Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Top Secret Oenotri Pizza Annex

Last weekend I had the great good fortune of wandering into pure Cru Wine Experience in Napa's West End.  This contemporary tasting room for  Mitch Cosentino's pure Cru wines opened in July in the Napa Square business complex on First Street, just across from the former AVIA Hotel (now Andaz)

"Purety" is a Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend,
yours for only $22/bottle. Purety awesome.
With its comfortable leather seating, this place looks more like a wine bar than a traditional tasting room -- think leather armchairs, bar tables, tall barstools, and a flatscreen behind the bar.  The menu also lends itself to more of a wine lounge experience, letting you uncork any of the red and white pure Cru wines to drink there by the bottle (at retail cost!), and offering nearly all of them by the glass for $8-17.  Small $5 plates of mixed nuts, chocolate truffles, and my beloved Castelveltrano olives round out their offerings.  Since they're open from 11am-9pm Wednesday and Thursday, and from 11am-11pm on Friday and Saturday night, they're also an awesome option to consider once the rest of the tasting room world has shut down.

But as the title of this post may have given away, pure Cru also offers guests sitting in their comfortable leather chairs the sublime culinary stylings of Oenotri restaurant -- pure Cru's deservedly famous and perpetually packed Napa Square neighbor just fifteen steps away. 

That's right... you no longer have to reserve weeks in advance, or battle a barful of canny locals to sample the legendary pizzas, antipasti, and charcuterie from Curtis Di Fede and Tyler Rodde.  Just score a seat at pure Cru during Oenotri's open hours, and you're good to go!  Obviously the restaurant's full menu is not available there -- and neither is any of their wine list  -- but you can enjoy enough of that Oenotri poetry to make a fabulous rustic Italian meal.  And, by another stroke of divine intervention, winemaker Mitch Cosentino happens to make several delicious Sangiovese-based blends under the pure Cru label that should pair outrageously with those pizzas and cured meats.

THIS IS HUGE, folks.  I'm completely obsessed with Oenotri's pizzas, but unless I can time it just right at the bar, I rarely manage to score one any time I want to.  But since pure Cru just opened recently, it pretty much always has seats available... at least for now.  This Oenotri collaboration is a new thing, and may put an end to that easy availability in a hurry.  Until it does, though, I plan to take full advantage of this top-secret Oenotri pizza annex, and I urge my loyal readers to do the same.

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