Villa Roma in Laguna Hills is many things: a fabulous Argentine restaurant, the best place in South County to watch football matches, a great place for a large wedding reception. But only its loyal customers know that this stalwart also offers one of the best selection of South American wines in Orange County, giving even Mr. Hi-Time a run for his money. The focus, naturally, is on Argentina, but the store section of Villa Roma also stocks Chilean varietals along with vinos of the world.
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I'm not much of a wine guy, save for the sweet stuff. So I was delighted on a recent visit to find the relatively rare Gran Vino Sansón hidden behind more prestigious labels.
It's a dessert wine, and while wine enthusiasts compare it to vermouth, I say it's snuggles in right between sherry and port in its sticky sweetness. But it also works as a digestif thanks to a wallop of anise and cloves out of a Garcia Lorca fantasy. Gran Vino Sansón's position in the world of Spanish wines is akin to Manischewitz (utilitarian, tolerated, never heralded as genius) and that's why it's hard to find in OC--indeed, it was the only bottle in stock at Villa Roma when I bought it. But kudos to Villa Roma to showing it even a little bit of love. Go, ask for it, and if it's not in stock, just get any other of their wines. And the milanesa--don't forget the milanesa!