Restaurant: Old Sasoon Bakery
Date: February 21, 2014
Rating: Great meat!
My Hedonist group periodically does big cookouts at member’s homes. Tonight’s theme is Whole Stuffed Lamb, catered by Old Sassoon Bakery, a Glendale Armenian place.
Such is our wonderful weather in LA that even in February it’s possible to have an enjoyable dinner on the patio!
Mohammera. A spicy mix of walnuts, bread crumbs, paprika, pepper paste, and pomegranate juice. I love mohammera, and have even made it. This was (by my taste) a fairly mild version of this dish, but as usual, I loved it.
Hummos. Chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice and spices. Topped with extra virgin olive oil and a bit of sumac. This was some great hummos, and very fresh.
The whole roast lamb, stuffed with savory rice pilaf, ground beef, nuts, and spices. The meat here was dark, full of flavor, and fell right off the bones. The only thing missing was some yogurt sauce.
Tonight we had a lot of people and a lot of wines. It would be too difficult to mix the wines in with the food so I’ll just picture and list them below. The guests spanned some of us serious collectors to the mere wine appreciators, so the bottles form a mix from the sublime to the ordinary (by our standards).
2005 Pierre Péters Champagne Grand Cru Cuvée Speciale Blanc de Blancs Les Chetillons. IWC 93. Bright yellow-gold. Heady aromas of fresh nectarine, lemon, honeysuckle and ginger are complemented by deeper notes of smoky lees and brioche. Bright citrus zest and quince flavors give way to richer melon and pit fruits with air while maintaining impressive verve and cut. Shows a chewy, dense character without coming off as heavy. Really clings to the palate on the back end, finishing spicy and quite long. I’d have no guilt about polishing off a bottle right now.
2002 Joseph Drouhin Bâtard-Montrachet. Burghound 93. The toast hints this displayed early on have been completely integrated and now the nose is a mix of pure and seductively attractive honeysuckle and white flower aromas that merge seamlessly with gorgeous, round, strikingly powerful and wonderfully textured flavors that offer a fantastic combination of muscle, sweet extract, superb focus and outstanding length. This is exceptionally good Bâtard with simply amazing fruit/acid balance and the still moderately structured finish suggests that this will require a few more years in the cellar to really unwind. An excellent Bâtard.
I agree with Meadows: an excellent Bâtard.
2004 Aubert Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard. IWC 95. Slightly hazy appearance. Musky, highly complex aromas of crystallized lemon peel, pineapple and smoke. Fat and sweet but shapely, with wonderfully tactile flavors of pineapple, grapefruit and minerals. As round and seamlessly sweet as this is, there’s a restraint to the fruit thanks to its terrific acid/alcohol balance. Finishes chewy and gripping, with powerful ripe fruit flavors. This is from a ’71 planting; perhaps due to the age of the vines, the crop level here was a fairly normal 2.5 tons per acre, while Aubert’s other three chardonnays, from younger vines, were in the 1 to 1.5 ton range. This vineyard was harvested last, in mid-September, after the extended heat wave subsided.
I liked the Batard more, but this was a very nice new world Chardonnay.
2010 Henri Boillot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos de la Mouchère. Burghound 93. This is slightly riper and notably more complex than the straight Puligny villages but the aromatic composition is similar save for the trace of mineral reduction that is present here. The racy, intense and strikingly well-delineated flavors possess that really lovely sense of underlying tension that adds lift to the stony, linear and bone dry finish. This is a knockout.
Very young, and a total acid bomb, but highly seductive.
2009 Sine Qua Non On The Lam. IWC 94. (48% roussanne, 34% chardonnay and 18% viognier) Vivid gold. Intense, floral-accented scents of orange zest, pit fruit and candied ginger. Powerful and broad but surprisingly energetic, offering sappy, palate-staining citrus marmalade and peach flavors lifted by tangy acidity. A suave honey note comes up with air and carries through the long, spicy finish.
Extremely perfumed. An unusual and complex white.
From my cellar: 1998 Domaine Anne Gros Clos Vougeot Le Grand Maupertui. Burghound 91. This has finally begun to turn secondary with a soaring nose of spicy plum and moderately earthy aromas that are trimmed in a bit of wood while introducing intense, austere and equally earthy full-bodied flavors that buffer the softening if slightly astringent tannins with impressive sève, all wrapped in a long and strikingly complex finish. At 14 years of age, this is at the inflexion point where it could be drunk by those who like still powerful flavors or, for those who prefer more mature nuances, this could easily be held for another five years or so. Aside from the small amount of residual wood, this has aged beautifully and is just now coming into its own.
Sadly this bottle had a little brett on it, reducing the pleasure.
1978 Château Mont-Redon Châteauneuf-du-Pape. View From the Cellar 95. Medium garnet colour, very bright and clear. Mature nose of medium intensity, with dried fruit, wet cedar wood and earthy forest floor, incense and sweet spice. Palate is medium bodied, elegant and velvety with dried plummy fruit, notes of chocolate, some floral nuances and sweet spice. Finish is medium with just a hint of tannins. Acidity is medium and mouthfell is velvety. Complete mature and complex wine, lovely.
One of my favorite wines of the night. Still a tone of grapey fruit.
1983 Penfolds Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 707. The nose offered a faint hint of blackberry, overlaid with wonderful cedary cigar-box aromas. This smelt uncannily like fine Bordeaux! The palate is now about silky textures, not fruit. ThereÂ’s a velvety sheen to the wine, tannins fully resolved into the gentlest of astringencies – no volatility to speak of but still wonderfully fresh. Medium–bodied in weight, but with exquisite length, this wine is just so beautifully balanced.
1997 Guigal Cote Rotie la Turque. Parker 96. The dense purple-colored, profound 1997 Cote Rotie La Turque (5-7% Viognier added to the blend) offers creme de cassis, licorice, and espresso aromas as well as notions of melted asphalt. Compared to La Mouline, it has additional layers as well as structure, sweet tannin, and exhilarating levels of opulence and ripe fruit.
Our bottle was a little corked.
From my cellar: 2001 Guigal Cote Rotie la Turque. Parker 95-97. Meaty and rich, with notes of Asian spices, espresso roast, creosote, blackberries, and cherries, the 2001 Cote Rotie La Turque is an earthy, powerful, tannic effort with a long, heady, rich finish, and crisper acids than the 2000. Give it 5-8 years of cellaring, and consume it over the following 20-25 years.
1997 Guigal Cote Rotie la Landonne. Parker 98. The nearly perfect 1997 Cote Rotie La Landonne is an amazing achievement for the vintage. An astonishing saturated purple color is followed by scents of licorice, roasted meats, coffee, toasty oak, plums, and blackberries. The wine is extremely smoky, earthy, and terroir-driven. This 1997 offers exceptional expansiveness on the palate, sweet tannin, low acidity, and a ripe, robust finish. One to three years of cellaring is warranted, but it is capable of lasting for two decades.
Also drinking great.
I thought it was gone. Bretty and unpleasant.
1989 Calon Segur. Parker 88. This property has turned in a very good effort in 1989. It possesses a deep ruby/garnet color, a sweet, chewy, dense texture, full body, plenty of alcohol, and moderately high tannin. Quite precocious, it will have a life span of at least 15 years. It reminded me of a downsized version of the 1982, but slightly more rustic.
1995 Gruaud Larose. Parker 89. Revealing more grip and tannin since bottling, the 1995 Gruaud-Larose exhibits a dark ruby color, and a nose of sweet black cherries, licorice, earth, and spice. Rich, with medium to full body, high tannin, and subtle oak in the background, the 1995 is nearly as structured and tannic as the 1996. The two vintages are more similar than dissimilar.
2003 Pape Clement. Parker 94. Deep garnet. Some cedar is still apparent on the very youthful nose, slightly masking the otherwise attractive cranberry, plums and cassis fruit aromas with a whiff of cloves. The palate is well balanced with medium to high acidity and medium to firm, ripe, velvety tannins. Long finish.
2006 Montrose. Parker 94+. The first vintage under new owner Martin Bouygues,who convinced Jean-Bernard Delmas to come out of retirement to produce this wine, the 2006 Montrose is an undeniable success. A blend of approximately two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon, one-third Merlot, and a tiny dollop of Petit Verdot, the most dramatic difference between the 2006, and wines made by the previous administration is that Jean Delmas produces wines with sweeter, silkier tannins, although analytically, they are as high as those found in the great Montrose vintages of the past. The 2006 is extraordinarily elegant and finesse-styled, but it exhibits stunningly concentrated, sweet blackberry and cassis fruit with hints of flowers and minerals. Full-bodied with a savory, expansive mid-palate as well as sweet, noble tannins, this beauty will benefit from 3-4 years of bottle age, and should drink well for 20-25+ years.
Nice, although still young.
2009 Lynch Bages. Parker 98. Performing even better from bottle than it did from barrel, this appears to be the finest Lynch Bages since the 2000, 1990 and 1989. According to the chateau, the 2009 has the highest level of polyphenols ever measured as well as high alcohol (nearly 13.5%). A blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest largely Merlot with touches of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, it is an expressive, voluptuously textured effort with unctuosity and powerful, juicy, succulent blackberry and black currant flavors, low acids, a layered, massive mouthfeel, but no sense of heaviness or fatigue. This exquisite Lynch Bages should drink well for 30+ years.
2005 Tenuta dell’Ornellaia Masseto. Parker 94. The 2005 Masseto comes across as fresh, vibrant and beautifully delineated. It is a mid-weight wine that will most likely age along the lines of some of the more slender years from the 1980s. Today the 2005 impresses for its length and sheer energy. In this tasting the 2005 comes across as a bit out of place in a flight of wines from ‘challenging’ vintages. The 2005 is a striking Masseto.
Wound up a little tight (i.e., too young).
2002 Marquis Philips Shiraz Integrity. Parker 94-99. The virtually perfect, limited production (1,000 cases) cuvee of 2002 Shiraz Integrity is a 100% Shiraz fashioned from four specific vineyard blocks (surprisingly young vines of 4-6 years in age). It boasts terrific minerality, structure, definition, and prodigious levels of concentration as well as perfume. An inky/black color is followed by aromas of melted road tar, licorice, Asian spices, sweet creme de cassis as well as blackberries, and a hint of acacia flowers. There is compelling density, great purity, and tremendous viscosity, yet it is not over the top. There is real definition/delineation to this large-scaled Shiraz. It was aged in 100% new American oak for 13 months. A tour de force in winemaking, it stood out as one of the most singular and greatest wines I tasted for this report.
Like an explosive grape bomb.
2001 Kongsgaard Syrah Hudson Vineyard. Parker 96. The 2001 Syrah may be the finest yet produced by Kongsgaard. It is a dead ringer for a more exotic version of Chapoutier’s great Le Pavillon (from 80+ year old vines planted in granite soils on the Hermitage Hill). Aromas of white chocolate, ground pepper, blackberries, cassis liqueur, and flowers (lilacs?) is followed by a wine of great density, a certain exoticism, and powerful, thick, huge flavors oozing with extract, glycerin, and personality. There is also considerable tannin as well as decent acidity. This is about as close to a northern Rhone as Kongsgaard Syrahs get. Look for this 2001 to tighten up considerably, and be at its finest between 2007-2020.
2008 Monteverro Monteverro. Parker 93. The 2008 Monteverro is a superb wine from the Tuscan coast. Dark wild cherries, sweet herbs, mocha, espresso and spices are some of the notes that flow from this beautifully balanced, large-scaled red. This shows marvelous depth and nuance, not to mention exceptional harmony. Monteverro is Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot that spent 18 months in French oak. This is an impressive debut. Ideally the wine needs another year or two for the French oak to settle down.
2009 Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon Monsieur Ètain. Parker 93. The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon M. Etain is dark, rich, sumptuous and highly expressive. A totally voluptuous wine, the 2009 flows across the palate with layers of dark fruit. Stylistically, the M. Etain is very close to the Scarecrow Cabernet in this vintage, although it has less aromatic complexity and depth. Hints of smoke, tobacco, incense and licorice are layered into the juicy, mid-weight finish.
2006 Shafer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select. Parker 96-97. The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select, which was just released, is a stunningly rich effort displaying notes of licorice, cassis, camphor and subtle toast along with a full-bodied, powerful texture and richness. Very pure with surprisingly sweet tannins for a 2006, it’s long finish lasts over 40 seconds. It should drink well for 25+ years.
2008 Terredora di Paolo Aglianico Campania IGT. 86 points. Nose is fairly muted, both right after opening and a day later. Good color, palate is fairly bright with acidity but that also is a bit muted. Flavor is massive sour cherries and some slight meaty component. It’s a good mid week meal wine.
2003 Quinta do Noval Porto Vintage. IWC 94. Saturated deep ruby. Sweet aromas of black cherry, cassis, licorice, molasses, minerals, toffee and violet. Dense, sweet and pliant, with outstanding precision and depth of flavor. Like the Silval, this boasts a seductively creamy texture. The explosive, mounting finish offers a fine dusting of ripe, suave tannins and great breadth. Deceptively easy to taste today owing to its finesse, but it’s hard to believe that it won’t shut down in bottle in the near future. This wine features a particularly high percentage of touriga nacional.
1993 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières. Burghound 94. Superb fruit that is stunningly elegant and pure with a complexity and minerality that is spellbinding, leading to finely detailed, beautifully textured flavors and superb length. There is a presence to this that great wines seem to possess and there is good upside here. Simply dazzling with certain urgency that I find riveting. A genuinely great wine.
1993 Royal Tokaji Wine Co. Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos Mézes Maly. 91 points. Medium golden brown nectar. Powerful, penetrating bouquet of honey and brown sugar. Tremendous density and palate impact yet with a magically light, almost weightless feel to the midpalate and terrific complexity and balancing acidity. Awesome wine, super long finish.
Another stunning Hedonist dinner. These outdoor house parties are a tremendous amount of fun with great food, wine, and company. What more could you ask for?