The name Mike Isabella doesn’t mean much to me.
I know just enough to recognize that he’s one of those celebrity chefs manufactured by some show. So when his new restaurant, Kapnos, opened a couple blocks from my house — an ambitious neighborhood joint consistent with the rapid-fire restaurantification of Washington, DC’s 14th St corridor — well, that didn’t mean a whole lot to me, either.
But I swung by one night on a lark, and I now believe I’ve seen the future of wine programs at hip urban restaurants.
If the “Isabella” name didn’t grab my attention, a long, by-the-glass list of aged Chateau Musar certainly did. Seeing the famed wines of Ghazir, Lebanon isn’t something I’m accustomed to seeing at the other restaurants in my neighborhood. I opted for a glass of the 2000 Musar; more profligate or eager wine geeks might splurge for a glass of the ’78, or any number of other vintages.
It was a perfect pairing.
Characteristically and purposefully desiccated — stylized “old world” — massive amounts of Brettanomyces and volatile acidity blasted out of the Musar. So why did I like it so much? And how was I able to afford it on my PBR budget?
Kapnos is able to serve Musar – together with a long list of other usually cost-prohibitive treasures, like a 2000 Chateau Palmer, a 1983 Spari Amaroni, and an 11-year-vertical of the Greek Skouras “Labyrinth” –because the restaurant uses a Coravin. (The Coravin was thoroughly explored earlier this week on Terroirist by Scott Claffee.)
I was giddy to see the Coravin in action — and even clapped like a wide-eyed kindergartener watching puppet theater. And I’m no gadget geek. Soon, I imagine, these things are going to pop up everywhere. Read the rest of this entry »