Location: 624 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036. (310) 362-6115
Date: March 4, 2014
Cuisine: Modern Bistro French
Rating: Nice (loud) space, tasty hip food, great service
Republique is certainly one of LA’s most anticipated recent openings. Taking over the gorgeous old Campanile space, this replacement is helmed by Walter Manzke and Margarita Manzke (of Church & State and Milo & Olive). As you’ll see, while the core cuisine marries Brasserie with neo-tapas, this is a place that draws intensely on the current (2013-14) trends. LA Zeitgeist for sure.
This is my second visit, and like the first, it was arranged by the awesome Liz Lee of The Sage Society, wine dealer, and overall awesome foodie. Tonight she staged an epic Jadot wine tasting featuring 17 of the domains fabulous wines spanning nearly 40 years — plus, a custom food pairing by Walter Manzke. Also attending our dinner is Jadot master winemaker Frederick Barnier.
Flight 0: Champagne
2004 Taittinger Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne. Parker 96. It’s fascinating to taste the 2004 Brut Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne after the 2002, something I have been able to do on a few occasions. The 2004 is all about minerality, precision and tension. It doesn’t have the sheer richness or power of the 2002, but it makes up for that with its crystalline purity and sheer energy. Bright hints of lemon oil, white flowers and crushed rocks are layered into the pointed, vibrant finish.
Eggs on Toast. santa barbara uni, soft-scrambled eggs. The eggs substantially cut the briny quality of the uni. The taste was great, but I had two textural/physical problems with it. One, the bread was very toasted and hard to bite through, and so cut the mouth.
Taylor and his gang took the wine service to a new level. Not only did they have all these individually staged glasses, but they: opened and tested the wines beforehand, put little labels on every glass with the wine and vintage, and seasoned each glass properly with the correct wine (rarely done anymore). There were two bottles of almost everything and 14 people so the pours were huge too! Bravo.
Flight 1: Young 1re Whites
2009 Louis Jadot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Pucelles. Burghound 91-93. This is also quite expressive with a ripe, high-toned and wonderfully fresh nose of honeysuckle, acacia blossom and spiced pear. The rich, full and very fleshy medium-bodied flavors possess a seductive mouth feel as well as excellent complexity on the intense and highly persistent finish. I very much like the balance and sense of harmony of this classy effort.
agavin: Rich and surprisingly approachable for such a young 1re crus. Very hedonistic and enjoyable, with lots of vanilla.
2010 Louis Jadot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Pucelles. Burghound 92-94. A notably ripe orchard fruit nose also displays subtle spice notes on the classic honeysuckle and citrus blossom aromas that slide seamlessly into textured, silky and lightly mineral-inflected flavors that possess terrific depth and outstanding length on the mouth coating finish. This is very classy and refined.
agavin: Much more classic, with a powerful minerality and racy acidity. Not as open, but actually more my style.
Flight 2: Young Grand Cru Whites
2010 Louis Jadot Chevalier-Montrachet Les Demoiselles Domaine des Héritiers Louis Jadot. Burghound 95. A gorgeously elegant if highly restrained nose of citrus, acacia blossom and pungent wet stone aromas trimmed in just enough wood to notice is stunning. Not surprisingly, the medium-bodied flavors are much finer than those of the Bâtard or Corton-Charlemagne though not quite as big or powerful. The strikingly intense, lingering and impeccably well-balanced finish radiates minerality and the overall sense of harmony is flat out superb. A knockout, even by the incredible standards of this wine.
agavin: A great wine, if baby young. Surprisingly expressive considering.
2010 Louis Jadot Montrachet. Burghound 94-97. This is completely different and trades elegance for notably more aromatic complexity as here the nose is impressively broad-ranging with its panoply of ripe orchard fruit, rose, lavender and white flower nuances coupled with notes of citrus peel, stone and spices. There is a discreet touch of wood on the exceptionally rich, powerful and strikingly well-concentrated broad-shouldered flavors that brim with mouth coating dry extract before culminating in a massively long finish where, once again, the balance is flawless.
agavin: Like a cobra coiled in the glass. Tight, tight, tight, but with so much power.
Flight 3: Old Grand Cru Whites
1990 Louis Jadot Chevalier-Montrachet Les Demoiselles Domaine des Héritiers Louis Jadot. 95 points. It began like an impenetrable block of wax, but continually opened up and evolved over the entire evening, developing flavors of crême brulée, lemon custard, caramel, and exotic spices. Not an especially powerful wine for a grand cru white Burg, but superbly graceful and weightless. Also lacked the ultimate grip as the acidity was not high, but the subtle, sugary finish was still long and stunning. I could have smelled the empty glass all night long – those who had still had some left at the end of the dinner were singing its praises.
agavin: We had two bottles and the first one was a stunner and the second enjoyable, but more oxidized. The first was in an impeccable place.
1974 Louis Jadot Corton-Charlemagne Domaine des Héritiers Louis Jadot. Burghound 84. Very advanced nose of truffles, yeast and dried orchard fruits with remarkably fresh flavors that are quite rich and honeyed though avoid clumsiness or undue weight. The length is solid though this is more about the vintage than Corton-Charlemagne.
agavin: Burghound may not love this wine, but we did. In a lot of ways it was a 98 point wine. Just fabulously interesting and full of nots of botrytis, honey and flowers, almost like a dry D’Yquem (Ygrec).
agavin: This was the weekest of the flight. Certainly fascinating, but it had a bit of weird sour quality and sherry notes. Definitely would have been better a few years ago.
Spaghetti with Main Lobster. An absolutely stunning simple pasta. There were carrots in here with added some nice texture too. This is like a high class (lobster) version of a typical fabulous Neapolitan dish.
Flight 4: Young 1re Cru Reds
2010 Louis Jadot Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Fuées. Burghound 92. There is a discreet application of wood to the elegant, pure and lightly spiced nose of layered black raspberry and cassis nose that is also barely visible on the mineral-driven, intense and tension-filled medium-bodied flavors. There is excellent volume and plenty of mid-palate stuffing because while this is certainly a wine of finesse, it does not lack for character or seriously impressive persistence on the gorgeously balanced if distinctly austere finish. A wine of class and grace that will need plenty of cellar time as it has already begun to shut down.
2010 Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux St. Jacques. Burghound 91-93. Reduction renders the nose difficult to properly assess but there is good verve and intensity to the well-delineated and strongly mineral-inflected middle weight flavors that display a bit of wood toast. Like the Gevrey villages there is a lovely sense of underlying tension on the overtly austere, dry and clean finish that evidences outstanding depth and length. This is still very tight and compact but the material and balance are present to allow this to really blossom over the next 12 to 15 years.
Flight 5: Young Grand Cru Reds
2010 Louis Jadot Corton-Pougets Domaine des Héritiers Louis Jadot. Burghound 94. A highly complex nose speaks of pure wet stone, fresh cassis and ripe plum aromas. There is excellent detail to the mineral-driven and tension-filled sleekly muscular flavors that culminate in a precise, linear and driving finish that offers superb balance, wonderful depth and stunning length. As it always is, this is a relatively fine Corton; indeed it is consistently one of the most refined Corton reds made but note that is has an almost uncanny ability to age. In short, this is fabulous.
agavin: Young, but the complexity was highly seductive.
2011 Louis Jadot Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. Burghound 93-95. There is also enough oak influence to notice though not enough to materially detract from the high-toned and overtly spicy red currant, cherry and plum suffused nose. There is a lovely minerality to the supple, forward and refined middle weight plus flavors that possess a wonderfully refined mouth feel before culminating in a long, powerful, concentrated and palate drenching finish. While not truly a wine of finesse in the same sense as a fine Chambolle or Volnay, this is relatively subtle as the supporting tannins have the same fine grain as the best of these 2011s.
agavin: Young, and a structured monster, but surprisingly forward.
2009 Louis Jadot Clos St. Denis. Burghound 92. A ripe and notably somber but attractively spicy nose blends both red and blue berry fruit with earth nuances that can also be found on the rich, round, supple and refined medium-bodied tobacco and tar-suffused flavors that possess excellent, if not truly special, depth and length on the dusty, sappy and ever-so-mildly austere finish. However, like the Clos de Vougeot, it just feels as though there is more here than is presently being reflected and again, my score reflects this optimism that it will surface in time.
agavin: At the start particularly, the most closed of these babies.
Flight 6: Old Vosne Romanee
1990 Louis Jadot Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Suchots. 95 points. Beautiful and elegant. Strawberries, cherries and forest floor with a goregous nose and an elegant frame. This was not overripe at all…just delicious fruit with some nice secondardy charatcteristics.
agavin: Also incredibly enjoyable, but still structured enough that it easily needs 10 years!
This dish was a total stunner. That white blob was a kind of terrine of pork and I don’t know what, and the soup was a classic souper (haha) savory chicken. The whole thing was so much savory / unami and truffle. Really amazing.
1990 Louis Jadot Corton-Pougets Domaine des Héritiers Louis Jadot. Burgound 92. A ripe and now mostly secondary nose of earth, spice, leather and hints of animale lead to rich yet elegant flavors underpinned by still noticeable but not hard tannins and a mineral-infused finish that offers admirable length and depth. This is aging beautifully and while ripe, the balance is such that the wine should continue to hold at this level for years though I don’t forsee much if any additional improvement from here. In short, a very successful ’90.
agavin: Wonderful, and from magnum, still oh so young.
1990 Louis Jadot Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. Burghound 91. From a bottle in the big Chambertin and Clos de Bèze tasting: Somewhat stewed, roasted fruit nose cut with very ripe earth and pungent, very ripe plum/prune notes. The flavors are big, very structured and intense but without sufficient mid-palate sap to completely buffer than and thus this finishes with an edgy, dry, slightly astringent quality. Perfectly good but not better and I found this wine a bit perplexing because the 1990 Clos St. Jacques is a really beautiful effort. 88/2005-12 Note: from a bottle tasted in October of ’04 – While the aromatics are certainly quite ripe, indeed even slightly roasted, this bottle delivered much more youthful, balanced, intense and savory flavors that displayed only a touch of the finishing astringency of the above example. While not destined to be a genuinely great wine, it’s certainly a fine effort.
agavin: Fabulous, way better than 91 points, but still young.
1988 Louis Jadot Bonnes Mares. IWC 91. Medium, developing red, less saturated than the ’89. Subtly perfumed nose combines red berry liqueur and cherry with a cooler berry aspect, complicated by dark chocolate and underbrush. Dense with extract but quite laid-back. In fact this is rather austere, with firm acidity, a faint herbal character and excellent flavor definition. Not really rich or expressive but has spine and verve. Finishes with fine tannins and very good length. “We picked in early October, later than most. The maturity came late and the wine shows its acidity. We did our best to protect the suave side of the vintage.”
agavin: 88 was a funny year, but this was the most open and drinkable wine of the flight.
Overall, Republique is a first rate place. It updates the classic French fare in a way that is contemporary without being ultra modern. And it infuses that Frenchness with a distinct (and very LA) Asian sensibility. It’s light, but significant and very umami. This is my second visit and the food was even better (and it was great before). Really on point and exciting without being too formal. They also put on a spot on event. The private room upstairs is much cozier and quieter than the giant noisy hall. They had everything down to a T. From the A++ sommelier service to the perfectly cooked and timed food. Really not an easy task.
I’ll certainly be back.