The room on the penthouse level at the Hotel Angeleno was filled with a hushed chatter Thursday night as partygoers sampled glasses of wine so pale it was almost colorless.
Winemaker Joe Gott lead the tasting and food pairing, taking questions from guests while waiters served treats made specifically to accompany the pale pinot gris that bore his name.
The manager of the hotel’s West Restaurant and Lounge, Jeff West, occasionally silenced the crowd, giving Gott an opportunity to describe the wines on hand and Chef Mathew Woolf a chance to talk about the hors d'oeuvres.
"It's an opportunity to showcase all the things that we can do," said the general manager of the Hotel Angeleno, Rick Gluth, regarding the tasting.
Although the event was scheduled well before West and Woolf joined the restaurant team two weeks ago, Woolf still had time to create a menu complementing Gott's selections of pinot gris, riesling, chardonnay, pinot noir and two cabernet sauvignons.
Guests dined on beet-cured Hamachi (fish,) fried chicken bits with corn sauce and pork belly, among other hors d'oeuvres.
"The food was beautifully prepared," said Yvette Van Dalsem of Pacific Palisades, who is a fan of Joel Gott's work. "I've tasted his wines before and really enjoyed them."
West said that putting on a tasting event, even with such short notice, was not that difficult.
"It's like a warm glove for me," he said, adding that the tasting event was important to the restaurant's new image. "We're moving more toward the fresh, local food, and away from the Steakhouse image."