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We recently had lunch at the newly-opened Bottega Restaurant in Napa Valley.  It was a Friday afternoon, and Michael Chiarello, executive chef/owner, was there greeting guests, sitting down with folks, cooking in the kitchen, and generally appearing to have a great time.  He seemed so proud of his new restaurant and so welcoming of his guests.

One of the dishes that we so lovingly remembered from his TraVigne days, the soft polenta with the wild game-balsamic sauce, was once again on his menu.  This time, it had the twist of being served under glass, but it was the same intense, savory, sweet, earthy delicious flavor that we remembered.   We shared a number of dishes, including the rabbit sugo, gnocchi in an intense tomato sauce, burrata with artichokes two ways and the polenta dish.  Flavors were fresh, intense and memorable.  We topped the meal off with a warm polenta cake that was scented with rosemary.  

One of the best finds of the day was the 2006 Chiarello Family “Bambino” Cabernet Sauvignon wine.   It was earthy with hints of vanilla, blackberry jam and ripe dark cherries.  It was very drinkable (and quite enjoyable), although still young. 

The restaurant is in the old Vintage 1870′s building (now V Marketplace) in Yountville.  I fell in love with the outdoor “living room” with the fireplace and big sofas with red, orange and gold pillows. 

The restaurant is open for lunch during the winter months from Thursday through Sunday and for dinner Sunday through Saturday. 

Bottega Napa Valley
6525 Washington Street
Yountville, CA  94599
707-945-1050
http://www.botteganapavalley.com/

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