Restaurant: Elite Restaurant [1, 2]
Location: 700 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754. (626) 282-9998
Date: September 11, 2014
Cuisine: Cantonese Banquet
Elite is well known as one of great LA’s top dimsum places, but I’d never been for dinner. Tonight I gathered with a group of Burgundy loving friends for some awesome Cantonese grub.
We had the private room, complete with authentic Chinese decorative screen.
For whatever reason, tonight’s wine lineup is a crazy blitz of great champagne (+ a bunch of Burgs and Rhones). But because it’s so chaotic in format, and didn’t really match the food, I’m going to detail all the wine together after the food.
Peanuts on the table start off many a real Chinese meal.
Suckling pig. We preordered this little fellow. He’s kinda sad, but he sure tasted great. Really just a fabulous bit of pork and cracklings.
XO sauce. For that savory fermented seafood zing.
Fish maw soup. This is the same mild and fluffy textured soup I had the other week at Newport Seafood.
Roast squab. Succulent little birds, heads and all.
Lettuce chicken. Chicken with water chestnuts in lettuce cups.
Straight off the PF Changs menu, but delicious.
Flounder. Some special “meaty” flounder in mild sauce with vegetables. Very succulent actually.
Garlic fish bits. The fins and tails and the like off the flounder fried with garlic. Boney, but surprisingly delicious.
Lobster! Some awesome tender lobster in garlic sauce.
Sea cucumber. Not my favorite protein, but tasty enough.
Greens. A typical Chinese green vegetable. More or less a colon sweeper.
Noodles. I LOVE these noodles. I’ve had them before at several Cantonese places and they are always great. This particular version was just awesome. The mild savory sauce soaks into the crispy noodles. Yum!
Shrimp fried rice. Classic goodness.
Fried tofu. A kind of soft fermented tofu, deep friend. Tasty and hot (temperature).
Steamed pork. Yeah, it looks like barf, but it was delicious. More or less, this was pork meat minced up with ginger steamed. Seriously it was great.
Coconut and coffee gel. Really great actually. Mild coco/coffee flavor. Delicious.
Goji berry gel. These were actually spicy! I like the jello-like texture, so I enjoyed it. The spice was a bit of a surprise.
Overall, while Cantonese isn’t my favorite Chinese sub-cuisine, this was a fabulous and tasty meal.
This isn’t wine (it’s a beer), fresh brewed just the day or so before. It tasted like grapefruit peels.
1988 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon. Galloni 94. An unexpected treat, the 1988 Dom Pérignon is a fabulous surprise. Here the flavors are bright, focused and tense, with attractive floral and citrus notes that cut through the richness of the chilled lobster appetizer.
agavin: our bottle was a little oxidized.
1995 Guy Larmandier Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Grand Cru Cramant. IWC 92. Pale color. Precise, vibrant aromas of lime, lemon, tangerine and stone. Creamy and rich yet light and lively, thanks to its steely mineral spine. Very firm and concentrated. Lovely purity of flavor and finesse. Finishes graceful and very long, with spice and mineral traces and some youthful austerity. Impeccable blanc de blancs.
1996 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon Oenothèque. IWC 96. Yellow-gold. Explosive aromas of ripe pear, honey, gingerbread and iodine, with intense smokiness and notes of chalky minerals and magnolia. Sappy, palate-staining orchard and pit fruit flavors are braced by exotic spice and mineral qualities, picking up notes of buttery brioche and toasted grain with air. Strikingly dense but energetic too, finishing with superb thrust and mineral-driven persistence. This ridiculously complex Champagne is only beginning to enter its window of maturity.
1997 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut. IWC 90. Light gold, with a hint of copper. Expansive and powerful on the nose, displaying scents of honey, light toffee, fresh fig and baked apples. Dense and thick, with serious heft; emphatically not an aperitif style of Champagne. The flavors of ripe apple and pear, singed butter and baking spices are concentrated and deep. Boasts a velvety, weighty texture that carries through the finish.
1997 Salon Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs. Burgound 95. An elegant and very fresh but distinctly yeasty nose of stupendous breadth leads to incredibly intense, pure, detailed and vibrant flavors that possess superb depth and simply knockout length. This is a powerful Salon and even though it doesn’t have the solid acid spine of the very best vintages, this compensates by its approachability and terrific mouth feel. This could be drunk now or aged, depending on one’s preference. If you can find it, I would lay in a case and drink it selectively over the next 20 years.
2000 Krug Champagne Vintage Brut. IWC 95. Bright gold. Pungent aromas of candied orange, buttered toast, pear skin and vanilla, with a smoky nuance that gains power in the glass. Stains the palate with intense pear liqueur, citrus pith and brioche flavors, picking up notes of licorice and candied ginger with air. A bright mineral note adds lift and energy to the finish, which clings with superb tenacity and lingering smokiness. This complex, concentrated Champagne is showing very well right now but has the legs to age for years to come.
2002 Taittinger Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne. IWC 95. Light, bright gold. A heady, intensely perfumed bouquet evokes lemon curd, pear skin, iodine, honeysuckle and toasty lees, with notes of ginger and honey emerging with air. Strikes an impressive balance of power and restraint, opening slowly to offer vibrant citrus and orchard fruit flavors, along with intense floral and spice nuances. Clings with superb tenacity on the gently smoky finish, which features zesty orange pith and mineral qualities. By the way, the 2004 Comtes de Champagne Rose has become even more intense over the last 12 months, gaining in both mineral and floral intensity. I know the old saw about aging rose Champagne but this is a wine that is built for the long haul.
From my cellar: 2004 Henri Boillot Bâtard-Montrachet. Burghound 95. Perhaps the most backward and reserved wine to this point as the nose reveals only hints of white flower and green fruit aromas that are framed in a subtle touch of pain grillé but the flavors explode on the palate as there is a chewy texture to them yet there is ample minerality present, particularly for Bâtard. This too is blessed with abundant dry extract and a finish that won’t quit but for all of the size and weight, this is impeccably balanced. This has that “wow” factor and in terms of style, it’s almost like a muscular Chevalier.
2008 Domaine Michel Niellon Chevalier-Montrachet. Burghound 95. This hasn’t changed much since my 2010 review as it remains strikingly complex with an ripe, pure and airy nose that speaks elegantly of white flower, spice and subtle pear aromas\nthat complement perfectly the rich and mouth coating flavors that are built on a base of fine minerality, all wrapped in a sappy and explosive finish that oozes dry extract. This is really a stunning effort that is perhaps a bit more forward than I originally envisioned and thus I have shorted my estimated initial drinking window slightly. Seriously beautiful juice.
2010 Paul Pernot et ses Fils Bâtard-Montrachet. Burghound 95. This is not quite as refined as the Bienvenues but it’s more complex still with an unusually expressive nose at this early stage of notably ripe white peach, pear, yellow peach and apricot fruit scents that combine with very pretty floral nuances. The rich, powerful and muscular full-bodied flavors ooze with dry extract that imparts an opulent mouth feel to the attractively precise and borderline painfully intense finish. This is exceptionally backwards and just like the nose, the palate impression is not as fine but this is both bigger and longer. Impressive.
2007 Clos Rougeard (Foucault) Brézé. JG 94+. The 2007 Brézé Blanc bottling from Clos Rougeard is a terrific wine in the making. This is a one hundred percent chenin blanc cuvée that is aged in a judicious bit of new wood and shows every sign (if premature oxidation does not rear its ugly head with this wine) of aging for several decades with great style and class. The deep, pure and complex nose jumps from the glass in a blaze of apple, orange zest, bee pollen, complex, chalky soil tones, dried flowers and vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and very tight out of the blocks, with a rock solid core of fruit, bright acids, excellent focus and balance and a very long, tight and racy finish. This will be a long distance runner, but it deserves at least four or five years in the cellar to uncoil. A beautiful wine.
agavin: The Chinese food was really throwing my palette with regard to the whites. This dry Chenin is one of those wines that pairs with unusual stuff — I just couldn’t tell what last night.
From my cellar: 1996 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Bonnes Mares. IWC 93+. Good fresh dark red. Flamboyant nose combines blueberry, blackberry, licorice and Cuban tobacco; distinctly blacker aromas than the ’97. Great sweetness and penetration on the palate; flavors are given thrust and grip by a strong spine of acids and tannins. Quintessential grand cru intensity without excess weight. Extremely long, noble finish. Fascinating Bonnes-Mares, and likely to be very long-lived.
1996 Georges Lignier et Fils Clos de la Roche. agavin 92. A bit of funk, but quite enjoyable. This particularly bottle didn’t feel like it would be improving.
2009 Domaine Dujac Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Beaux Monts. Burghound 93. A ripe yet still cool and elegant nose of classic Vosne-style spice notes adds breadth to the black fruit and stone aromas. The naturally sweet and succulent flavors brim with a fine minerality and plenty of mouth coating dry extract that conclude with a dusty, firm and impressively persistent finish. This is terrific and should age effortlessly.
agavin: a perfect example of why I think of this group affectionately as the “babykillers”
1989 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Parker 97. The 1989 is inkier/purple in color than the 1990, with an extraordinarily sweet, rich personality offering up notes of smoke, melted licorice, black cherries, Asian spices, and cassis. Full-bodied and concentrated, it is one of the most powerful as well as highly extracted Beaucastels I have ever tasted. It requires another 3-4 years to reach its plateau of maturity, where it should remain for at least two decades. (Many purchasers have reported bottle leakage (due to a cork problem) with this vintage. I purchased two cases of this wine, but none of my bottles reveal any sign of leakage.
agavin: by this age there is considerable bottle variation and ours was in the middle of the pack. Not bad, but not fabulous either. A tad sour, although certainly enjoyable.
1998 Robert Michel Cornas La Geynale. IWC 89. Medium red-ruby. Sweet aromas of crystallized red berries and minerals. Strong fruits and spices in the mouth: raspberry, cassis, blueberry. Really expands on the palate; lush impression suggests a high pH. But youthfully firm and quite solid thanks to its solid spine of tannins. Finishing note of licorice. In contrast to the ’99, no new barrels were used for this ’98. This will require a few years of bottle aging.
2004 Thierry Allemand Cornas Reynard. IWC 95. Dark purple. Ripe, potent cassis and blueberry scents, with a striking floral quality. Lush and creamy, showing impressively pure dark fruit flavors, juicy acidity and fine-grained, silky tannins. Finishes sweet, supple and with superb length, the sweet berry notes clear and persistent. No sulfur was used for this cuvee.
2005 Schrader Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon CCS. Parker 95. The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon CCS, which is clone 4 from block C1, displays a bit more depth and tannic structure. Its inky/ruby/purple color is accompanied by sensational aromas of creme de cassis, scorched earth, acacia flowers, licorice, cedar, and grilled meats. Pure, full-bodied, and powerful, it should hit its prime in 4-5 years, and last for 25.
We had no idea what vintage this BV was. Probably 80s.
2007 Weingut Ökonomierat Rebholz Gewürztraminer Spätlese. Parker 90. Litchi, pear, muskmelon, and lily perfume mark the nose of Rebholz’s 2007 Gewurztraminer Spatlese, which then comes to the palate with corresponding and predictable opulence and inner-mouth perfume. Creamy in texture; delicate at 9.5% alcohol – especially for this grape variety – and managing to balance out its residual sugar, if barely, this finishes with honey and brown spices adding to the wine’s succulently ripe pear and melon. I imagine it might stay fresh for a decade or more, but I have no experience with its track record.
This amount of wine needed: foot massage!