Brunello di Montalcino at Valentino, gin and tonics at Greystone

Russ Parsons
The California Cook
Taste the king of Tuscan wines, or learn how to make the perfect tonic water

Chianti may be the best-known wine in Tuscany, but it’s Brunello di Montalcino that connoisseurs regard as the region's king of wines. And Friday night, you have a chance to taste some of the best examples at a special dinner put on by the Consorzio di Brunello di Montalcino honoring Santa Monica’s Piero Selvaggio and Valentino restaurant.

The Lecio d’Oro award (literally, the Golden Oak), goes to 30 restaurants worldwide that have an exceptional collection of Brunellos on their wine lists. Valentino, which is famed for the depth of its wine list, was one of the first winners of the award and is the only restaurant chosen on the West Coast.

Longtime Valentino chef Luciano Pellegrini has returned to cook a menu designed to show off the wines, featuring dishes such as Tuscan porchetta, pigeon ravioli and wild boar tagliata. Tickets are $125 and include Brunello pairings to accompany each dish. Also, Selvaggio is waiving corkage for anyone bringing a bottle of Brunello from their home cellar.

For more information, contact the restaurant at (310) 829-4313.

On the other hand, maybe with the recent warm weather, you’re thinking about gin and tonic. But if you’ve been keeping up with mixology, you know that there is nothing simple about this drink anymore. Get to the bottom of the perfect G&T with a class at the Institute of Domestic Technology Feb. 28 at the Greystone MansionSpeakeasy in Beverly Hills.

In addition to a tasting of artisanal gins, instructor Daniel Kent will teach you how to make your own tonic water, which they describe as “intoxicatingly complex, floral and fruity, perfectly bitter.” And talk about next-level drinking, you’ll also learn how to make perfectly clear ice cubes. Don’t pretend you haven’t been worrying about that.

Tickets are $95, including ingredients and a cocktail. For more information, visit the Institute website.

Are you a food geek? Follow me on Twitter at @russ_parsons1

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