, a region is bordered by Austria and Slovenia. Friuli is the door to the Balkans and influenced by the Alps, hills, flats, beach and Adriatic sea. All of these influences contribute to the complexity of the area that consists of sand, clay and stone soils. The winters are cold, with eastern wines from the Balkans and marine breezes from the Adriatic. The Alps, like big shoulders, protect the region from the northern winds. The summers are warm with diurnal shifts that give the grapes good acidity. Being located at the same parallel as Bordeaux, although the area is known for white wines, they also produce red wines.
This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register.
Italy is made up of 20 regions, each of which produce wine. Three of the most well-known regions are Piemonte, Tuscany and Veneto and within these regions are the famous areas of Soave, Barolo and Tuscany.
When I was invited to lunch to meet three winemakers from these regions, I could not think of a better trio of wines to take us through a meal — from the crisp whites of Soave, to the earthy elegant wines of Barolo to the bold fruity wines of Tuscany.
And while these three regions are independent, as are the winemakers who were in town, what they share is a connection to history, a passion for flavor and a story to tell.

After a complete makeover, Viva Hollywood is adding a bit of spice to Hollywood Boulevard.

Located in the original Beso space, Viva Hollywood is large and open. It is bright with white walls and high ceilings. The bar and a lounge area are in the front half of the restaurant and flow through to the dining room. There is a stage at the far end of the restaurant for the nightly live music. Upstairs overlooking the dining room is additional seating as well as a private event area know as the "piñata room." From the dining room floor, you can look up into the private room that is filled with brightly colored piñatas.