Location: 362 N Camden Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. (310) 277-7346
Date: August 16, 2017
Rating: Good food, big “formal” space
The Dirty Dozen is a sub group of the Hedonists that does themed blind tasting meals a couple times a year.
Tonight’s was again at Doma, a newish (2012) Beverly Hills Italian very much in a 90s (high end) vibe. The theme — again oddly for Italian — is California Cabernet. And even more oddly, Doma is “closed” supposedly for a month, but a skeleton crew came in and cooked our dinner. The manager pretty much served us. lol.
The Doma interior is large, formal, very white tablecloth and so different than more hip Italians like Bestia.
The white wines tonight were not blind and were served before dinner proper.
Jen brought this bonus: 2006 Taittinger Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne. VM 97.5. The 2006 Comtes de Champagne is striking, especially in the way it brings together elements of ripeness and freshness in a hypothetical blend of the 2002 and 2004. Smooth and creamy on the palate, the 2006 is all about texture. There is a real feeling of density and weight in the 2006, qualities I expect to see grow with time in the bottle. All the elements fall into place effortlessly. The 2006 has been nothing short of magnificent both times I have tasted it. Comtes de Champagne remains the single best value (in relative terms) in tête de cuvée Champagne. I suggest buying a case and following it over the next 20-30 years, which is exactly what I intend to do. There is little doubt the 2006 Comtes de Champagne is a magical Champagne in the making.
A bonus from my cellar: 2015 Vietti Roero Arneis. 90 points. Light, fresh, bright. Lemon meringue and green apples. Some mineral notes.
Onion, balsamic, fontina cheese flatbread. Delicious. I could have eaten a whole pizza of these.
Warren brought: 2002 Blank Cabernet Sauvignon. RP 98. VM 88. This beautiful hillside vineyard is situated behind the Dominus Estate in Yountville. The 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Paradise Hills Vineyard (100% Cabernet Sauvignon) has turned out even better than I predicted seven years ago. Made by Helen Turley when she was the consultant at Blankiet from tightly spaced, steep hillside vineyards planted by her husband, John Wetlaufer, it exhibits a beautiful nose of flowers, high quality unsmoked cigar tobacco, creme de cassis, chocolate, espresso and blueberries. Extraordinarily young, fresh and fabulously concentrated, this wine still impresses with its intensity, complexity and youthfulness. It will probably not peak in quality for a decade, and has 20-30 years of further aging potential.
agavin: eucalyptus, hot. 8 votes.
Dave brought: 2002 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve. RP 95. Put them all together and you have the 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve, a sensational 14,000-case cuvee that is one of the benchmarks for what Napa Valley is capable of achieving. Its dense purple color is followed by copious notes of smoky barbecue, creme de cassis, white chocolate, blackberries, charcoal and truffles. Full-bodied, fleshy and succulent, with sweet tannins in the finish, this 2002 has not yet hit full maturity. Give it another 2-4 years of cellaring, and drink it over the following two decades. I asked the winemaking team what the final blend was for the 2002 Private Reserve, and to the best of their recollection, the largest component was from Steinhauer Ranch (50%), followed by St. Helena Home Ranch (23%) and tiny percentages of Bancroft, Rancho del Oso, Chabot, Marston, and some Cabernet Franc from Howell Mountain.
Yarom brought: 1999 Philip Togni Cabernet Sauvignon. RP 91. I was never as enthusiastic about the 1999 vintage for Napa Cabernet as some of my colleagues, and the late-released 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate displays the green, herbaceous element that was one of my disquieting observations about this vintage when it was first reviewed. Still very young, with a deeper color than the 2007 with just a touch of lightening at the edge, it reveals notes of forest floor, roasted herbs, black currants, and a hint of mint. Medium to full-bodied, pure, and extremely youthful, it has another 20 years ahead of it.
agavin: corked in my opinion. 0 votes.
LEC brought: 1994 Mayacamas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. JG 92+. The 1994 Mayacamas cabernet sauvignon is another stellar bottle in the making, that offers up a classic aromatic mélange of black cherries, dark berries, chipotle peppers, a fine, complex base of soil, cigar ash and woodsmoke in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and rock solid at the core, with impeccable focus and balance, bright acids and plenty of ripe, perfectly-integrated tannin on the long, complex and youthful finish. This superb bottle will need at least another six of seven years in the cellar to fully blossom, and over time should prove to be one of the very best vintages of Mayacamas cabernet from the decade of the nineties. If only all of the top wineries in California were still making wines with this sort of pedigree and cellaring potential! Fine juice.
agavin: bright and fruity. 2 votes.
From my cellar: 1998 Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon Martha’s Vineyard. JG 94+. This was the first time that I had the pleasure to taste the 1998 vintage of Martha’s Vineyard and the wine is excellent. The bouquet wafts from the glass in a ripe and classic constellation of sappy cherries, blood orange, a touch of red currant, eucalyptus, a fine base of soil, cedar and fine spicy complexity in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and now nicely open for business as it closes in on its twentieth birthday, with a superb core, impeccable balance and a very long, complex and moderately tannic finish. A classic in the making.
agavin: nice, drier, long finish, eucalyptus. 10 votes. 3rd place overall. One of my better rankings.
Erick brought: 1995 Colgin Cabernet Sauvignon Herb Lamb Vineyard. RP 98. I realize perfection in wine, like perfection in anything, is in the eyes of the beholder, and there are those who believe perfection is simply unobtainable. But in my mind, the 1996 and 1995 come close to perfection. Why? First of all, these extraordinary expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon are awesomely concentrated and endowed, while at the same time elegant and amazingly harmonious. The equilibrium between the wines’ component parts – new oak, alcohol, tannin, acidity, and extract – is right on, with nothing out of place. The 1996 and 1995 could be mistaken for identical twins, although close examination reveals that the 1995 has a slightly firmer tannic edge, and the 1996 slightly lower acidity. However, both possess Colgin’s tell-tale opaque black/purple color, phenomenal aromatics consisting of blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, cassis, subtle new oak, and a notion of floral scents (is it acacia or lilac?). In the mouth, both wines are full-bodied, remarkably supple and opulent, with a purity and presence of fruit that must be tasted to be believed. Their finishes last for 45+ seconds. I suspect each of these wines will get even better over the next 5-10 years before reaching their full plateau of maturity, where they should remain for two decades or more. They are the quintessential examples of Cabernet Sauvignons that marry power with elegance. As a friend said after tasting a Colgin Cabernet Sauvignon, “they float like a butterfly, but sting like a bee.” I am not sure Mohammad Ali or Ann Colgin would agree with that, but it paints another picture of these extraordinary wines. These wines are made by Helen Turley, the prodigiously talented winemaker/consultant.
agavin: herby, tart, menthol. 11 votes. 2nd place overall.
Walnut and radicchio risotto. I love risotto, and this was well cooked, but the walnuts could have been better and the radicchio gave it a touch of bitterness.
Avi brought: 1997 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon. RP 98. A blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc, the 1997 is just short of perfection from this great vintage in Napa Valley. A spectacular wine, it was the first made by Rosemary Cakebread. Production was quite high, as the new plantings started to fully produce, with 4,800+ cases declared. This is wine that fills the olfactory senses with gorgeous ripeness, blueberries, black raspberries, blackberries and cassis, while spring flowers and a touch of oak still lingers in the aromatics. When the wine hits the palate, the extraordinary intensity, purity and multi-dimensional complexity all seem to converge with a cascade of fruit, glycerin and richness. Like most Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignons, it is only 13.8% alcohol. This is a magnificent wine, a young adolescent in the scheme of its potentially fascinating evolution and should have a good 25-30+ years left in it – although it’s strutting its stuff at present. Certainly in the first two decades of Spottswoode wines this is clearly one of the most compelling efforts.
agavin: deep purple, rhone-like. 4 votes.
Robin brought: 2001 Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon. RP 91-94. The 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa has hit its plateau of maturity where it should rest for another decade. Sweet, juicy, sexy black and red currant fruit intertwined with licorice, earth and subtle oak aromas jump from the glass of this dense plum/purple-colored wine. Attractive, round, fleshy and voluptuously textured, this fully mature, loaded 2001 can be drunk now and over the next ten years.
agavin: deep. 4 votes.
Larry brought: 2001 Dominus. RP 98. A brilliant showing for Christian Moueix’s well-known Napanook Vineyard, the 2001 Dominus is a blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 10% Petit Verdot. A classic in the making, this is a flawless, seamless example of elegant, complex Napa Cabernet Sauvignon that possesses a Bordeaux-like personality. This gorgeous, sexy, opulent, dense ruby/purple-colored wine reveals sweet caramel, mocha, creme de cassis and kirsch notes intermixed with a hint of espresso roast as well as underbrush. Ripe, long and full-bodied with well-integrated tannin, acidity, alcohol and wood, this prodigious 2001 is drinkable now and over the next 25+ years given this estate’s longevity track record. A virtually perfect wine, it is one of the most complex 2001s at present.
Parpadelle with ragu Bolognese. Very good, although not quite as good as Felix.
John brought: 2005 Colgin Cariad Proprietary Red Wine. RP 100. The blend that Colgin fashions from three vineyards owned by David Abreu (Madrona, Thorevilos and Howell Mountain) is called Cariad. The 2005 Proprietary Red Cariad consists of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc and 9% Petit Verdot. Offering up spring flowers and garden aromas, sweet blueberry and black raspberry fruit, a touch of charcoal embers, graphite and background toast, it is fleshy and full-bodied, and again, meriting a three-digit score. This is absolutely remarkable wine. As it sat in the glass, it developed some rather compelling chocolaty, licorice undertones. This is a great classic to drink over the next 20-25 years. By the way, for those interested, the cooperage generally chosen is dominated by Taransaud barrels, but there are at least four different coopers.
Brian brought: 2006 Shafer Hillside Select. RP 92-94. A slightly more compact version of the great Hillside, but nevertheless youthful, the 2006 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select has a dense purple color, some notes of damp earth, cedar wood, forest floor, red and black currants, and toast. Some austere tannins kick in in the finish, but the wine is full-bodied, ripe and rich. An outstanding effort, but not one of the monumental vintages for Hillside Select, it should be drunk over the next 20 years.
agavin: rich, hot, long finish, tropical skittles. 32 votes. First place of the night. Brian gets the free dinner!
Amanda brought: 2007 Bond Vecina Proprietary Red Wine. RP 100. A perfect wine, the 2007 Vecina provides a prodigious display of blackberries, charcoal, black currants, burning embers and a La Mission-Haut-Brion-like hot rock/gravelly character. The most tannic as well as most concentrated and layered of the 2007s, this is a long-term, but utterly brilliant wine. In many ways it reminds me of the Harlan Estate itself given its prodigious build and potential for extended longevity. It merits 4-5 years of bottle age and should drink well for three decades thereafter.
agavin: super dense, eucalyptus, coconut. 8 votes.
Mark brought: 2007 Maybach Materium. RP 99. The prodigious 2007 Materium exhibits an even more opaque purple color, and ratchets up the level of intensity and aromatic complexity. Blackberry, black raspberry, blueberry, and cassis aromas intermixed with notes of crushed rocks, spring flowers, and toasty new oak are found in this beauty. Outstanding intensity along with full-bodied power and beautifully integrated acids, tannins, alcohol, and wood suggest this 2007 should hit its peak in 5-7 years, and evolve for three decades or more.
agavin: dense & hot. 9 votes.
Only here did I start to get full. Veal with potatoes. Fine, but not exciting.
Dave was getting hungry also before this course and ran down the block and brought back parmesan truffle fries!
Flight D for Dessert:
2003 Château La Tour Blanche La Tour Blanche. RP 92-96. The La Tour Blanche ‘03 offers yellow flowers, melted candle wax and honey on the nose with Muscat-like aromas developing in the glass. The palate is well-balanced on the entry with lemon curd and honey notes, though it needs just a little more acidity to give it tension and freshness. The finish is quite linear, springs no surprises, and just drifts a little when you seek more tautness and race. Still, this is a pleasurable, if not profound La Tour Blanche. Drink now-2020+ Tasted April 2013.
Apple bread with ice cream. Tasted like French Toast.
Overall the food was pretty good. Not as good as last time — noting that they are technically closed. Service was slow despite the place being empty, as the manager pretty much did it himself, but they were extremely nice and accommodating.
Wines were solid for the Dirty Dozen and being Cabernet (which I don’t really like). Only one “bad” or spoiled and a whole mess that were great.
For more LA dining reviews click here.