It's a little bit awful to broadcast how good something was, when the reader has already missed the chance to taste it.
So call me awful.
Last night, Scott Evans, owner of Pago, and his sommelier, Evan Lewandowski, hosted the first of their Summer Sommelier series. This one featured the wines from Santa Giustina, a winery in Emilia-Romagna which I'd never heard of. Chef Phelix Gardner created a menu to match the wines.
The amazing Pago crudites, a concept the kitchen is in the process of redefining: Like the carrot trio, this platter features raw vegetables like you've never tasted them before, arranged over buttermilk ricotta with a broken nasturtium vinaigrette. Santa Giustina's barely frizzante Ortruga Vivace, a wine new to me, had the same fresh sparkle as the tiny vegetables.
Served family-style, the grilled octopus, curled in all its purple glory among a nest of fresh peas and smoked fingerling potatoes and livened with a nanking cherry vinaigrette, was absolutely spectacular, without but especially with the 2011 Bonarda.
And the Morgan Valley lamb shoulder ragu with pasta-encased mint leaves and a red wine-jus sauce was one of the best pasta dishes I've ever had. Anywhere.
Here's the down side: We can all return to Pago and while these exact dishes may not always be on the menu, we can experience the creativity of Phelix and his staff.
But because this wine is "special order," meaning the DABC hasn't seen fit to put it on the shelves. With the increasingly big-box buying mentality of the DABC, it may be harder and harder for Utahns to buy unusual, small-production wines.
But I already apologized for making you want something you can't have.