Location: 602 Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90401. (310) 587-0700
Date: August 15, 2013
Cuisine: American Tapas
Rating: Awesome goat!
Tar & Roses is a relatively new American tapas-style place in Santa Monica, loosely in the vein of Rustic Canyon or Gjelina. Despite the relative crowding of this market, it’s a welcome — and extremely popular — addition.
The Chef & Owner is Andrew Kirschner, a Santa Monica-native who grew up in a family with a strong appreciation for travel, food and wine, Chef Andrew Kirschner initiated his cooking education at the age of fifteen with a summer job in the kitchen of a local restaurant. Like many great chefs, his culinary journey started as a job, but quickly turned into a passion. After Kirschner became the sous chef for Chadwick in Beverly Hills, and then a chef/partner at the popular neighborhood spot Table 8 in West Hollywood, where he met and bonded with his Tar & Roses sous chef, Jacob Wildman.
One of our Hedonist founders is a part owner, and he secured us a couple big tables for a blow out food and wine evening.
1982 Moet Chandon Dom Perignon. Parker 96. Beautiful nose packed with bread and loads of burnt butter. Also plenty of espresso and newly toasted coffee beans. A insanely nice palate with a lot of density of flavors. Butter and toasted bread with a little caramel in the aftertaste. Mid-palate has a nice structure with red/brown apples. Overall it is still juicy and well-rounded.
One of the best champagnes I’ve had!
1990 Robert Ampeau & Fils Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières. Burghound 93. A truly wonderful nose of simply knockout complexity features notes of yeast and baked bread along with now fully mature aromas of a variety of floral notes and spice hints that gives way to mineral-suffused round intense and detailed medium full flavors that also offer outstanding depth on the sappy and mouth coating finish. This is drinking perfectly now. A beautiful effort of real style and grace.
2004 Bouchard Père et Fils Corton-Charlemagne. Burghound 93. I have not had this since cask and the bottle in question had a tattered label though no apparent seepage. As such¡ it’s difficult to know whether this bottle was indeed representative as it seemed relatively supple and forward¡ indeed more or less ready to drink. To be sure¡ there was no obvious secondary nuances in evidence and still good freshness to the rich¡ intense and vibrant flavors brimming with minerality on the impressively long finish. Impeccably stored bottles might need another few years to arrive at their peak but absent this bottle being an aberration¡ I don’t think that opening one today would be infanticide.
1989 Faiveley Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. Burghound 87. Lovely fruit that is clearly maturing though there are no traces of sous bois that leads to medium weight, very firm flavors underpinned by rather tough mid-palate tannins that continue on to the moderately long finish. Th ’89 Clos de Bèze is a wine of adequate quality but the borderline hard tannins mar the finish and it’s not evident that the fruit will ever hang on long enough for the tannins to resolve themselves.
1985 Château Mouton Rothschild. Parker 90. The rich, complex, well-developed bouquet of oriental spices, toasty oak, herbs, and ripe fruit is wonderful. On the palate, the wine is also rich, forward, long, and sexy. It ranks behind both Haut-Brion and Chateau Margaux in 1985. I am surprised by how evolved and ready to drink this wine is. Readers looking for a big, boldly constructed Mouton should search out other vintages, as this is a tame, forward, medium-weight wine that is close to full maturity. It is capable of lasting another 15+ years. This estate compares their 1985 to their 1959, but to me it is more akin to their 1962 or 1953.
Roasted goat. This was hands down the best goat I’ve ever had! Soft, juicy, tender, and full of flavor. Like a good roast lamb, but not as “spicy” (in that lamb way). This is a special advance order. Apparently, the goat is prepped with Moroccan spices and then slow cooked overnight using Controlled Vapor Technology, before being transferred to the wood burning oven.
This isn’t tired and chewy like so many goats.
1985 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Estate. Parker 92. Consistently a low to mid-ninety point Cabernet Sauvignon, Chateau Montelena’s 1985 remains frightfully backward at nearly ten years of age. The 1985, 1987, and 1991 have the potential to be three of the longest-lived Montelena Cabernets this fine winery has ever produced. In this tasting, the 1985 was unevolved and youthful, with an opaque ruby/purple color, and a closed but promising nose of cassis fruit, earth, minerals, and oak. Full-bodied, marvelously concentrated and pure, this highly extracted, muscular, blockbuster effort requires a minimum of 5-6 more years of cellaring. A candidate for 20-30 years of longevity, it should prove to be one of the great Montelena Cabernet Sauvignons, but patience is required.
1997 P Antinori Tignanello Vino da Tavola. Parker 93. The 1997 Tignanello is a blend of 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc, aged in small French oak casks for 12 months, and bottled with no filtration. It possesses a dense, ruby/purple color, and an expansive nose of black currants, cherry compote, vanillin, and earth. Sweet, jammy, and opulently-textured, this expansive, concentrated, low acid wine is flashy and gorgeously-proportioned. It should drink well for 10-15 years, although who can ignore it now?
1994 Guigal Cote Rotie la Mouline. Parker 96-98. The great glories of this house are its Cote Roties, of which there are now five separate offerings. The single-vineyard 1994s were singing loudly when I saw them in July. All of them scored significantly higher than they did during the two previous years, which is not unusual as Guigal’s upbringing (elevage) of the wines results in better examples in the bottle than in cask. All three wines flirt with a perfect score. At this tasting, they reminded me of Guigal’s 1982s – opulent, sumptuously-textured, forward, rich, precocious, flattering wines that will drink well throughout their lives. The 1994 Cote Rotie La Mouline possesses extraordinary intensity. A dark ruby/purple color is followed by a penetrating nose of sweet black raspberry fruit intertwined with aromas of coconut and apricots. Jammy black fruits continue on the palate of this full-bodied, silky-textured, sumptuously-styled wine that is glorious to drink – even from barrel. It is an amazing La Mouline that offers all the elegance, suppleness, and sexiness this cru merits. It should drink well upon its release in 1998, and last for 15 more years. Guigal is one of the cellars where the wines always taste better after they are bottled than they do from cask, although as the scores in this segment indicate, some profound wines can be found in the 1994, 1995, and 1996 vintages Chez Guigal.
1997 Joseph Phelps Insignia Proprietary Red Wine. Parker 96. The prodigious 1997 Insignia (83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, and 3% Petit-Verdot) lives up to its pre-bottling promise. Tasted on three separate occasions, every bottle has hit the bull’s eye. The color is a saturated thick-looking blue/purple. The nose offers up explosive aromas of jammy black fruits, licorice, Asian spices, vanillin, and cedar. Full-bodied as well as exceptionally pure and impressively endowed, this blockbuster yet surprisingly elegant wine cuts a brilliant swath across the palate. A seamless effort with beautifully integrated acidity, sweet tannin, and alcohol, it is still an infant, but can be drunk with considerable pleasure.
1991 Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard. Parker 95. I had inserted this wine in a blind tasting. I did not know where it would appear, but I knew it would be in the tasting, and I was able to pick it out when it was served. However, the rest of the tasters thought it was a large-scaled Bordeaux from the Medoc. This magnificent California Cabernet offers that exciting blend of power and elegance. The opaque purple color is followed by copious quantities of sweet, mineral, licorice, floral-laden, blackcurrant fruit, full body, exceptional purity, good underlying, well-integrated acidity and tannin, and a whoppingly long finish. Typical of many top California wines, it combines magnificent richness and ripeness with a sense of gracefulness and complexity. Although young, it is soft enough to be enjoyed. Look for the 1991 Araujo Estate Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon to age effortlessly for another 20-25 years.
1985 Rene Rostaing Cote Rotie Cote Blonde. Parker 91. A fully mature wine, Rostaing’s Cote Blonde is much more velvety than the tannic La Landonne. Voluptuous on the palate, with an intense bouquet of roasted nuts and ripe, jammy black-raspberry and cassis fruit, this wine offers a smorgasbord of exotic aromas and flavors.
2002 Mongeard-Mugneret Echezeaux. Burghound 88-91. The first wine to display any reduction though there is ample wood spice in evidence. The flavors are rich, round and delicious with a lovely sappy quality though the wood sweetens and blurs the finish. There is good structure and solid density and while this will never completely lose the wood influence, there is a good chance that it will largely integrate over time.
Drinking fabulously. Mugneret is a really great producer.
Overall, this was a great meal. The food was excellent, although I would have liked to see more dishes for variety. And the wines were particularly spectacular. Just a really good set tonight with nice variety and nearly all drinking fabulously. Too bad for the morning after!