I had lunch at Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles the other day. It’s one of my favorite things to do, especially if you can grab a seat at the bar. There’s something so very Italian about crowding a bar in the afternoon for a glass of wine and something to eat. Plus, you get a chance to chat with the bartenders. At Mozza this also means you can taste any of the wines by the glass, and learn a little something about them too.
Sean Philbin, my bartender that afternoon, was the genius who suggested a glass of the Punta Crena Lumassina. This wine was lightly Frizzante, completely refreshing, and was an absolutely inspired suggestion with my lunch. I seem to be subconsciously drinking more and more Ligurian wine these days (Rosesse at Terroni, anyone?)- must be time for a trip to Italy’s Riviera. After the holidays anyway.
Lumassina is an interesting grape- found nowhere else but on the Ligurian coast. Punta Crena is one of the few families to continue farming this grape, which is a shame since it produces one of most delicate, easy-to-drink sparklers I have tasted recently. I also love the name- it’s fun to say, and it is believed to originate from the local dialect “lumasse“, which means snails (an absolute delicacy in Liguria and a perfect match for this wine!)
It was a chilly fall afternoon, so I ordered the braised Fagioli misti alla Castelluciana– a conucopia of beans, simmered in a comforting, tomatoey bath and topped with crispy breadcrumbs and little fresh olive oil.
I also can’t eat at Mozza without ordering their Tricolore Salad. (Watch Chef Nancy Silverton make this salad here.) This salad is bright, vinegary and loaded with lovely anchovy flavor- not fishy, just umami. Another prefect foil for the sparkly Lumassina.
This Lumassina was such a great find. I never would have thought to order it without asking the bartender which wine he was excited about. Thanks, Mozza, and thank you Barman Extraordinaire Sean Philbin, for making the world that much more fun for Italian Wine Geeks!