At Tosca Café in San Francisco, Ceri Smith's list is a combination of old bottles from serious Italian producers, like Felsina and Giuseppe Mascarello, to new bottles in straw fiascos from serious Italian producers.
VALUE WINE SHE'S MOST PROUD OF ON HER LIST
1999 Scarpa Tettineive Barbaresco ($135)
These wines had been out of the US market for a long time and they finally came back. They have all of these old vintages and they are just stunningly gorgeous. The quality is there and the structure is there and it's elegant. I mean down to the capsule—they're even meticulously and beautifully bottled. It's the most beautifully bottled wine I've ever seen.
MOST AMAZING DISCOVERY ON HER LIST
2012 Punta Crena Rossese ($54)
When I met with Josh Even, who is the chef de cuisine here, in the very beginning he told me what the menu would be like. He said, “I start with lemon, oil, salt capers, and add ingredients to it.” So it has that bright, fresh umami and acidity and suppleness from the oil. To me, it's easy to complement that sort of food with wines from Liguria, they have that salty brininess, seaside kind of thing going on. And the Punta Crena was a big surprise because it's made with a grape that nobody's ever heard of—Rossese—and it's a grape that everybody loves. I was really surprised because it was so light and delicate and people really love it. It's the antithesis of what I would expect people to like in California. It has spice and structure, almost like a heavy rosé. It's really pretty. You taste it and it's like, That's really good. And it's great with all of the food at Tosca—with everything.