Location: 624 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036. (310) 362-6115
Date: April 10, 2015
Cuisine: Modern Bistro French
Rating: Nice (loud) space, tasty hip food, great service
Back to Republique again? I was just there last night!! Well, it seems in 2014 half the serious wine events are here. Possibly it’s because Sommelier Taylor Parsons is so good. In any case, today is Sauvages annual “Grand Cru Lunch.” How could I resist more great Burgundy?
The main interior is nearly church-like. It’s been all opened up and looks great, but it’s big, tall, and covered in hard surfaces. That means loud!
Flight 0: Whites
2004 Brewer-Clifton Chardonnay Melville Vineyard. 90 points. This wine is very traditional for this winery. Not huge nose, but fragrance of lite melons and honeysuckle. Straw hue. Cold, it is closed, but as it warms, it starts to open with notes of melon, cream and sweet pineapple– but not acidic. It also has some effervescence, and a clean, Stoney finish. Some vanilla and hay and a little stone fruit.
2010 Domaine Billaud-Simon Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre. Burghound 94. A reserved yet classic Chablis nose that is ultra-fresh, pure and elegant with the hallmark floral and stone notes of a fine Montée de Tonnerre complement well the rich, dense and impressively well-detailed flavors that culminate in a mineral-inflected and driving finish. A wine of harmony and balance that should age well plus it offers so much Chablis character that this would be almost impossible to miss blind. In sum, one to buy.
agavin: I have 6 bottles of this stuff in my cellar.
2008 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos. Burghound 96. Here too the elegance of the nose is simply stunning with a layered and perfumed aromatic profile trimmed in an almost invisible touch of oak that allows it to ooze Chablis character and in particular, a fine minerality that continues onto the impressively concentrated and palate staining flavors that possess striking precision on the explosively long and bone dry finish. This is a great Les Clos that will make old bones.
It should be noted that Sauvage lunches always have the lunch itself arranged into (usually 4) flights of food with wine flights matched by the organizer (in this case, Kirk). They are not blind.
1995 Domaine Joseph Roty Charmes-Chambertin Très Vieilles Vignes. Tanzer 96. Similar deep ruby-red. Pure perfume on the nose: cassis, kirsch, violet, licorice, tobacco, game. Like a rare liqueur whose formula is locked up in the heads of two monks. Great volume and sweetness in the mouth; fruit saturates the entire palate and anything else it can reach. Really extraordinarily concentrated. These grapes were picked with near-14% potential alcohol; the yield, according to Roty, was about 28 hectoliters per hectare, not particularly low for these ancient vines planted in 1881. Fabulous brooding fruit on the finish, along with suave, superripe tannins. Another dimension of concentration and texture.
2001 Faiveley Mazis-Chambertin. Burghound 92. A moderately pitched nose that exhibits only traces of secondary nuances also features notes of cool red berry fruit, earth and a hint of the classic Mazis sauvage character that continues onto the delicious, well-detailed and intense middle weight flavors that exude a fine minerality on the mildly austere but not dry finish. There is a bit of unabsorbed wood that is present on the finish though it’s not enough to really detract from the overall sense of harmony. While this could easily be enjoyed now, for my taste there is just enough unresolved structure to warrant allowing this to continue to age for another 5 or so years.
2002 J. Rochioli Pinot Noir West Block. Burghound 90. An expressive nose of violets and ripe black cherry introduces complex, elegant and sweet medium full flavors that coat the palate with ample dry extract, culminating in a sappy, persistent and generous finish underpinned by firm and ripe tannins. This is clearly a ripe effort yet the finish displays only the barest trace of warmth. Lovely stuff and recommended.
agavin: one of the better New World pinots I’ve had, very Burgundian.
2002 Faiveley Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. Burghound 92-94. Dramatically earthy, spicy and sappy black pinot fruit beautifully frame the dense, intense, superbly complex flavors that are supported by ripe, solid, firm tannins and incredible length. As good as several of the preceding wines are, there is a class and presence here that only the Musigny possesses and this is extremely impressive and built for the long haul.
2004 Domaine Méo-Camuzet Clos Vougeot. Burghound 90-2. This too displays more than a trace of wood with very floral and unusually high-toned red pinot fruit aromas nuanced by hints of iron, underbrush and earth that lead to sweet, round and again unusually supple and forward flavors that are textured, punchy and vibrant and finish with excellent length and precision. While there is a touch of the youthful finishing austerity that a typical Clos de Vougeot often displays, this is more forward and expressive than normal.
agavin: green on the nose, green on the palette. Disgusting really, I couldn’t handle it.
1996 Louis Jadot Clos Vougeot. Tanzer 92+. Deep, bright red-ruby. Complex, wild aromas of raw crushed blueberry, violet, raw meat and iron. Intense, primal flavors of crunchy berries and powdered stone. Integrated acidity gives the fruit an urgent quality. Quite powerfully structured for aging. Very long and bright on the back end, with tannins nicely supported by extract.
1996 Domaine Robert Jayer-Gilles Echezeaux du Dessus. Tanzer 93+. Deep, bright ruby-red. Explosive nose combines dark berries, kirsch, violet, spice and smoked meat. Sweet, sappy and large-scaled, but with great delineation of flavor for a wine of this size. Like a solid today, and quite backward. Finishes with substantial but silky tannins and a whiplash of fruit. Along with the example from Emmanuel Rouget, this is as impressive an Echezeaux as I’ve tasted from 1996.
2001 Domaine du Clos de Tart Clos de Tart. Burghound 95. I have been in love with this wine since I first encountered it in barrel and it seems only to have gotten better and better. An elegant, pure and refined nose of earth, coffee, spice and intensely perfumed black cherries combine with focused, tautly muscular, remarkably complex and precise full-bodied, sweet and palate staining flavors that seem to go on and on. But the quality that impresses me the most is the dazzling combination of finesse and power, all wrapped in a finish of near perfect harmony and balance. This should be capable of aging well for at least two decades. A great wine that is not as dense or monumental as the ’05 but this is finer. Multiple, and consistent, notes.
2000 Dominique Laurent Bonnes Mares. Tanzer 92-5. Ruby-red. Confectionery aromas of tiny wild fruits, minerals and smoke; the Chambolle character dominates today, whereas last year the ’99 Bonnes-Mares was more Morey. Sappy, sweet and quite refined; an extremely pure wine that already exudes compelling inner-mouth perfume. Finishes with firm tannins and superb fruit intensity and persistence. Tasted from only 100% new oak, as this wine had not yet been racked into a second new barrel. A wine of extravagant sweetness, and the best in the cave on this day.
1990 Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils Ruchottes-Chambertin Clos des Ruchottes. Burghound 91. The classic truffle-infused Ruchottes nose is missing though the usual game, subtle earth and spice notes are present with remarkably rich, full, broad-scaled flavors that offer lovely balance and fine length. Many ’90s are overly ripe and over the top but this remains balanced and really quite pure and understated if not particularly dense. In sum, this is an attractive and satisfying effort that is just now coming into its own.
1990 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Musigny Cuvée Vieilles Vignes. Burghound 89. As long time readers know, I have never thought very highly of this wine and I have had on the order of 3 cases of it without ever finding one that I thought was very good, let alone great. This would include a bottle that was air expressed directly from the domaine so my objections have nothing to do with storage, provenance or shipping. However, the bottle in this tasting displayed the best fruit/acid/tannin balance of any ’90 VV that I’ve yet had and while I would stop well short of according it the accolades that it once received in abundance, it didn’t not display the green finishing tannins and overtly advanced aromas that its predecessors have. In short, a wine of moderate promise and while by no means great, at least acceptable in the context of the extremely high standards of this wine and this vintage.
1995 Dominique Laurent Romanée St. Vivant. 90 points. Typical pinot noir aroma but sense of inbalance. Hint of barnyard but does blow away. Sour oak juice! Mouth puckering dryness from the acid. Does not resemble my previous RSV experience which was warm. Light bodied and smooth tannins. Spicy with bitter pears, chempaka and granny smith apples. Medium finish.
This was probably the best Suavages lunch I’ve attended, and that’s saying a lot as these are very fun events.
While the food wasn’t as extensive as the previous night, our three non-cheese courses were still fabulous. The pasta and duck in particular were killer. I generally like the private room, but this big downstairs space was cavernous and comfortable — although at night it would be too loud. Each course was brought by an army of 6-7 waiters and dropped elegantly in front of us.
As usual Taylor did an amazing job with the wine service. My only regret is that we had just four glasses each and so had to dump the previous flights.
An overall fabulous afternoon.