Location: 5955 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038. (323) 460-4170
Date: April 9, 2014
Cuisine: Cal French
Rating: Awesome food
After the joyous chaos that was the last Hedonist epic Burgundy Dinner at Jiraffe, our fearless leader Yarom was under some pressure to reign things into a more manageable format with food more in keeping with the stellar wines (Jiraffe has very good food, but we just ordered 2 courses ala cart for 25+ wines!). So that lead us to Providence, which along with Melisse is one of LA’s best upscale restaurants.
This time we have a custom pre-arranged menu and a private room, plus only 12 people. All good things, as when you get more than 12 people it is hard to pour a single bottle of wine around (plus more than 12-14 wines is a little out of control).
And, we had our own full time Somm. We sure kept him busy as he was working furiously and non-stop from the moment we arrived until the end. Dealing with 12-14 wines, 150+ glasses, and all the associated management and pouring is a lot of work!
1978 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon. 97 RJ Wine. Light medium apricot gold color; beeswax, tart lemon, baked citrus, honey nose; tasty, gorgeous, medium bodied, rich, tart lemon, tart kumquat, mineral, tart apricot palate with great balance; long finish.
agavin: I found the wine to have an oxidized (mature) character. I was skeptical at first, but it REALLY grew on me. A great (very) mature Champagne. I wouldn’t hold though!
2005 Louis Latour Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet. Burghound 92. Compared to the opulence of the typical Criots, this is discreet to the point of being subtle but the aromatic breadth here is really quite impressive and is set of by a deft touch of wood and hints of anise and clove that can also be found on the rich, full and powerful flavors that possess plenty of mid-palate fat and dry extract yet the finish is clean, pure and well balanced. Often wines this big and ripe come across as heavy but this one isn’t.
agavin: Our bottle was badly premoxed. Tasted like dry sherry.
2005 Domaine Ramonet Bâtard-Montrachet. Burghound 91. An exotic, indeed even tropical fruit nose is trimmed in ample wood toast that introduces rich, full, forward and sweet flavors that possess excellent depth and density yet perhaps not quite the elegance and precision that I’m used to seeing with this wine. To be sure, it could just be an early stage and that this will tighten up with time in bottle but it’s unusually accessible at present. The benefit of the doubt is offered as the track record is too good not to do so.
agavin: What a difference. This had that strong reductive quality that I love in good white Burgundies. A young wine, but a nice long finish too.
Delicious. Lots of different ingredients, but when you got them all together it really sang with strong unami notes.
2003 Louis Latour Bâtard-Montrachet. Burghound 92. This too is quite aromatically expressive and while this is no model of finesse either, both the aromatic and flavor profiles possess stunning complexity and in contrast to most big, sappy and muscular white, this manages to retain an unusually fine sense of balance and delivers a palate staining finish. It’s dramatic but there’s substance behind the size and weight.
agavin: Sorry Louis, 1 for 3. This bottle was also badly Premoxed.
2005 Louis Latour Montrachet. Burghound 94. Aromatically this resembles the Corton-Charlemagne with its backward, cool and reserved nose that offers a bit of everything including spice, brioche, brown butter, acacia blossom, pear, peach and even a hint of the exotic that introduces full-bodied, serious, textured, powerful and sleekly muscled flavors that are both classy and stylish, all wrapped in a hugely long finish. A dramatic and impressive Monty that will require ample patience as it’s not open for business today.
agavin: This bottle was in solid shape, and tasty enough, but truth be told, both the Ramonet Batard and the Morey Blanc were better wines.
1993 Domaine Ponsot Clos de la Roche Vieilles Vignes. Burghound 87. Despite this wine’s vaunted reputation, I have frankly never understood what all the excitement is about. It displays muted, earthy, somewhat dull fruit followed by medium weight, slightly woody flavors (though not new wood) underpinned by supple tannins and barely average length. To be sure, there is nothing wrong with the wine, it just fails to scale the heights achieved by many of the great Ponsot Clos de la Roche vintages of the past.
agavin: I agree with Meadows. This was an enjoyable (and probably slightly past prime) wine, but it was a bit a-kilter, a hair cloudy, with a little bitterness on the finish.
1997 Hubert Lignier Clos de la Roche. Burghound 91. A very ripe but not roasted nose of spicy red pinot fruit trimmed in subtle earth and underbrush notes leads to elegant and moderately powerful flavors that deliver much better than average delineation than is typically found in this vintage. This is not an espeically big or dense wine yet there is a lovely inner force and though the flavors have not quite arrived at their peak, neither are they too far off. I would hold for another 2 to 3 years and drink this over the ensuing 5 to 8.
agavin: A much nicer CDLR. This was young even, ripe, with still a bit of oak on it. Long singing fruit finish.
Risotto. Wild mushrooms, parmesan. This was a very mild risotto, and went very well with the wine. I actually thought it was the weakest dish, but it was still great, the food was just really on point tonight and it could have used a cheesier quality.
1988 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Bonnes Mares. Burghound 87. Quite elegant and pure pinot aromas that don’t offer a great deal of complexity and the flavors are supple, rounded and while there is no astringency, there isn’t a great deal of Bonnes Mares character either. There is good balance and acceptable length but it is surprisingly light and forward for both the vintage and the appellation. Drinking well now.
agavin: Despite Meadow’s reserved rating, this was a really tasty wine. Lots of fruit and while it had powerful tannins, it didn’t have that coiled austere quality that so many 88s have.
agavin: We loved this wine. It had that Leroy thing. Long, long finish, and lots of complexity. Pale strawberries. Really nice.
From my cellar: 1983 Domaine Clair-Daü Bonnes Mares. John Kapon 94. The 1983 Clair Dau Bonnes Mares was excellent, and another solid 1983, which I have been enjoying here and there over the past couple years. Black licorice dominated initially, opening up into nutty, Burgundian fruit. The flavors were also licorice, and the wine was fleshy and tasty with a nice finish, in a good spot and a good showing for this oft forgotten vintage in Burgundy.
agavin: I’m biased, as it was my wine and older (which I like), but this was clearly WOTN for me. I’m glad too because I have 4 more bottles. It really sung. Long, long berry finish.
2003 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Richebourg. Burghound 93. This too is very aromatically reserved with only glimpses of spicy and exotic perfume that speak of very ripe, even slightly surmature crushed berries, plum and spice because even though the nose is reticent, the intensity of the fruit is magnificent. The flavors are opulent and sumptuously proportioned with massive amounts of sap and dry extract that completely stains and coats the palate before exploding on the hugely long finish. Yes, this is a big, indeed enormous wine but one that never loses its sense of balance and the velvety backend largely buffers the very firm tannins. There is not necessarily great complexity yet but this is the one wine in the range that could easily surprise to the upside as the raw material here is exceptional and while the style is clearly particular relative to what it normally delivers, it has that “wow’ factor.
Bonus bottle from Larry: 1999 Faiveley Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. Burghound 93. Big, spicy and intense aromas are presently framed by more oak than this wine usually displays young yet there is such impressive density of both fruit and flavors that it should absorb it over the next couple of years. That niggle noted, this is very classy juice with terrific complexity, breed and excellent length. As such, while this should drink relatively early for a Clos de Bèze, the balance and overall harmony are such that I suspect this will live for a long time.
agavin: Meadows was pretty on here.
Liberty Farms duck (sonoma county). Zuckerman farms colossal asparagus, almond, morels. Wow, this was a great dish. Some of the best duck I’ve had (other than really good Peking duck) in a long time. Paired fabulously too.
Overall, a first rate evening. On of our best fancy Hedonist events yet as it was intimate and under control. The company and conversation were great.
The wines varied a bit from solid to spectacular. The way to really hit it in Burgundy is to go: great vintage, great producer, great vineyard, but because of the sky high cost, most of these wines hit on only 1 or 2 of these axises. Still, some of them were really lovely wines. Next time we should try Burghound score of 94+ and 1999 or older (for red).
The food was pretty awesome. I was skeptical before coming, as we didn’t have a ton of courses (last time I was here I had 12-16), but it ended up being enough food and really really delicious. The kitchen totally nailed it. Every dish was delicious. They also really took care of us. The private room was great, the Somm was great, table service was great. Rock on Providence!