What Are You Drinking: George Cossette
Since so many people working in food and wine have backgrounds in the arts, it’s no surprise to find that Silver Lake Wine co-owner George Cossette had an earlier career as a musician. That was in Boston in the eighties and nineties. In 1993, he turned up in L.A. and got work as a waiter at Campanile. He was one of the best, but always wanted to talk wine and eventually became the restaurant’s wine director.
In 2004, he and Campanile alums Randy Clement and April Langford opened Silver Lake Wine on Glendale Boulevard across the street from the bawdy beer garden the Red Lion Tavern. The tiny shop (now doubled in size) featured a modernist plywood design and a geeky wine selection with bottle prices that included tax. But the shop really took off with a series of popular wine tastings on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays, which now draw wine lovers from across the city.
I stopped in last week to ask Cossette what wine had captured his imagination lately. He zeroed in on 2009 Guccione “Arturo di Lanzeris” Perricone, a choice eclectic enough that Silver Lake Wine may be the only place in the city to sell it.
It’s a Sicilian wine made in the Cesara area near Palermo from the rare indigenous Perricone grape. “I’m always a sucker for something I’ve never heard of,” says Cossette. “And I’d never heard of Perricone. The Guccione brothers farm their vineyards biodynamically and the estate only makes 4,000 bottles of the Arturo di Lanzeris."
He describes the wine as “light to medium-bodied; it’s got cherry notes, a little bit of cigar box with a thin veil of dried straw over the top.
"It’s light enough that this is a red you could drink in the summertime. Not necessarily with a thick char-grilled steak,” he says, “but maybe pork or even fish, probably swordfish with some herbs on top. I think of it as more a contemplative wine.”
--S. Irene Virbila
Photo credit: S. Irene Virbila/Los Angeles Times