Restaurant: Petros Restaurant
Location: B110, 451 Manhattan Beach Blvd. Manhattan Beach, CA. (310) 545-4100
Date: March 29, 2015
Rating: Best Greek I’ve had in LA
Tonight’s dinner was originally supposed to be special Hedonistic home cooked Greek Easter Feast by chef Popi Terzi but the chef had a last minute medical emergency and we relocated to a Manhattan Beach Greek restaurant.
2004 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut La Grande Dame. VM 93. Vivid gold. Heady aromas of orange, white peach and smoky minerals, with a note of buttered toast adding depth. Densely packed citrus and pit fruit flavors show chewy texture and a bright mineral quality that adds vivacity. Rich but lively and precise, finishing very long, with notes of candied fig and toasty lees.
From my cellar: 2007 Venica & Venica Malvasia. 91 points. Medium-deep straw-yellow. Aromas of yellow plum, apricot and almond. Lively, round and smooth, with good breadth and subtle suggestions of yellow plum and minerals carrying through to the long, vibrant finish.
Taramosalata (Fish Egg dip). Aged smoked caviar blended with onions, fresh lemon juice. This classic had a nice blend of the briny red mullet roe and a good amount of lemon juice to offset.
1998 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia. VM 93. Bright yellow. Pungent minerally, floral aromas of pear skin, peach pit and bee pollen, with a waxy overtone. The palate offers intense dried orchard and citrus fruit flavors and suggestions of anise, jasmine and honey, with a firm spine of acidity adding lift and focus. Finishes fleshy and spicy, with repeating floral and waxy qualities.
2010 Gérard Raphet Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux St. Jacques. Burghound 91. A more deeply pitched red and dark berry fruit nose is at once cool but ripe as it also evidences hints of spice, wet stone and warm earth. There is good concentration to the solidly intense medium-bodied flavors that possess plenty of extract that coats the palate on the relatively powerful finish. This is more robust and firmer than the Combottes but a bit less refined. A qualitative choice.
agavin: too young, but after an hour in the glass began to open up.
2010 Fattoria Galardi Terra di Lavoro Roccamonfina IGT. VM97+. I have a strong feeling the 2010 will occupy a place among the very finest vintages produced on this tiny vineyard on the slopes of the Roccamonfina volcano. An exotic mélange of tar, smoke, graphite, blackberry jam and savory herbs explode from the glass. The 2010 is intense and full-bodied, yet also incredibly elegant. A big, breathtaking wine, the 2010 continues to build all the way through to a deeply resonant, expressive finish. I would choose to leave this uttterly beguiling Campanian red alone for the better part of a decade, but readers are going to have a very hard time excercising that patience. This is a fabulous effort from proprietors Arturo and Dora Celentano, and their long-time winemaker Riccardo Cotarella.
agavin: I have 6 bottles of this in my cellar, but I’m not cracking one for at least 5 years!
Shrimp Saganaki. Sautéed tender shrimp with a tomato basil feta cheese sauce. I spent over 3 weeks in Greece last summer (and three summers before that) and this was a very authentic Saganaki. I love the bright acidic tomato/cheese sauce.
2009 Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT. AG 94. The 2009 Flaccianello is gorgeous, but the relative shortcomings of the year relative to the sublime 2010 are apparent when the wines are tasted side by side. Firm tannins support a core of dark red fruit, smoke and crushed flowers. Readers will need to give the 2009 time to settle down, but it is unquestionably a fine Flaccianello.
agavin: the 2009 was rounder than the 2010 and drinking better at the moment.
2010 Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT. AG 96. A rush of intense blue and black stone fruits, tobacco, smoke, licorice, spices and new leather hits the palate in the 2010 Flaccianello. A wine of considerable immediacy and intensity, the 2010 captivates all the senses with its magnificent richness and pure texture. There is so much to like here.
agavin: start drinking date is 2018!
2010 Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon Annum. VM 92-96. Inky ruby. Lively dark berry and cherry scents are complemented by licorice, fruitcake and vanilla, with a spicy nuance adding lift. Sweet, palate-coating blueberry and cherry liqueur flavors become more energetic with air and pick up a sexy floral nuance. Distinctly powerful yet lithe, with zesty spice and mineral notes adding bite to the long, subtly tannic finish.
2009 Pride Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. VM 96. There is no question the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is the most backward and brooding of the wines I tasted from Pride. Firm tannins frame an expressive core of dark red berries, licorice, scorched earth, tobacco, smoke and incense. Today, the 2009 is far too young to offer true pleasure, but it is unquestionably striking. Hints of iron, graphite and smoke add complexity on the finish supported by huge mountain tannins. The 2009 is super distinctive and loaded with personality.
1999 Turley Petite Syrah Estate Vineyard. VM 90. Opaque black ruby. Sauvage aromas of roasted meat, leather, blackberry, minerals and lead pencil. Bright and dense but not yet complex. Finishes persistent but a bit youthfully aggressive. Hard to assess today but shows very good vinosity and noteworthy aromatic complexity.
2005 Château Gruaud Larose. Tanzer 90-93. Good red-ruby. Redcurrant, leather and game on the expressive if slightly rustic nose. Sweet and concentrated but a bit youthfully aggressive, and not showing the refinement or definition of the 2006. Strong nutty oak component. Finishes with substantial tannins that are a bit richer and more fully buffered by the wine’s middle-palate material than those of the 2006. It will be interesting to compare these two vintages in ten years or so.
agavin: along with the CNDP one of the best reds tonight, particularly after an hour or so open.
Moussaka. A Classic Hellenic dish with eggplant, ground beef, tomatoes, and homemade béchamel sauce served village style. I think traditionally it’s usually lamb. The texture and flavor on this Moussaka were great. Perhaps it could have used a touch more nutmeg, but that’s me.
From my cellar: 2000 Les Cailloux (Lucien et Andre Brunel) Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee 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.
agavin: after a bit of funk blew off, it was a great CNDP and perfect with the lamb below.
Succulent Braised Lamb with Artichokes and Lemons (This is a Petros “off the menu” special). This is a very traditional dish, and I’ve had variants of it in Greece many times. It’s more a stew than the usual “roast lamb”.
2006 Estate Argyros Vinsanto 4 Years Barrel Aged. Parker 90. The 2006 Vinsanto “4 Years Barrel Aged” is one of a series of Vinsantos (4 years, 12 and 20, and Mezzo, with the Mezzo soon to be discontinued). As a result of the shorter barrel aging and shorter sun drying time for the grapes (8-10 days instead of 12-14), its color is lighter than the 20-year Vinsanto reviewed this issue and the wine is less intense and less aromatic. It is still quite fine. Fragrant, delectable and crisp, it drinks extremely well and it had no problem whatsoever lasting several days after opening. It was better on Day 2, actually, when it gathered strength and woke up.
2004 Domaine des Baumard Quarts de Chaume. VM 90. Bright yellow-gold. Expressive aromas of poached pear, candied citrus, honey and white peach. A broad, lush, fruit-driven wine that offers sweet orchard and pit fruit flavors lifted by fresh orange and spice components. Gains weight with air and finishes with very good cling and echoes of honey and peach. This is ready to drink.
For good luck, there were a couple plate drops too.