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Racing man

Part 3 of a 2005 California travelogue

by Thor Iverson

13 November 2005 – Los Gatos, California

Manresa – Rob & Ilene Adler have joined us for dinner at this highly-reputed restaurant, which is tucked away in the impossibly cute hamlet of Los Gatos. Inside it’s highly-designed, but in a way that surrounds the diner with comfort rather than the oppression of capital-A Architecture...which is helped by a somewhat muted alternative to the usual restaurant din. Patrons are a mix of suit & tie-wearing business types and casual, jeans and untucked shirt noshers; we’re in the former group, but the flawless service handles both with aplomb.

Any wine list that features an entire page of aged German rieslings is a winner in my book, but the excellence (and well-aged wine on offer, at entirely decent prices) hardly stops there. Despite this rather impressive list, however, we turn to a pair of bottles supplied by Rob. I mean, since he’s brought them all this way…

Prager 1998 Grüner Veltliner Weissenkirchner Achleiten Smaragd (Wachau) – Wet white pepper juice and ripe celery salt; firm with a gelatinous minerality. A very “white” wine (or at least very pale green), and a bit tight overall, but showing good development in the bottle and in the glass.

Ridge 1987 Zinfandel Geyserville (Sonoma County) – 13.7%. Gorgeous and fully resolved, with mixed berries leaning towards the softer side of cherry, smooth earth and dried underbrush. After an hour or so, it starts to fade gently away. Drink it quickly.

The food is precise and restrained, showing off both the extreme quality of the ingredients and a deft hand for original yet comforting interpretations. Nothing is out of place or off-kilter. This is a very nearly perfect restaurant, and that’s not something one gets to experience every day.

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Copyright ©2005 Thor Iverson.