Restaurant: Boa Santa Monica
Location: 101 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401. (310) 899-4466
Date: November 20, 2013
Rating: Awesome night. Crab was amazing!
I’m not normally a huge fan of Innovative Dining Group, as they tend far toward style over substance with their trendy collection of sushi and steak joints. However, BOA, their high end steak house, made a convenient and excellent location for Hedonist mainstay Ron’s 70th birthday bash.
Ron is a Hedonist OG and besides being a nice guy has a hell of a cellar filled with great wines.
19-20 or twenty of us showed up for his bday bash and BOA put us in the private “room” (more an alcove). This is about a quarter of it. Besides being loud (like everywhere else in BOA) it was a great little venue.
The menu is typical high end steak fare, but as you’ll see, the execution is top notch.
We brought so many wines that I just organized these into flights, this being the champagne starter. We had a LOT of wine and there were so many it was impossible to try all the good ones — not because they ran out, just because there were too many.
From magnum, 2000 Vilmart & Cie Champagne Coeur de Cuvée. Burghound 94. A moderately yeasty yet elegant nose that is fresh, complex and carries touches of both ~i#pain grillé~/i# and citrus blossom while leading to intense, pure and gorgeously deep flavors that possess first class breadth and genuinely excellent length. While still on the way up, after 30 to 45 minutes it began to display notably deeper and broader flavors that are at once powerful yet refined. A terrific effort that is absolutely worth your attention.
A tasty roll, presented by hand model Sarah.
From my cellar, 1996 Chapoutier Ermitage Cuvee de l’Oree. Parker 99-100. It is no secret that I adore Chapoutier’s luxury cuvee of white Hermitage called Cuvee L’Oree. Made from 90-year old vines and microscopic yields of 10-12 hectoliters per hectare, this wine flirts with perfection. It is a compelling white Hermitage. Made from 100% Marsanne, it is as rich and multidimensional as the fullest, most massive Montrachet money can buy. It is unctuously textured, yet extraordinarily and beautifully balanced. I suspect it will drink well early in life, and then shut down for a few years. It should last for 4-5 decades. The 1996 possesses some of the most amazing glycerin levels I have ever seen in a dry white wine. In short, this wine must be tasted to be believed.
I’m not sure how I feel about this wine I brought. I’ve owned it (well cellared) since release and it’s a Parker 99-100 wine, but while it had a really interesting nose there was a certain density and massiveness, plus a bit of funk and an “older” taste (but not like white Burg) .
2006 Domaine Guy Roulot Meursault 1er Cru Charmes. Burghound 92. This is at once ripe yet cool and reserved with a seductive mix of orchard fruit and brioche aromas that are strikingly elegant and refined before introducing equally elegant and pure middle weight flavors blessed with ample dry extract that confers a textured and full-bodied palate impression to the explosive and palate staining finish. As one would expect, this is finer than the Bouchères though perhaps not quite as deep. A choice.
2002 Jean-Paul & Benoit Droin Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos. Burghound 91. while it is impressively scaled and an excellent white wine, I am somewhat under whelmed if the important criterion is to produce wines typical of Chablis. In short, excellent white, average Chablis.
2009 Domaine Michel Niellon Chevalier-Montrachet. Burghound 94. Here mild reduction doesn’t materially diminish the appeal of the more elegant if ever-so-slightly less complex aromas that feature notes of stone, lemon zest, acacia blossom and spiced pear. There is superb intensity and simply gorgeous detail to the mineral-driven and impeccably well-balanced flavors and explosive finale. Still, as good as this is and it is indeed exceptional, the superior complexity of the Bâtard gives it the barest of edges in 2009.
1994 Zind-Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Heimbourg Vendange Tardive. Parker 96. The 1994 Gewurztraminer Heimbourg V. T. exhibits a light to medium gold color, an exotic, honeyed cherry, lychee nut, rose-scented nose, thick, rich, moderately sweet flavors, fabulous purity, and a finish that lasts for nearly a minute. The wine is still unformed, but it can be expected to last for 20+ years, becoming increasingly dry in taste as it evolves. This wine bordered on perfection – it is that pure, rich, concentrated, ageworthy, and impeccably well-balanced. The grapes are harvested at strikingly high sugar levels, and would qualify as an off-dry, medium sweet wine. It is best served with foie gras, or at the end of a meal by itself. This wine is made in extremely limited quantities (under 100 cases).
Goat Cheese Baklava. Pistachios, black truffles, frisee.
They mix it up the old school way.
I have to say, this might have been the best caesar I’ve ever had. It looks typical enough but it had a real peppery bite.
Baby greens, tomatoes, seasonal fruit, mustard vinaigrette.
BLT. Applewood smoked bacon, crisp lettuce, tomato, avocado, creamy bacon dressing.
The wedge. Crisp iceberg, vine ripened tomatoes, shaft blue cheese dressing.
Baby beet & watercress. Goat cheese foam, frisee, toasted caraway, pistachios.
This suffered a little from too much beet, too little other.
1998 Domaine G. Roumier / Christophe Roumier Bonnes Mares. Burghound 94. Massively dense in every respect with astonishing concentration of deeply pitched and still 100% primary fruit that complements the compelling, robust and powerful flavors that feature notes of cassis, blueberries, black cherries, minerals and earth, all wrapped in a mouth coating and fantastically long finish. The tannins are massive as well but the fruit is so dense I do not worry at all about the prospects for extended evolution in the cellar. A complete and utterly classic Bonnes Mares.
1998 Louis Jadot Bonnes Mares. Burghound 88. Quite deeply colored and this is presently almost opaque with very earthy, gamey fruit aromas and extremely dense, beautifully complex, texturally elegant flavors and while this is very long, the finish is rather dusty with a somewhat astringent quality to the tannins. Very good rather than exceptional quality.
I actually thought this was drinking a bit better (more hedonistically) than the Roumier!
1996 Domaine G. Roumier / Christophe Roumier Ruchottes-Chambertin Michel Bonnefond. More Roumier!
Out comes our special order giant crab. We had THREE of these puppies!
This is just one of three ways they prepped the crab. I didn’t get pics of the other two but the body was cooked and tossed with some herbs. The lower part of the legs were flayed open for the picking and on separate plates. But this part was crazy good. It was trivial to just pop out giant fresh nuggets of crab from those leg segments.
It was AMAZING! And I’ve had A LOT of crab. I spent most of my summers in Oxford MD, home of fresh blue crabs.
Some sauces. There was also drawn and melted butter (not pictured). All we were missing was one of those super potent yellow mustards (Chinese style).
1989 Palmer. Parker 96. Deep garnet-brick. Dark chocolate covered cherries, espresso, cinnamon, rose petals, tree bark and loam. Medium to full body with layers of concentrated fruit and spice flavours supported by crisp acidity and a medium+ level of fine tannins. Very long finish.
1995 Leoville-Las Cases. Parker 95. If it were not for the prodigious 1996, everyone would be concentrating on getting their hands on a few bottles of the fabulous 1995 Leoville-Las-Cases, which is one of the vintage’s great success stories. The wine boasts an opaque ruby/purple color, and exceptionally pure, beautifully knit aromas of black fruits, minerals, vanillin, and spice. On the attack, it is staggeringly rich, yet displays more noticeable tannin than its younger sibling. Exceptionally ripe cassis fruit, the judicious use of toasty new oak, and a thrilling mineral character intertwined with the high quality of fruit routinely obtained by Las Cases, make this a compelling effort. There is probably nearly as much tannin as in the 1996, but it is not as perfectly sweet as in the 1996. The finish is incredibly long in this classic. Only 35% of the harvest was of sufficient quality for the 1995 Leoville-Las-Cases.
1996 Montrose. Parker 91. The 1996 Montrose reveals outstanding potential. It boasts a saturated dark ruby/purple color, and aromas of new oak, jammy black currants, smoke, minerals, and new saddle leather. This multi-layered wine is rich and medium to full-bodied, with sweet tannin, a nicely-textured, concentrated mid-palate, and an impressively long finish.
1998 Penfolds Grange. Parker 96-99. A wine that flirts with perfection, and should rival the 1986 as one of the legendary Granges produced, the 1998 has one of the highest alcohol contents (nearly 15%) as well as one of the highest percentages of Shiraz in the blend (97%). Its stunning purple color is accompanied by exceptionally sweet aromas of blackberry liqueur intermixed with barbecue spices, an endearing, smoky earthiness, pepper, roasted meats, and coffee. Huge, massive, unctuously textured, and extraordinarily youthful, this impressive wine is a candidate for perfection. It should continue to evolve over the next three decades.
1990 Penfolds Bin 920. Parker 93. Deep garnet colored, the nose here is slightly closed to begin and needs a few moments to open, revealing earthy / evolved notes of dried mulberries, figs, tobacco leaf, dried Mediterranean herbs, dusty earth and a hint of aniseed. Medium to full bodied, it is very rich in the mouth with a firm level of grainy tannins, very crisp acid and a good long finish.
2003 Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Da Capo. Parker 100. For the fourth time, the Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee da Capo has been produced, and for the fourth time, it has received a perfect score although I might back off the 2000’s perfect score based on the fact that it seems to be more of an upper-ninety point wine than pure perfection these days. The 2003 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee da Capo has distanced itself ever so slightly from the 2003 Cuvee Reservee. Before bottling and immediately after bottling, these two wines’ differences were not as evident. At present the Capo reveals that extra level of flavor, power, complexity and richness. It is a big wine (16.1% alcohol – less than in the 1998, but more than in the 2000 and 2007) boasting a dark plum/garnet color as well as a stunning bouquet of aged beef intermixed with pepper, herbes de Provence, and steak au poivre. This unctuously textured, full-bodied Chateauneuf possesses enormous body, huge flavors and sweet, velvety tannins. Still youthful, it has not yet begun to close down, and I’m not sure it ever will given this unusual vintage. It is a modern day classic that should continue to provide provocative as well as compelling drinking for 20-30+ years.
1996 Guigal Cote Rotie la Landonne. Parker 93-96. The 1996 Cote Rotie La Landonne is a wine with tremendous intensity and tannin, as well as a pronounced roasted herb, smoked meat, and Asian spice-scented nose with tell-tale black fruits, melted tar, and truffle notions in the background. Rich, powerful, and massive, this effort will require 3-4 years of cellaring, and will last for two decades.
New Zealand Lamb T-Bones with cabernet sauce (sort of Bordelaise, but not as good). The lamb was very tasty, but the bones in the middle were hard to see and made sawing the meat out tricky.
Bine-in Kansas City Filet Mignon.
I’m guessing this was the veal with a rub (blackened?).
And a steak with a rub cut open.
Just a little wine on the table (and remember, this is about 1/4 of the room!).
2008 Caldwell in a giant signed magnum!
2008 Screaming Eagle Second Flight. Parker 92. The 2008 Second Flight emerges from the glass with black cherries, plums, mocha, espresso and chocolate. This is an especially round, rich vintage for Second Flight. All the elements are in the right place, but overall, 2008 does not appear to be one of the estate’s very finest years. Of course, that is in relative terms. The 2008 is 53% Cabernet Sauvignon and 47% Merlot.
2006 Hundred Acre Cabernet Sauvignon. Parker 96-100. Finally in the bottle, the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon is the only wine from that vintage I tasted. Most of these wines spend 38-40 months in barrel and as a result seem to be remarkably elegant and complex without showing any new oak. This cuvee is a selection from Kayli Morgan that has been aged longer. Notes of spice box, white chocolate, espresso and sweet black cherries and black currants tumble from the glass of this full-bodied, round, generously endowed wine that has no hard edges.
2009 Hundred Acre Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Parker 94-100. The 2009 wraps around the palate with layers of dark fruit. Seamless, rich and inviting, the 2009 is pure opulence and richness. Bittersweet chocolate, mocha, plums and spice box are some of the many notes that flow through to the rich, enveloping finish. A round, layered wine, the 2009 stands out for its depth and total plushness.
2001 Clarendon Hills Astralis (Shiraz). Parker 99. The 2001 Syrah Astralis Vineyard may be just as compelling as the 2002. Tighter because of being in the bottle, it is an extraordinary effort that offers the essence of graphite, blackberry liqueur, espresso, and acacia flowers, all combining into an olfactory smorgasbord for the senses. Sensationally concentrated, with sweet tannin, but neither weighty nor over the top as might be expected for a wine of such extreme richness, it is an extraordinarily well-delineated Syrah that should hit its prime in 10-12 years, and last for 30-40. Hail Caesar … I mean Roman!
2010 Château d’Abzac. This was for testing the Coravin.
Now the sides: Lobster twice baked potato!
Truffled cheese fries. These were pretty amazing and VERY creamy.
Apple hazelnut brussel sprouts.
Crab & Black truffle gnocchi. Amazing!
Mac-N-Cheese. Good too. Nice and creamy.
My plate, loaded. This nearly did me in — although it was awesome. As Larry said, I hit my wall. About halfway through the plate I just had to pause for a while.
An awesome time was had by all.
2004 Tokaj Hétszőlő Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos.
1992 Fonseca Vintage Port. Parker 97. Fonseca has scored in both the 1991 and 1992 vintages. The 1992 is a majestic young port that should ultimately rival, perhaps even surpass this house’s most recent great efforts (1985, 1977, 1970, 1963). This colossal vintage port reveals a nearly opaque black/purple color, and an explosive nose of jammy black fruits, licorice, chocolate, and spices. Extremely full-bodied and unctuously-textured, this multi-layered, enormously-endowed port reveals a finish that lasts for over a minute. It is a magnificent port that will age well for 30-40 years.
Cookies and ice cream (yummy).
These were some solid desserts, but I still think Mastros has the most uber desserts, all those giant well down classics. However, usually by the time one gets here, the tank is pretty damn full!
Ron brought out this ancient brandy for his official birthday moment. Good stuff — and it’ll put hair on your chest.
They gave him his cake with an impressive sparkler!
Michael Carpenter, one of our members and a wine dealer, was trying out this cool recent gadget. I bought one myself a couple weeks ago and it’s awesome. The Coravin is essentially a hollow needle that punches through a cork, allowing argon to be injected and wine to be sucked out. The cork then resealed and you have stolen some wine from the bottle without opening it!
Our lovely and helpful server!
Overall, this was a knock out evening. We had a great crowd and incredible wine. The restaurant really took care of us and I was pleasantly surprised at how good the food was. Everything was extremely tasty, from the caesar, to the incredible crab.
Afterward, we broke up into two separate after-parties. Us Westsiders went next door to the Ye Olde King’s Head pub and cracked open one of my bottles.
From my cellar, 1970 Gros Frère et Sœur Vosne-Romanée. 92 points. It was still very much alive and drinking quite beautifully. A veritable chameleon in the glass, the aromas kept changing every time I brought the glass to my nose. First sour cherries, then papaya, then raspberries, then red clay, then lemon rind, then caramel — it was intoxicating. The palate, on the other hand, was a bit simple and one-dimensional, but I thought the nose more than made up for it. A lovely wine!
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