D’Argenzio Enoteca Tasting Room Review
Address: 1204 W. Burbank Blvd. Burbank,California 91506.
Phone Number: 818-846-8466
Tasting Hours: Wed-Sat 4:30-9:00
Reviewer: Becky Parr
Review Date: 11/7/2014
Reviewer: Becky Parr
Los Angeles is known much more for its traffic than for its boutique wineries. In Burbank, we found both in the same place.
D’Argenzio Winery’s Burbank tasting room is located on a fairly busy thoroughfare; if you’re intending to turn right into the parking lot, be aware that the turn for parking happens just before the actual winery building, so if you wait until you’re in front of the winery, you’ve missed your turn. Then you have to go on driving adventures around Burbank to get back to where you want to be. Trust me I know this from personal experience.
The Place:  Once we got there, we found a smallish but very cute tasting room. The D’Argenzio brothers started out as cabinetry makers, so all the woodwork in the tasting room is their handiwork. It’s a very warm-feeling space with lots of wood. There is a decent amount of seating in the front room with the bar; a pass-through to a kitchen; and a room in the back where events and private parties are held.
The People:  We worked with Jennifer, who recently came into the world of wine from the corporate life, and loves it. She told us some great stories. The real “people” of this winery are the family and the family’s connections. I spotted a photo of Ozzy Osbourne on the tasting room wall, and asked about it. It turns out that Ozzy’s former lead guitarist, the late Randy Rhoads, had a sister who married a cabinetmaker turned winery owner so D’Argenzio has a cabernet named after Randy Rhoads and a lot of photos of Ozzy and Sharon. Cool, huh?
The Wines:  We tasted one white and four reds, which were already lined up on the bar waiting for us when we sat down. Two other patrons, obviously regulars, had arrived before us; as Jennifer floated between them and us and I heard what they were drinking, I realized they didn’t have the same wines we did. Being regulars, they knew what to ask for. I asked Jennifer how the wines for the tasting were chosen. She said the winemaker left that up to the employees running the tastings; they could choose to pour what they liked. It’s an interesting idea. I wished, though, that she had asked us about our wine preferences and based our tasting on that feedback, rather than just giving us the five wines she had decided on for the day. Two of the five she poured the Moscato and the late harvest Zinfandel I probably wouldn’t have chosen. There are more than 25 wines listed on D’Argenzio’s Web wine store, so I would certainly have been able to choose five.
The only white wine open was a Moscato. I was about to refuse it, because Moscato is generally sweet, but Jennifer assured me this was a dry Moscato. So we tried it. It was dry, all right it just sucked all the moisture out of my mouth. I didn’t like it at all.
The reds were a vast improvement. The 2011 Pinot Noir was on the big side for a Pinot, but very nice. The Old Vine Zinfandel from 2012 was next; Jennifer said this wine is still maturing and the flavor keeps developing and changing. So to me, it was fruity, a little peppery, and a bit tannic, but who knows what it’ll taste like in a year or two? The Randy Rhoads Cabernet was the standout, by far; it’s smooth, with a good nose, and an easy drinker. They picked a good wine to commemorate his memory.
I was interested to try the late harvest Zinfandel, although it is definitely an after-dinner wine and tends toward the sweet side. It’s not overwhelmingly sweet, though; the nose is chocolate covered cherries, or maybe raisins, and it starts sweet, but the finish is much drier. It was a complex and interesting wine.
The Experience:  Although I wished I’d had more wines to taste, especially whites, this was overall a good experience. There are some very good red wines, and the place is tasteful and inviting. Another benefit was the friendly customers. We struck up a conversation with the two locals who were enjoying their wine at the next table. When we said we were headed for dinner, they recommended a fabulous Italian restaurant in Sherman Oaks, Oliva. It was outstanding and worth a plug. Thanks, D’Argenzio, for creating an atmosphere conducive to making friends over wine!