Location: 176 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. (310) 385-0880
Date: October 23, 2015
Nothing like a Friday afternoon for Grand Cru Burgundy Lunch — and this time at LA classic Spago.
The whole restaurant is lovely, but the private room is the real way to go.
Our special menu.
From my cellar: 2007 Simon Bize Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru Aux Vergelesses. Burghound 90. As would reasonably be expected, there is just more here in every dimension with a more complex and more elegant nose that is layered and very fresh and this refinement continues onto the nicely concentrated middle weight flavors that display evident minerality on the sappy, intense and mouth coating finish that lingers and lingers. This is a terrific Savigny blanc and recommended.
agavin: our bottle was a bit advanced.
1986 Domaine Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet “Morgeot”. 94 points. A single vineyard village, almost 30 years old, and stunning! Lots of nutty richness and good acid.
Buttery puffs filled with country ham. Delicious.
Spago staple, sweet sesame cones with ahi tartar.
1996 Domaine Ponsot Chapelle-Chambertin. Burghound 85. Lightish cherry/pinot fruit without much structure or body. Good finesse but that is about the best that can be said for this.
2000 Domaine Robert Groffier Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. Burghound 92. Much more forward and evolved than any of the preceding wines as the malo finished almost 3 months before the others. Elegant, rich, extremely ripe with somewhat low acidity that is barely able to buffer the powerful flavors yet the wine is also able to effortlessly carry the elevated alcohol. The wine finishes with a touch of warmth but it is not unduly intrusive. This is a surprising wine in that it’s extremely ripe, lavishly rich with very high alcohol yet somehow it remains beautifully balanced. It’s not clear how well it will age but there is enough tannic structure to require 7 to 10 years to resolve.
agavin: spice, lovely.
1999 Bouchard Père et Fils Bonnes Mares. Burghound 93. This is still quite youthful with ever-so-mildly toasty dark berry fruit, earth, wet stone and underbrush-infused aromas leading to rich, full-bodied, powerful and appealingly intense flavors that are blessed with ample amounts of tannin-buffering dry extract that both coats the palate and confers a sappy texture to the beautifully long and still notably structured finish. This may turn out to be even better than my score suggests because while there is not yet outstanding complexity, the underlying material is present that could very well allow the additional depth to develop.
1999 Frederic Esmonin Chambertin. Burghound 89. A noticeable step up in size and volume though not necessarily in intensity or complexity. Earthy and rich with solid power and length to go with medium weight flavors and relatively fine tannins. While this is certainly not disappointing, I was hoping for more.
Grilled Lobster Tail. Herbed Oat Porridge, Glazed Baby Carrots. A big portion of juicy moist lobster. A very lovely dish.
2002 Faiveley Mazis-Chambertin. Burghound 91-93. Always one of Faiveley’s best wines and the ’02 is no exception with an incredibly complex nose of damp earth, minerals, game and a slightly wild fruit component followed by wonderfully sappy, deep, broad, muscular flavors and knock-out purity of expression. I very much like this and the finish is long and strikingly persistent.
2001 Louis Jadot Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. Burghound 91-94. As it should be, this is easily the biggest wine of the entire line up with robust, intense, broad-shouldered, supremely complex, solidly structured flavors introduced by deeply spicy, quite aromatic and expressive aromas and dramatic finishing intensity. An altogether superb effort that delivers knock out quality.
2003 Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques. Burghound 90-92. Interestingly, this is also quite ripe but not necessarily any more elegant though there is perhaps slightly better depth of material and certainly better overall purity of expression and intensity, especially on the superbly long, firm and punchy backend. While this is not classic in style, there is so much explosive energy and verve that this may very well surprise to the upside with time in bottle.
agavin: best wine of the flight right now.
2002 Louis Jadot Chapelle-Chambertin. Burghound 89-91. Noticeable wood spice frames pretty and pure earthy red fruit that highlights the rich, sappy and elegant medium weight flavors that deliver fine length. This is quite elegant yet altogether serious and blessed with plenty of old vine sap and enough structure to suggest that this will benefit from the better part of a decade in bottle.
Cacao Pasta Matlagliatti. Braised Oxtail Ragout, Pecorino Romano.
2002 Domaine Bertagna Clos St. Denis. Burghound 93. Rich, even extravagant and exotic black fruit leads to round, supple, forward and generous flavors with excellent richness and fine detail. The superbly long finish is impressive for its sheer depth and wonderful complexity and as many of the best ’02s reveal, the tannins here are extremely fine. In sum, this is an absolutely stunning wine with serious potential.
2002 Domaine / Maison Vincent Girardin Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. Burghound 91. A spicy black fruit nose that remains reserved and completely primary leads to rich, full and solidly concentrated flavors that have better definition than what Girardin usually produces and in particular, this is a good deal less fruit-driven as well. Good juice here and one that should age very well yet be accessible relatively early on.
agavin: drinking great now
2001 Domaine Méo-Camuzet Richebourg. Burghound 94. A spicy, elegant and very pure nose is just beginning to display the initial hints of secondary development. There is superb precision to the racy, intense and mineral-driven medium-bodied flavors that exude a focused power on the driving and explosive finish. There isn’t the mid-palate fat or velvety texture of the 2002 but this has its own personality and charm and overall, this has arrived at a place where it could be drunk now with immense pleasure or held for another 5 to 7 years. Note that I have had several bottles that did not show as well as the one described above though most bottles have showed most impressively.
agavin: really great right now, prob best of the flight
1996 Geantet-Pansiot Charmes-Chambertin. VM 94. Saturated deep ruby; one of the darkest ’96s I saw in November. Multifaceted nose combines black fruits, violet, licorice, espresso, smoke, gibier and sweet butter. The class of the cellar in terms of concentration, sweetness, finesse and length; in fact, today this wine makes Geantet’s ’95 seem almost heavy in comparison. Lovely roundness and clarity of flavor. Really explodes on the palate-staining finish.
Roasted Rack of Lamb. Cauliflower Flan, Wild Mushrooms savory cabbage, Cabernet Savignon Reduction. You can never go wrong with lamb chops. Well you can, but not when they are done correctly like this.
1990 Domaine G. Roumier / Christophe Roumier Bonnes Mares. VM 98. Good deep, dark red. Explosively ripe aromas of plum, raspberry, mocha, mint and fresh herbs. Wonderfully fat and voluminous; in fact, this is downright massive for Bonnes-Mares, offering extraordinary palate presence. Finishes with huge, dusty tannins, outstanding breadth and palate-staining length. Unquestionably the most impressive wine of the tasting, but to my palate not the most interesting wine, as the vintage dominates the terroir But this will go on in bottle for many more years.
agavin: Maybe WOTN, or certainly close.
From my cellar: 1993 Louis Jadot Bonnes Mares. Burghound 92. Earthy, deep and wonderfully fresh fruit leads to dense, solidly tannnic, beautifully delineated and focused, rich flavors of exceptional purity and length. While the finish is firm, it is by no means hard and there is excellent buffering sève all underpinned by vibrant acidity. There is plenty of wine here but this is a wine for the patient and it should live for years to come.
agavin: this bottle was sadly just a little corked, not undrinkably so, but enough to steal away the fruit and ruin the experience.
From my cellar (replacing BM above). 1990 Gros Frère et Sœur Clos Vougeot Musigni. 93 points. Powerful fruit, great structure. Just the beginnings of secondary flavors. Rich nose of bright fruits with a smoky undertone. Tastes incredibly fresh for a 19 year old. Bright cherries smoothed by tannins. Very nice. Great burgundy from a great vintage.
agavin: a great wine, in the top 3 or so of the day.
Chef’s selection of artisanal cheese. Nice cheeses, although not enough of them for my taste.
Great fruit bread for the cheese.
I needed a macchiato, it was after all only 4pm when we finished.
Sauvages lunches are always great, but this one like the previous Burgundy lunch was particularly fabulous. Spago is one of the few white table cloth restaurants left in town, and it’s been around for a while, but remains fresh and contemporary. It doesn’t embrace the loud new ambiance like Republique or Bestia, but it does knock the food out of the park, while keeping the look up to date and timeless. The food these days is more Japanese inspired, and less of the California whimsy that Puck originally introduced, but it’s equally fabulous.