Restaurant: Starry Kitchen
Location: 943 N Broadway, Los Angeles, Ca, 90012. 213-814-1123
Date: July 31, 2014
Rating: Great fun
Tonight the Hedonists take over Starry Kitchen, a strange sort of vaguely Singaporean / Pan Asian pop up that has gained notoriety in recent years. This was one of these zoo style events with 25 people, a giant table, and around 30+ wines! I don’t think I even photographed them all as it was too chaotic. I have tried to organize them into coherent flights below, but it was anything but at the actual event. Just a free for all. However, there was so much wine that it wasn’t a problem getting any particular bottle. Most took a while to run out. Plus this sort of cuisine goes best (really only) with whites, particularly slightly sweet ones (like Riesling). But this never stops the fans of giant reds — they drink them regardless. Cava. 2002 Delamotte Champagne Blanc de Blancs Millésimé. Burghound 91. A relatively high-toned nose of green apple, baker’s yeast, floral and citrus peel hints precedes the distinctly effervescent, even slightly foamy flavors that possess good depth on the bone dry finish. This is clearly still on its way up as the focused finish is still compact and while this is certainly refreshing and there is enough depth present to make for an interesting drink, it will be better in due course. In sum, there is good development potential and will especially please those who prefer very dry vintage Champagne. 1998 Pierre Péters Champagne Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut Millésimé. IWC 91. Light gold color. Intensely smoky on the nose, with rich nutty and floral aromas of molasses cookie and gingerbread along with a wild fresh herb quality and a whiff of blood orange. The spicy character repeats on the palate, which shows ripe citrus, mineral and apple flavors. Finishes complex and long, with excellent concentration and impressive focus. Tofu balls with puffed rice and sriracha aioli. Interesting outer crunch with inner softness. I’ve no idea what the green is about. 2011 Arkenstone Sauvignon Blanc. 93 points web. 1998 E. Guigal Condrieu La Doriane. IWC 92. Spicy aromas of peach syrup, citrus skin and menthol. Rich, sweet and lush, with superb depth of flavor and extract. Seems both livelier and more structured than the normale, not to mention longer on the back end. Lots of gras here. agavin: grapefruit peel! 2006 Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Spätlese. 96 points. Peach and pineapple with grapefruit and slate. Plenty of ripeness as opposite to outright sweetness on the palate and it retains a feeling of being light on its feet. There is also a sweet and sour element going on which I liked. At a stage in between youth and having development but still enjoyable now. 2003 Joh. Jos. Prüm Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Spätlese. 92 points. There was definitely spritz present, and lots of it. The nose was not giving much. My husband smelled petroleum right away. I thought the nose was strange, but agreed with him that it was petroleum. Then, very slight aromas of honey, peaches, baked dough, and floral came through underneath. On the palate, the wine was rather sweet with taste of honey & fruits. Rather one dimensional, lacks in complexity. Medium finish. This wine is made to pair with food IMHO. I find it more pleasurable to drink this wine with food than without because of the sweetness, and it especially pairs great with spicy dishes. 2002 Joh. Jos. Christoffel Erben Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Auslese. IWC 90. Smoke and brown spice notes on the nose, mingled with strawberry jam. Delicate and airy in the mouth, yet superbly rich in spice and inner-mouth florality. Salty, spicy and not particularly sweet in its long, wafting finish. 1996 Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Rangen de Thann Clos St. Urbain. 91 points. Golden color. Exotic fruit aromas. Velvety texture. Fullbodied and big. Some residual sugar. A lovely, balanced and well drinking wine. Shrimp and pork chili oil wonton. Shredded potatoes. Spicy, and clearly a variant of the schezuan “numb taste wonton.” Not nearly as hot though. 2010 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre. Burghound 93. A wonderfully elegant and highly expressive nose consists of white flower, oyster shell and iodine aromas that are very much in keeping with the powerful yet refined broad-scaled flavors that possess both excellent volume and concentration, all wrapped in an explosive and gorgeously long finish. The combination of punch and civility is most beguiling. 2002 Louis Jadot Corton-Charlemagne Domaine des Héritiers Louis Jadot. Burghound 93. It’s interesting but this is much more feminine and rounder in style than the Le Charlemagne with its distinctly masculine character. This is not as powerful but it’s more elegant with precise, delineated and pure flavors that also enjoy ample amounts of dry extract and awe-inspiring length. agavin: A little premoxed, but drinking nicely. 2012 Gilbert Picq Chablis 1er Cru Vosgros. Burghound 90-92. A beautifully well-layered nose features notes of mineral reduction, green fruit and ocean breeze nuances. There is impressive scale to the concentrated and powerful medium weight flavors that are both intense saline and mineral-inflected on the mouth coating and lingering finish. As is usually the case this is less refined than the Vaucoupin but there’s better underlying material. agavin: drinking really flat right now 2009 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clavoillon. Burghound 91. This is notably riper than the Blagny and the nose plays right on the edge of a certain exoticism as the mostly yellow orchard fruit aromas hint at the presence of mango and papaya. The very rich, round and mouth coating flavors exude plenty of dry extract that buffers the moderately firm acid spine on the lightly mineral-driven and persistent finish. Overall this is really quite pretty and about the only nit is the presence of the barest hint of finishing bitterness that my score assumes will dissipate with a few years of bottle age. agavin: drinking great. Some reduction (which I like). Chinese mustard greens with pancetta. As good as greens get — because bacon makes everything better. 2000 Les Cailloux (Lucien et André Brunel) Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Centenaire. Parker 96. The heady 2000 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Centenaire is more evolved than either the 2001 or 1998. Extremely full-bodied, with low acidity, and a knock-out bouquet of blackberry and cherry jam intermixed with licorice, pepper, and dried Provencal herbs, this sexy, voluptuous, enormously concentrated 2000 possesses a huge, silky, seamless finish. Drink this irresistible effort now and over the next 12-15 years. 2008 François Villard St. Joseph Reflet. 90 points. Fantastic nose. Big pepper with lots of violets and herbs. Lovely balanced even palate. Perfect finishing tannin. Lengthy. Just a terrific wine all around. Pork belly fried rice. Really, how could you go wrong with this? From my cellar: 1993 Domaine Robert Arnoux / Arnoux-Lachaux Echezeaux. Burghound 91. Black spicy fruit trimmed by a deft touch of oak leads to substantially scaled, rich, intense flavors of impressive depth and the elegant breed of a fine Echézeaux is obvious, especially on the exceptionally long finish. I very much like this as it’s both beautifully balanced and offers solid concentration and cellar potential. agavin: tasted much better than the nose. Maybe a tiny bit of brett, but drinking well. 2002 Kistler Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast. 89 points. Drinking decently. Muted cherry and strawberry, slight bricking. 2011 La Bastide Blanche Bandol. 85 points. Dark red color. Tobacco, dirt, black cherry, meat on nose. On palate, full body but nice acidity provides balance. Cherry, sour cherry, garrigue on palate. Medium+ finish. Malaysian chicken curry. A very nice medium hot curry. Chicken fell right off the bone. And it went great on top of the fried rice. 2007 Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes. Parker 98+. The newest special cuvee (introduced in 2006) is the 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes (50% Grenache, 40% Mourvedre, and 10% Syrah). Made from 50- to 100+-year-old vines and aged 18 months in small oak barrels, it is potentially one of the longest lived wines of the vintage. This exquisite, dense purple-colored effort reveals intense but restrained notes of cassis, kirsch, lavender, licorice, and graphite. A wine of great intensity as well as remarkable finesse and elegance, is a full-bodied Chateauneuf that will require plenty of patience. Give it 3-4 years of bottle age, and drink it over the following 25-30. 2009 Bibi Graetz Testamatta. Parker 90. The 2009 Testamatta possesses remarkable depth and power along with tons of textural elegance. There is plenty of Sangiovese character in the dusty red cherries, flowers, licorice and tobacco. The wine’s color and forward bouquet suggest it is on a relatively fast path of evolution. Saffron fish wraps. In there is a interesting mixture of pickles, saffron coated fish, onions, and white rice noodles. Here is the wrap stuff. And the final product. 2010 Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve Vino da Tavola. Parker 97+. Now to a superstar of Italian enology: The 2010 Flaccianello della Pieve will take your breath away. This is a seriously beautiful Sangiovese-based wine with the kind of intensity and aromatic purity you only experience every 1,000 wines or so. There’s a lot to say here. First, the wine’s beautiful appearance shows dark garnet colors with highlights of ruby and purple gemstone. The bouquet delivers a steady and seductive evolution with dark cherry, chocolate, spice, tobacco and sweet almond all seamlessly balanced one against the other. Its texture and inner fabric is rich, velvety and firm. There’s a brilliant spot of acidity that hits you at the back of the mouth and helps the wine from feeling too heavy or dense. In fact, outstanding elegance is what ultimately sets it apart. The temptation to drink it now is huge, but those still young tannins definitely need a few more years to unwind. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2035. Rice, egg, ground hamburger. Mixed up, it actually has a burger like vibe because of the meat and the pickles. But very tasty. 2006 Gemstone Proprietary Red Wine. Parker 93. The superb 2006 Gemstone Proprietary Red (an 890-case blend of 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot) is from the cooler Oakville / Yountville sector of Napa. It exhibits a dense ruby/purple color as well as a beautiful bouquet of subtle new oak interwoven with black currants, smoke, licorice, and a hint of spring flowers. The wine is full-bodied, with excellent density, admirable balance, and fine purity, a hallmark of this estate. It should drink nicely for two decades. Pork belly clay pot. 2002 Pax Syrah Lauterbach Hill. IWC 92. Saturated ruby. Cooler, high-pitched aromas of black raspberry, blackberry, cassis and mint. Juicy and lively; less lush than the Vine Hill bottling as the wine is more dominated by its firm tannic spine (this was vinified with a high percentage of whole clusters.) Densely packed but tightly wound, with lively notes of licorice and minerals. Whereas most of the Pax 2002s offer considerable immediate appeal, this wine really needs two or three years of cellaring. Garlic noodles. And we really do mean GARLIC. There could not have been more garlic flavor. 2008 Cayuse Grenache God Only Knows Armada Vineyard. Parker 94. Baron’s 2008 Grenache Armada Vineyard God Only Knows displays delectable scents and luscious palate presence of lightly-cooked strawberry and plum laced with nut oils and shadowed by plum and herb distillates. Seamlessly polished, almost velvety and glycerol-rich as well as sweetly ripe, this, nonetheless, projects a torrent of primary fruit juiciness along with levity and energy. Saliva-inducing salinity along with piquant fruit pit, and iodine accents add riveting counterpoint to a finish of prodigious length that manages to simultaneously sooth and stimulate. I would expect this to reward attention for at least another decade. 1993 Opus One Proprietary Red Wine. parker 93. Deep garnet-brick colour. Fragrant aromas of dried cranberries, prunes, cinnamon and cumin giving way to subtler earthy notes of leather and tar. A lot of discernable fruit remains on the palate framed by crisp acidity and a medium level of grainy tannins. Very long, layered finish. Drink now to 2018. Tasted April 2009. And the main event: Chili crab. The crab is drowned in the chili sauce, which has much of the meat. Those balls are fried bread puffs. They each weigh about 1/3 of a pound (not kidding). Heavy stuff but perfect for dipping. I haven’t had Chili Crab too many times, but this was very close to what I had in Singapore. The crab itself was much smaller here (there we had these huge Sri Lankan crabs). Also amazing on the fried rice (not the most attractive, but tastes great). 2009 Rieussec. Parker 97. The team at Chateau Rieussec have conjured a stellar wine in 2009. There is a little reduction at first that fortunately blows away, revealing thickly layered scents of honey, Danish pastry and quince that appear to gain vigor with every passing sip. The palate is stunning: very viscous in the mouth with tangy grapefruit, honey and white peach. It is still primal, but the acidity is perfectly judged and there is a life-affirming sense of precision and tension towards the finish. Exceptional. Drink now-2045. Churros. A bit oily, and again, mysteriously green. Another awesome evening. Good food, if a little eclectic, and a zoo of enjoyable (if not entirely food friendly) wines. But just great company and hence a whole lot of fun.
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