By Rick Riozza
Indulging in the final days of Palm Springs Restaurant Week 2013, hopefully we still have a few fun sheckles left in our pockets and room in our tummies to get in a few more meals and wash’em down with a few more glasses of wine. And hasn’t it been great to see more and more eateries matching wine to their courses and meals.
So no time to waste—let’s snoop around town for one more great place to chow down at. We’ve covered the figurative waterfront by reporting on Figue Mediterranean down in La Quinta and Johannes Restaurant up in Palm Springs; so let’s get in the middle of things and take in the “new” favorite haunt of Rancho Mirage.
Pinziminiat TheWestin’s Mission Hills Resort & Spa, Rancho Mirage, provides an encounter of dining in a modern, energetic atmosphere while enjoying a menu featuring a variety of top quality grilled meats, exceptional salads, simple pastas and traditional dishes for a comprehensive Tuscan-style dining experience.
Like the La Scala opera house in Milano, Pinzimini, can appear intimate and yet go on to some grand scale stuff. Restaurant Week began its 16 day run with a two-day“Uncorked” foodie kick-off where those brave restaurants participating would pair premium wines to each of the courses served. The Uncorked $85 meal offered at Pinzimini was something James Bond and one of the Bond girls would be ordering:
Wonderful Italian and California wines, such as Bollini Pinot Grigio Trentino, Alto Adige and Chalone Pinot Noir, Montereywere matched to starter plates that included: Asparagi alla Griglia, Mortadella e Agnello Brochette, or Insalata di Melone. While delicious quaffs of Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre, Mastroberardino Greco di Tufo, and Hahn Estate, “GSM” Red Blend, Central Coastmet up with Entrées such as Manzo alla Griglia, Pasta Vegetariana, or Striped Wild Sea Bass.
A Taylor Fladgate 10yr Tawny Porto was paired with Tiramisu, or, a Pistachio, lemon, & chocolate Gelati & Sorbetti liasoned with a house limoncello.
I spoke with beverage manager Dan Randles about some customers still desiring the “Uncorked” wine pairing dinner—no problem, they would happily accommodate!
But have you caught their $38 Restaurant Week menu? It is truly one of the treats in the desert. Hopefully you caught my column last December when Pinzimi opened. If not, at least you can enjoy now the exquisite cuisine which was served with perfection then and continues at the present.
The Starters include: Cesare Salad, Polpette–pork & beef meatball, tomato jam, or Polpo–thinly sliced Octopus, chicory, kara segments, lemon honey vinaigrette.
While the Entrée choices are: Braciola di Maiale–bone in pork chop, pancetta fingerling potatoes,lemon gemolata, seasonal mostarda or
Bistecca alla Griglia & Polenta Fritti–aged natural rib eye, Barolo mushroom sauce, grilled lemon or Salmon al Forno–grilled salmon,creamy risotto, frisee salad, salsa verde, lemon
Dessert is a choice of Bombolini, Torta Caprese or Torta della Nona—pastry cream, almonds, short dough & Coachella Valley citrus.
The rib eye and the pork chop—both tender, juicy and flavorful, were exquisitely prepared in their respective sauces, bringing out the latent mushroom & forest notes in the red wines (below). The grilled char on both meats simply added to the complexities of the plates. It’s interesting that the beef and pork are especially on the Restaurant Week menu; I can see myself continuing to enjoy these plates every time I come in.
A couple of great red wine favorites to match the meat dishes would be the MasiCampoflorin, $42, and the Frescobaldi Tenuto Castiglione, $62, because they are wonderful and these producers are historically as Italian as they come! The bouquet of the Masi hit us like a Roman candle: Red fruit jam, candied black cherry, spicy notes of cloves, licorice, and balsamic syrup. However, when tasting, it was tight: A wine so full of potential and ready to burst—but holding back. This is why decanting Italian wines are so important. Yes—the wine did come around, smooth with deep cherry fruit, a little raisin—a little cocoa, a very tasty medium-bodied wine.
The Frescobaldi is what they call a “Super Tuscan” where the Italian Sangiovese grape meets up with old-vine French grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. This is a world class wine, a great value, and a great opportunity to enjoy it—difficult to find at any local wineshop.
If you’re ordering the Salmon and wish to have a crisp and refreshing white with wonderful aromas of citrus blossoms and green apples, you’ll want the Michele Chiarlo’sGavi, made from the Cortese grape. And do keep the Gavi chilled: it’ll continue to cleanse the palate no matter what plate you are relishing .
Although Restaurant Week ends this June 16th, so many of our local restaurants, Pinzimini included, will continue to remain open during the summer season. And of course we hold to the Biblical adage “that wine will continue to flow forever.” Amen to that!
Rick is your sommelier-about-town conducting & entertaining at wine events & tastings. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org