Location: 624 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036. (310) 362-6115
Date: May 12, 2015
Cuisine: Modern Bistro French
Rating: Nice (loud) space, tasty hip food, great service
OMG, Republique again! This time for another special wine dinner, hosted by Sage Society and featuring Ernst Loosen of Weingut Dr Loosen, one of the world’s premier riesling producers.
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! We just had our appetizers here, before moving to the quieter private room upstairs.
Flight 0: Champagne
NV Guillaume Sergent Champagne Les Prés Dieu. 90 points. Very nice, young bright acid bomb of a champagne.
Potato chips, mashed potato, caviar. The chip was super rich. Really the mashed potatoe tasted like butter! The caviar was a bit overwhelmed, but certainly delightful.
Smoked hamachi croquettes. With pickled radish. Like a fancy modern version of the classic Spanish cod croquettes.
NV Doyard Champagne Cuvée Vendémiaire Brut. VM 89. The NV Brut Cuvée Vendémiaire is a beautiful wine that shows lovely complexity in its aromas and flavors, suggesting a period of extended aging on the lees and/or a relatively high percentage of reserve wines in the blend. The Cuvée Vendémiaire shows plenty of Chardonnay character and a refined, subtle mousse that is a result of the lower-atmosphere vinification. The Vendémiaire is made from parcels in Vertus, Avize, Cramant, Oger and Le Mesnil.
Tuna tartar crostini. Avocado mousse.
Upstairs is much quieter and more intimate.
Tonight’s special menu. As usual it was designed/produced by chef Walter and Liz Lee.
Before we get into the Riesling itself, it’s worth looking at the chunks of Mosel that Ernst brought. From the bottom to the top, gray slate, red slate, and red volcanic stone. Different vineyards we tasted tonight have different compositions of these stony soils.
This flight, and its 3 wines, all come from the same vineyard, same year, same juice. The only difference is the juice was placed into three separate barrels and aged on its lees for 12, 24, and 36 months respectively. They are all dry.
2011 Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Großes Gewächs. 90 points. Gorgeous nose. Probably the best nose of the three as it was fruitier and more open. Mineral, fresh nose; great acid, more mineral.
2011 Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Großes Gewächs “Hommage”. 90-94 points. This smells and tastes like a wine that needs more time, but hints of additional complexity. Maybe even some grapefruit. Really nice and unique.
Vichyssoise. Oyster, uni. A delicious slurry of green with briny orange lumps.
A trio of 2013 dry rieslings from different terriors, all made in the same basic style.
2013 Dr. Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Großes Gewächs Alte Reben. 90 points. This had the best nose, but was the softest, perhaps most elegant, and subtle of the flight.
2013 Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Großes Gewächs Alte Reben. 92 points. To my taste this had more zing.
2013 Dr. Loosen Erdener Treppchen Riesling Großes Gewächs Alte Reben. 92 points. Extremely similar to the Ürziger Würzgarten.
Dutch White asparagus. Morel mushroom, meyer lemon sabayon. A pretty classic version of the in-season delicacy. The sauce was so buttery good, we had to order bread to sop it up. An amazing pairing.
A pair of 2011 dry rieslings from the same vineyard, Erdener Prälat, which many regard as the greatest of Mosel Valley Grand Crus. The only difference is the reserve was aged in barrel for 24 instead of 12 months.
2013 Dr. Loosen Erdener Prälat Riesling Großes Gewächs Alte Reben. 92 points. Very nice.
2011 Dr. Loosen Erdener Prälat Riesling Großes Gewächs Alte Reben Reserve. 94 points. The extra time in the barrel clearly works because the reserve is just better on all fronts. There is more balance, more power, and a clear feel of longer aging potential. Again, this is from a wine that is essentially identical except for the time in barrel.
Santa Barbara Spot Prawn. Bonito, yuzu, shitatke mushroom, brown butter. Scrumptiously soft and sweat with more of that crazy good butter sauce. Head sucking good.
Now we move up to sweet and back in time, with a trio of Spatlese.
1989 Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese. 92 points. Light yellow in color, this wine smells and tastes very fresh with a great mixture of youngish fruit ( singed peaches and citrus ) along with some aged characteristics of smoke and a little petrol. Medium bodied with a long finish, this wine seems to be at it’s peak now.
1973 Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese. 89 points. Maybe I’m not totally used to old Riesling, but this was certainly mature. Sous bois. Fresh though. Weird complex notes. Certainly in great shape for its age.
2002 Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese Auction. 93 points. I loved the fresh sweetness of this bottling.
Cook ranch pork chop. polenta, stone fruits, brown butter sauce. Walter dropped the curry and lentils (on the menu) at the last minute. This undoubtedly paired better. Perhaps an unusual wine/food melding, but a phenomenal one. Very tender meat, nicely sweetened up by the fruit.
Now getting into the old sweet stuff, but not yet the mega sweet.
1971 Christoffel-Berres Erdener Prälat Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel. 93 points. Here I thought the increased sweetness offset the oxidation of aging in a more harmonious way. Really quite nice and rounded.
1966 Christoffel-Berres Erdener Prälat Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel. 89 points. This wine might be a little flawed, or just 49 years old!
Sweet potato agnolotti. Foie gras, applewood-smocked bacon. Wow! As if the agnolotti wasn’t amazing, through in bacon, and if that wasn’t enough, a huge chunk of foie!
And our final flight is the mysterious and massive long Goldkapsel, with 100% shriveled raisiny fruit!
2004 Dr. Loosen Erdener Prälat Riesling Auslese long Goldkapsel Auction. 96 points. Like liquid candy. Fabulous power and depth.
1999 Dr. Loosen Erdener Prälat Riesling Auslese Lange Goldkapsel Auction. 95 points. Most people liked the 2004 better, but I kind of loved the 1999 because it had a real long zingy finish.
Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese. Fruit bread. Local honeycomb. A nice might blue cheesy that offset the intense sweetness of the wines nicely.
Again Liz organizes a great dinner. The wines were first class. I hadn’t known exactly what to expect, but these were some of the best rieslings I’ve had — and I love riesling. Lots of variety and complexity and there is a consistent harmony to the Loosen wines. Lovely stuff. Plus, Ernst was highly informative and engaging, and I felt I learned quite a bit about the different processes and decisions employed at the winery — where they make a fairly bewildering array of wines from each vineyard (all with long German names, of course).
Walter really does his best work at these custom dinners. First of all, you get new dishes. Second, he really tunes them up to the wines at a superlative level. It isn’t easy to make an entire multi course meal that pairs with Riesling, but the Walter/Liz team rose to the occasion again!
As usual, Taylor did an amazing job with the wine service.
An overall fabulous afternoon.