It’s becoming a delicious habit: For the third consecutive trip to Las Vegas, I headed straight to chef Mario Batali’s Enoteca Otto Pizzeria (née Enoteca San Marco) in the Venetian for a bite to eat after checking into my hotel.
This time I was in town for Wine Spectator's 2011 Grand Tour tasting, and I knew that there would be more than 200 tempting wines for me to sample that evening. With a goal to fuel up, I ordered a Margherita pizza and a side of radishes bagna cauda. Bagna cauda translates to "warm bath," referring to the warm olive oil, garlic and anchovies that gave the radishes a wonderful savory element.
I wanted a glass of a refreshing white to complement my food and limber up my palate for the evening, so I picked the Bastianich Sauvignon Venezia-Giulia "B" 2009. It was a good value at $14 for a 250ml pour (a bottle at retail goes for about $17). I enjoyed a 2008 Friulano from the same producer at Otto this past November, and I liked this 2009 Sauvignon Blanc too, though its citrus flavors were a bit lacking in intensity.
That was solved as soon as I paired the wine with the radishes. Suddenly, the herbal and lemony flavors, light body and bright acidity were a good contrast to the oily umami notes from the bagna cauda. I rated the wine 84 points, non-blind. Though I tried many terrific wines later that evening at the Grand Tour, I’m going to remember the simple pleasure of a crisp white with a dish that complements it well. No doubt I will be back at Enoteca Otto the next time I’m in Vegas.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Bastianich Sauvignon Venezia-Giulia "B" 2009 (81, $17).
• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated whites from Italy's Friuli/Venezia-Giulia region.