Location: 2311 Cotner Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90064 Tel. 310-231-0316
Date: September 9, 2016
Cuisine: Modern Tapas
Rating: Bright flavors and a lot of options.
Upstairs 2 is located just above the Wine House on Cotner. The main room serves an eclectic tapas menu, but as this was a special Sauvages du Vin lunch (always a lunch, always Friday) we gathered upstairs in the private room for a special menu and flights of themed wine. This time around Grand and 1re cru Red Burgundy from the village of Gevrey-Chambertin, vintages older than 2004.
Today’s special menu.
The whites are bonuses that various people brought – like me.
From my cellar: 2008 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru Bougros. BH 92-95. A classic Chablis nose of mineral reduction, oyster shell and green fruit aromas merges into sappy, rich and powerful flavors that possess more refinement than usual on the long, sappy and beautifully detailed finish. I’m impressed that this seems to have to rusticity and in this sense, it’s a bit atypical.
2005 Brewer-Clifton Chardonnay Mount Carmel. VM 91. Light yellow. Rich pineapple and lichee on the nose, with fresh melon and fig adding complexity. A real fruit basket on the palate, displaying peach, honeydew, tropical fruits and an exotic licorice quality. Picks up sexy baking spices on the long, juicy finish. I prefer the finesse of this to the power of the Seasmoke today.
The gang gathers in the private room. Amusingly, this was the very same room in which I took my Italian Sommelier mastery class
4.5 years ago!
1999 Domaine Rene Leclerc Griotte-Chambertin. 92 points. Bright ruby. Very seductive and perfumed nose of first roses, then cherry, raspberry and a touch of roast. Somewhat tight on the palate, yielding some cherry and flowers. Gritty tannins with medium acidity and body. Sappy finish with medium to long persistence. Needs at least another 3-5 years to come together.
1990 Serafin Père et Fils Charmes-Chambertin. 90 points. Black fruit with earthy hints, overall a bit firm and rustic. Nice fruit, length and balance, but I was surprised this was from 1990 given the wine’s firm structure and seemingly modest ripeness.
1996 Geantet-Pansiot Charmes-Chambertin. VM 94. Saturated deep ruby; one of the darkest ’96s I saw in November. Multifaceted nose combines black fruits, violet, licorice, espresso, smoke, gibier and sweet butter. The class of the cellar in terms of concentration, sweetness, finesse and length; in fact, today this wine makes Geantet’s ’95 seem almost heavy in comparison. Lovely roundness and clarity of flavor. Really explodes on the palate-staining finish.
1996 Dominique Laurent Chambertin. VM 92-95. Much deeper red-ruby color. Brilliant sauvage perfume of dark fruits, mocha and Chambertin earth. Very intensely flavored but folded in on itself; currently showing less texture and volume than the Clos de Beze. But explodes and expands on the finish, which features powerful, chewy tannins. A musclebound wine that will need at least seven or eight years of bottle aging.
Foie Gras Terrine. Burgundy-Pomegranate Reduction. Pretty straight up duck liver goodness!
1998 Claude Dugat Chapelle-Chambertin. VM 89-92. Dugat vinifies two barrels of Chapelle-Chambertin juice owned by Philippe Livera and Butterfield & Robinson, keeping one barrel for himself.<BR> Higher-toned aromas of iron, earth and game. Penetrating and rather powerful, but a less fruit-driven style than the wines from Dugat’s own vines. Not quite as much material or nuance here. Soaking up the oak more quickly, and thus a bit drier on the finish. But still impressive.
1997 Domaine Joseph Roty Charmes-Chambertin Très Vieilles Vignes. VM 93. Deep red. Perfumed, nuanced aromas of cherry, faded rose, woodsmoke and bacon fat. Tighter and less showy than the last two bottles, but displayed sappy, intense red fruit flavors with aeration. A rarity: a ’97 with real finesse. Finishes very long and juicy, with unusually supple tannins for this wine, from some of the oldest vines on the Cote de Nuits.
1998 Hospices de Beaune Mazis-Chambertin Cuvée Madeleine Collignon Louis Jadot.
1999 Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques. BH 91-93. Roasted ripe fruit that has a mix of red and black fruits, especially black cherry with wonderfully spicy, complex flavors that are both rich and dense. This is very ripe but the acidity is more pronounced which does a better job of balancing off the richness. Clos St. Jacques is almost always the finest Gevrey 1er chez Jadot and 99 is no exception. Grand cru quality and because of the richness, this will be approachable young but drink well for a long time.
1999 Domaine Joseph Roty Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Fontenys. VM 91. Full red. Expressive aromas of raspberry, woodsmoke, tobacco and game. Sweet and pliant, with very ripe flavors of meat and tobacco. Showing more personality today than the Brunelle or Clos Prieur. Lovely ripe, harmonious acidity. Finishes very long, with fine tannins. This was delicious since the beginning.
2000 Domaine Joseph Roty Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Fontenys. VM 90+. Red-ruby. Floral aromas of red cherry, licorice and tarry oak. More perfumed than the foregoing wines; tightly wound but very aromatic in the mouth, with dark fruit and licorice notes. Pure and fresh for the year but in need of aging.
2001 Domaine Joseph Roty Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Fontenys. VM 91+. Full ruby-red. Pure, vibrant aromas of berries, cherry, minerals and flowers. Sweet, stony, minerally and quite firm, with refreshing framing acidity. ?A mix of old vines and very old vines from a very hot part of this vineyard,? says Philippe, adding that the fruit here came in with a relatively high 12.5% potential alcohol in 2001. Structured finish features firm acids and serious but supple tannins.
Pan roasted Duck Breast. Cauliflower Puree. Duck Demi-Glace. Some perfect bits of medium rare duck breast. Very juicy.
2002 Claude Dugat Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux St. Jacques. VM 94+. right ruby-red. Deeply smoky aromas and flavors of black and red cherry and violet. Less nuanced and expressive today than the 1er cru, but also boasts terrific freshness of fruit. Brilliantly primary wine, finishing with slow-building, extremely persistent flavor and superb grip. Give the 1er cru six years in the bottle, but hold off on this one for seven or eight. (Incidentally, Dugat opened a bottle of the ’92 Lavaux, no doubt to make the point that his wines age better than some critics believe. It was a knockout: at its peak right now, and more stylish and complex than 99% of Burgundies from this relatively early-maturing vintage.)
2001 Domaine Perrot-Minot Mazoyères-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes. BH 93. This is much like the ’02 in style with a sterner and less elegant character but a good deal more power and the same masculine quality. Earthy, robust and slightly austere minerality and a mix of red and black fruit aromas introduce precise and brilliantly intense flavors that deliver outstanding length and simply incredible complexity. I rarely prefer big over fine but the additional complexity and depth of material make this a better wine and this is just flat out wonderful.
2002 Domaine Perrot-Minot Mazoyères-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes. VM 92. Good deep ruby-red. Knockout nose combines black fruits, minerals and coffee. Richer and more tactile than the Charmes but not sweeter; more massive and powerful. This boasts very strong fruit without coming across as overly sweet or heavy. A wine of compelling length, with the well-buffered tannins coating the entire palate.
2002 Louis Jadot Chapelle-Chambertin. VM 90-93. Good bright ruby-red. High-toned roasted fruits, licorice, violet and sweet oak on the nose. Sweet, supple and creamy, with fruit currently dominated by an exotic coconutty oak quality. A second barrel showed even riper aromas and superb richness.
2002 Domaine / Maison Vincent Girardin Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. VM 92. Ruby-red. Wild, musky aromas of strawberry, minerals and smoky oak. Wonderfully silky on entry, then suave and aristocratic in the middle palate. Very subtle flavors build impressively on the sweet finish, which features very fine tannins.
Overall Upstairs 2 did an awesome job with this dinner. Wine service was good and the food was a fowl collection of tasty morsels. Sorry, couldn’t resist. We had only 1-2 flawed wines and a lot of great showings from Gevrey, particularly the 90s wines. Sauvages is always a great time.