Finally, there is a place in Chico to get some excellent small plates and some good wine: Wine Time. Chico mainly relies on 5th Street Steakhouse, Red Tavern and Sierra Nevada Brewery for fine dining. My wife and I are prejudiced for foreign wine and it’s hard to get a good bottle (or any) at a restaurant in Chico. Red Tavern was out of the 3 wines I requested from their list on my last visit. They weren’t very nice about it and were too busy to mark the wines on the list that were “out of stock”. An Italian restaurant we like was out of Chianti Classico for crying out loud. At Wine Time, we tried a 2009 Schlumberger Pinot Blanc, Alsace France - a 2005 Marques de Murrieta Rioja Reserva, Spain - a 2008 Fattoria dei Barbi, Morellino di Scansano Sole, Montalcino Italy.
We ordered a meat and cheese plate to start. The Rioja was outstanding with this selection and different with every bite. Then, we had a skirt steak and caramelized onion flatbread. The Morellino was the clear winner here, an excellent match. Then came the nightly special of albacore tuna with mango chutney sauce, cherry tomatoes, slivers of sweet green peppers and squash. Surprisingly, the Morellino was the winner here too. I thought the Pinot Blanc would be the one, but I was wrong. Next, we had Tuscan kale stuffed ravioli atop a tomato and sweet pepper sauce garnished with a touch of Orlando Creamery Formage Blanc. This was the dish for the Pinot Blanc, which stood up to the cheese. Finally, we tried a tagliatelle with Bolognese ragu and the Morellino again. With Wine Time, we have a winner!