Restaurant: Elite Restaurant [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]
Location: 700 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754. (626) 282-9998
Date: October 8, 2017
Cuisine: Cantonese Dim Sum
Elite is well known as one of great LA’s top dimsum places and so the Dirty Dozen is heading there on this lovely (hot) Sunday afternoon for a blind tasting of “great French white wines that are not champagne or Burgundy.”
We have the private room, of course.
We even had a satellite (non drinking) table.
2011 Michel Gonet Champagne Grand Cru Le Mesnil sur Oger Blanc de blancs. 90 points. huge mousse with lots of persistent fine bubbles. sweet nose of sweet rolls and perfume flowers. youthful, fresh, acidic palate. flavors of pistachio, lime, and mineral. long finish. needs to rest a couple of years but should be good as it puts on weight.
Jennifer brought: NV Ruinart Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut. VM 92. Pale yellow. Complex, high-pitched aromas of orange zest, lemon pith, iodine, smoky minerals, anise and jasmine. Sappy and tactile on the palate, offering impressive volume to its ripe citrus and orchard fruit flavors accented by smoke and minerals. Finishes tangy and long, with lingering smokiness and an echo of anise.
XO sauce. Umami goodness.
Warren brought: 2005 Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fumé Buisson Renard. 92 points. Un nez évolué, complexe, avec des nuances de sucre d’orge. Viennent ensuite les arômes de fruit de la passion, avec du poivre blanc. Un vin d’une superbe complexité aromatique, qui m’évoquait un cru chablisien avec de l’âge.
Arnie brought: 2014 Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fumé Silex. 94 points. Think I killed a baby here.
Decanted the wine for a small hour, but the acidity was still very high and harsh. Not what I remember from a Silex. Think it is better to wait a few years before tasting this wine. Next appointment with this wine in 2020 😉
Albert brought: 2001 Château de Fieuzal Blanc. 90 points. Light straw gold colour. Nose is warm straw and a bit of cow poo then fresh peach and white apricot. Palate is thick, oily and unctuous without being at all cloying…..peach stone, confit peach, fresh almonds, fresh honeycomb.Heady, resonant and reverberant.
Pork Shui-Mai. Also great versions of the classic.
Tofu wrap. Mostly vegetables wrapped in bean curd. Hot and soft and delicious.
Chicken feet in house sauce. Not my thing, but some like it.
Spicy jellyfish. I like this stuff, but not everyone at the table is a fan.
Har Gow (Crystal shrimp). Excellent versions of the standard.
Yarom brought: 1997 Château Laville Haut-Brion Blanc. VM 89. Complex, expressive aromas of lemon, honey, ginger, quinine, butterscotch and fresh herbs, plus a waxy suggestion of semillon. Supple and ripe, with moderate depth of flavor and good citric cut. Seems a bit stunted by the August ’98 bottling. Finishes with good but not outstanding length.
Ron brought: 2002 Lur-Saluces “Y”. 92 points. Positive surprise. Thought it would have been way past maturity, but this was quite a beautiful bottle. Nicely developed tertiary aromas, soft acidity. A little bit too warm on the finish dominated by the alcohol (14,5%). But a nice and very interesting bottle.
From my cellar: 2009 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc. Parker 98. Smith-Haut-Lafitte hit a home run with their red Pessac-Leognan and came very close to perfection with their dry white Graves. Possibly the best dry white the estate has produced since the proprietors, the Cathiards, acquired the property in 1990, this wine exhibits a sensational fragrance of buttered citrus, honeyed melons and a touch of grapefruit, lemon zest and orange rind. It also displays grapefruit on the attack and mid-palate as well as real opulence, terrific acidity and length. Drink it over the next 15-20 years. Astonishing!
Elite BBQ Pork Bun. Like a jelly donut, just filled instead with porky goodness!
Shanghai Style Steamed Bun. We love XLB, and these particular examples were awesome. 4 tins disappeared in like 4 minutes.
Dumpling. This one had peanuts and some other seafood bits inside.
Golden Corn BBQ Pork Rice Noodle. Historically in our family we called these “slime.” This was some excellent slime.
Scallop Dumpling. This was one of the best scallop dumplings I’ve had. There are all sorts of trefy goodies in there.
Larry brought: 2011 E. Guigal Condrieu La Doriane. VM 93. Pale gold. Nectarine, pear and lemon curd on the nose, with complicating vanilla and mineral qualities gaining strength with air. Broad and fleshy but impressively focused, offering juicy orchard fruit flavors and a bitter note of citrus pith. Precise, dry and nervy on the strikingly long, penetrating finish, with its sexy honeysuckle and ginger notes.
Brian brought: 2012 E. Guigal Condrieu La Doriane. VM 93. Bright yellow. Assertive aromas of nectarine, violet and smoky minerals, with a gingery nuance adding lift. Broad and silky on the palate, offering densely packed orchard and pit fruit flavors that become spicier with air. The mineral note comes back strong on the finish, which lingers with excellent tenacity and building smokiness.
Fried Meat Stuff Dumpling. With a title like that, I had to order. This was the chewy fried rice coating with sweet ground meat paste inside. Kinda delicious except it was fairly hollow (not enough filling).
Layered beancurd. Only my second time having this flaky beancurd layer cake. All texture but it was really great.
Dumpling. Mystery inside with meat and peanuts.
Baked BBQ pork dumpling. Little flakey. pastry triangles stuffed with the usual red BBQ pork.
Pea tendrils and garlic. Colon sweeper.
Baked chicken bun. Delicious slightly sweet crunchy exterior top filled with chopped seasoned chicken meat.
Fried shrimp ball with almond. This is the usual shrimp cake but coated in almond. It really added a nice texture. Quite fun.
Avi brought: 2003 M. Chapoutier Ermitage Blanc De L’Orée. VM 93. Exotic aromas of candied peach, menthol, tea and spices. Supersweet, ripe and complex, with suggestions of lemon verbena and garrigue At once exotic and powerful, with firm structure and little obvious heat showing today. Finishes extremely long and shapely, with exotic suggestions of oriental spices. Serve this with spicy Asian dishes, Mazoyer suggests, adding that this wine should be drunk soon or laid down for 15 years.
David P brought: 2012 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Cuvée Roussanne Vieilles Vignes. VM 94. Vivid yellow. An explosively perfumed bouquet evokes ripe melon, nectarine and mango, and powerful mineral and floral elements add vivacity and lift. Broad, sappy and deeply concentrated, offering intense orchard fruit and pit fruit flavors that stain the palate while showing surprising vivacity. Strikes a deft balance between richness and finesse, picking up ginger and honey flourishes on the back half. Clings with outstanding energy and persistence on the finish, leaving sappy pear nectar and floral notes behind.
Arnie brought: 2005 Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc. 90 points. This was terrific. Floral on opening, then loads of stone fruit with a hint of spice and pineapple, great depth and a long finish. Best bottle of three I purchased; showing signs of age and depth.
Elite fried rice. A bit of everything.
House Roasted Duck. The duck does not suck. In fact, it was great. There was that usual authentic Chinese bone factor, but the taste was first rate.
Seafood chow mein. Excellent, always one of my favorites.
Lobster noodles. The lobster itself was good in one of those light white Chinese sauces, but the noodles are soggy.
Too full for dessert but we had dessert wine.
Ron bonus: 2001 Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Rangen de Thann Clos St. Urbain. VM 93. Bright deep yellow. Smoky camphor, peach and a hint of honeyed pineapple on the showy nose. Enters the mouth fresh, lively and precise, then turns slightly austere, showing noteworthy tannic bite to its orchard fruit and sweet spice flavors. A touch of marmaladey botrytis adds complexity on the lingering, ripe, rich finish. In 2001, high-quality botrytis targeted the Pinot Gris, so that a Sélection de Grains Nobles was produced with the grapes from the vines nearest to the river Thur; it was the grapes from Zind-Humbrecht’s other wines in the Clos that were used to produce the bottling I describe here. Check out these numbers: only 13.6% alcohol, 30 g/l residual sugar, and 6.1 g/l total acidity. Utterly irresistible right now; in fact, I don’t think there is much to gain by holding onto it any longer. I remember first tasting this wine when it was released, and it struck me then as uncharacteristically ready to drink from the outset, but the wine’s iodiney minerality is starting to take center stage from the fruit elements. In 2001, a cold and rainy September had many producers anxious, but the warmest October on record to that point ensured a clean, glitch-free harvest. “This was a rare year in which we were out harvesting in tee shirts, thanks to 28°C days in October,” Olivier Humbrecht reminisced. And at 36 hectoliters per hectare, 2001 was also a very generous year for production by the standards of the Clos.
Another awesome Chinese feast. Jennifer did all the wine organization (thanks Jenn!). I ordered the food and too much of it, so much that we didn’t have room for a dessert course.
This whole thing was <= $50 including paying for the winner AND a huge tip. Food was very fresh and on point. A large percentage of my fiends who go to dimsum think it’s the best in the SGV. I personally agree, with next best being King Hua. Certainly Elite, King Hua, and Lunasia are also at the top, but slightly below and there is a tier even slightly below that including Sea Harbor, World Seafood, Grand Harbor. Wines were pretty good. I liked the Viognier and some of the other areas besides the Rhone better. Not a fan of those heavy Rhone whites.
One of the best Dirty Dozen meals I’ve been too — I like these Chinese lunch ones best — because I love Chinese food.
For more LA Chinese reviews click here.