Location: 13488 W Maxella Ave Marina del Rey, CA 90292 Apt #559
Date: September 25, 2013
Cuisine: New American
Independent chef Kevin Meehan (below) executes a concept he calls “hosted dinner party” via his company Kali Dining. You sign up for a special meal and join him at a big communal table in Marina del Rey. He also happens to belong to my Hedonist group (cooking up that same group’s start of summer blast) and so we thought we’d hit him up at his place for a wine dinner.
1998 Jacques Prieur Corton-Charlemagne. IWC 91. Very expressive leesy, oaky aromas of roasted nuts, clove, nutmeg and vanilla. At once powerful and generously textured, with pliant mineral and smoke flavors nicely framed by ripe acids. I find this quite approachable for Corton-Charlemagne, and long on the aftertaste. Seems more substantial today than it was from bottle last spring before the end of the alcoholic fermentation.
Drinking quite nicely right now.
2010 J. Hofstätter Gewürztraminer Kolbenhof. IWC 91. Deep straw-yellow. Superripe aromas of tropical fruits and sweet spices lifted by rose petal and lavender notes. Then bright, rich and focused in the mouth, with persistent flavors of ripe peach, apricot and mango. Closes with cinnamon and grapefruit nuances on the long, brisk finish. Very well done.
From my cellar: 1996 Domaine Joseph Drouhin Charmes Chambertin. Parker 92. This medium-to-dark ruby-colored wine has a fine nose of deeply ripe blackberry and cassis. On the palate, this well-concentrated, thick, complex, and harmonious wine is replete with loads of black cherries and spices. It has extremely ripe and supple tannins in its long finish.
1990 Francesco Rinaldi e Figli Barolo Le Brunate. Parker 96. The 1990 Barolo Riserva Brunate is very much a mirror image of the vintage; fat, rich and opulent, with gorgeous inner perfume and superb balance. It is awfully hard to pick a favorite here, as both wines are drop-dead gorgeous. Wow! Despite the wine’s huge fruit the tannins and structure remain formidable, and this is one case where the 1990 may very well age at the same pace as the 1989. In fact, this is one of the few 1990s that comes across as needing more time! In any event, the 1990 Barolo Riserva Brunate is a monumental, towering wine from one of Barolo’s icon producers. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2025.
Very, very nice.
2001 Azienda Bricco Rocche (Ceretto) Barolo Brunate. 92 points. Impressive nose of flowers (roses?) and vanilla and cedar, with notes of tobacco and wild berries. Aromatics are wonderfully rich and complex, but still elegant and subtle. Hard to pinpoint everything. On the palate, there is a very strong new oak character which, along with the hefty tannins, dominates right out of the bottle. Very tight and woody up front. But the wine softens and opens up nicely with time in the decanter and glass, alowing some delicate cherry (and chocolate?) flavors to shine through, along with hints of earth and smoke. Medium-full bodied with medium acidity, excellent structure, a bold, yet silky mouthfeel, and a nice, long, well-defined finish. Obviously this wine is still quite young. It seems as if there is a lot burried underneath the wood and tannins which can’t yet properly be expressed. The potential is there. Give it time.
Lana, never one to hold back, brings: 2006 Tenuta dell’Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore Ornellaia. Parker 97. The 2006 Ornellaia (magnum) is a massive, towering masterpiece. There is awesome depth and richness to be found in the glass. Flowers, minerals, tar smoke and dark fruit are all woven in an intricate fabric of almost indescribable elegance and power. Tonight the 2006 Ornellaia is absolutely moving in its beauty and expressiveness. Vintage 2006 will go down as one of the all-time greats in Tuscany, and Bolgheri in particular, as all of that region’s benchmark wines are spectacular. The 2006 shows the intensity of the small berries that were harvested that year, with exceptional concentration, acidity and freshness, qualities that are precious and exceedingly rare when they are found in a single wine. In 2006 the final blend is 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. Simply put, the 2006 Ornellaia is a must-have bottle. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2031.
Awesome! (albeit a bit young)
2010 Achaval Ferrer Quimera. Parker 91. The 2010 Quimera is a blend of 27% Malbec and 24% Cabernet Sauvignon alongside Petit Verdot and Merlot, raised in 40% French new oak for 14 months, the remainder one year old. It has a complex, almost “mulchy” bouquet: one that evokes undergrowth and tertiary aromas that are well-defined and cerebral. The palate is medium-bodied with fine, slightly chewy tannins surrounding a core of blackberry laced with licorice and a hint of star anise. The finish is focused and taut, bestowed with an extremely fresh citric finish. Old World meets New – with style. Drink 2014-2022.
1999 S. Anderson Cabernet Sauvignon SAV. 90 points. Nice balanced wine with mellowed tannins, dark fruits and some green pepper. I generally don’t prefer any green pepper notes, but this was still good.
1998 Chateau d’Yquem. Parker 95. The 1998 Yquem (95 points) is a great success. Made in an elegant style, it is not a blockbuster such as 1990, 1989, and 1988. It is well-delineated, with wonderfully sweet aromas of creme brulee, pineapples, apricots, and white flowers. Medium to full-bodied, it is not as sweet as the biggest/richest Yquem vintages, but it is gorgeously pure, precise, and strikingly complex. Already approachable, it should evolve for 30-50 years … without a doubt.
2007 Azelia Barolo Margheria. IWC 94. Deep red. Very ripe aromas of cherry, strawberry, licorice, smoke and mocha. Sweet, plush and seamless, with terrific concentration to the red fruit and mineral flavors. This wonderfully round 2007 saturates the entire palate without leaving any impression of heaviness. The wine’s superripe finishing flavors of dark berries are leavened by excellent mineral lift. A superb showing, but I’d wait at least five or six years before pulling the cork.
2007 Fattoria Le Pupille (Elisabetta Geppetti) Saffredi Maremma Toscana IGT. IWC 91. (a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and alicante Dark ruby. Light red berry and plum aromas along with riper coffee and dark chocolate nuances. Dense and rich but nicely focused, with a creamy texture to the black cherry, dried herb and milk chocolate flavors. Puts on considerable weight in the glass and displays a seductive floral quality on the long finish. Harmonious acidity gives this concentrated blend a light touch and an overall impression of refinement.
2004 Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard. IWC 94. (includes about 3% each cabernet franc and petit verdot) Saturated ruby-red. Highly nuanced, Graves-like aromas of black plum, raspberry, warm stones, tobacco, minerals and nutty oak. Sweet, suave and wonderfully fine-grained wine with a fleshiness given shape by harmonious acidity. A step up in intensity from the ’03 bottling, with the petit verdot component adding aromatic character and structure. Finishes with lingering sweet notes of cherry and currant.
As usual, Chef Kevin whipped up another fabulous feast, better than most modern American restaurants are doing in LA. And we doused it with a crazy volume of wine. The foie gras / d’Yquem pairing was a standout — a classic for a reason!