I met a friend whom I hadn't seen in many months in Annapolis, MD recently. Neither she nor I had ever been there before, but I would definitely love to return. Many cute shops and restaurants to explore, plus a beautiful setting. We initially drove into town and saw a wine bar and were going to get lunch there, but it turned out to literally be just a wine bar. So instead we meandered back to this Italian restaurant called Osteria 177. An excellent find overall.
The atmosphere was very laid back, with high ceilings and deep colors on the walls. We got a cozy corner booth where we chatted the afternoon away over some delicious food and wine. My friend Kim ordered the whole Dover sole with white wine and caper sauce and fresh asparagus. The server highly recommended it, but it wasn't listed on the menu. The presentation was fabulous, they actually cooked the fish whole and brought it to your table and dressed it tableside. Very cool. However, not so cool when the bill arrived and her meal was $45....everything on the menu was less than $20, so it was a huge shock. I had a delicious fresh mozzerella and prosciutto pannini ($9) and a lobster/crab bisque ($3). Both were fantastic, as was the fish. The soup was just the kind of bisque I like, very light with lots of chunks of crab and lobster. The sandwich was grilled perfectly and the prisciutto was the best I've had in the US.
Onto the wine. We wanted a bottle as we knew we would spend at least 3 hours or so catching up over lunch and could take our time with a bottle even though it was lunch. Kim prefers red wine, even though she was having fish so I looked for a good red. I couldn't find anything that I thought she would like, so I asked our server for a recommendation in a price range. He said he had a Barbaresco that was not on the menu and recommended that. As I tasted it, I knew Kim would love it and took the bottle.
It was a 2003 Poderi Colla Barbaresco Roncaglia. I see you can find it here for $45.99, so the restaurant price of $60 was really not bad at all. The wine was 14% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure.
On the nose the wine showed violets, leather, dried cherries and roses. It was very aromatic and I kept going back to stick my nose in the glass. I love wines where I just can't get enough of the aroma. In the mouth, the flavor was full, but it wasn't a heavy wine. I thought it was very well rounded and drinking very well now. The flavors were leather, deep red fruits and cherries. Oddly enough, the wine left an impression of rose water with me. I really enjoyed this wine, though a lot can be said for the fact that I was very much enjoying the company with whom I was drinking the wine, which always adds to the experience!
Overall, the service was fantastic, the food expertly prepared and the atmosphere great. The wine list was interesting, though very pricey in comparison to the food. However, I would definitely go back and would recommend it for lunch. Just don't be shocked if you order the Dover Sole! And, it can sometimes pay to ask for a recommendation because you can end up with something totally different!