Restaurant: Spring Place
Location: 9800 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. (310) 591-8884
Date: January 25, 2019
Rating: Excellent neighborhood Italian
We Sauvages have been following chef Mirko Paderno around for a while now, from Oliverio, to Officine, to Culina, to Estrella, and now to Spring Place. The wine theme for today’s lunch is Nebbiolo (namely Barolo and Barbaresco).
This is one oddball location, a sort of business club in the heart of Beverly Hills with a restaurant. How they possibly pay the rent for this gorgeous (empty) space is beyond me.
Everything is quite modern and attractive.
We had this huge private dining area to ourselves.
2004 Bruno Paillard Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut. VM 90. The 2004 Brut Millesime Blanc de Blancs is made in a fairly rich style for Chardonnay in this vintage, with a bit more body and overall breadth than is found in most 2004 Blanc de Blancs. Pear, baked apple, apricot pit, sage, mint and butter meld together in an open-knit, expressive, poised Champagne to drink now and over the next 5-10 years.
Here is chef Mirko in the whites.
Our special menu, designed by Stuart.
2016 Bruno Giacosa Roero Arneis. 89 points. Nice mineral driven wine. Great mouth feel.
Amuse-Bouche. Kumamoto oyster, yuzu and ponzu citrus vinaigrette & hamachi nigiri eel sauce. More Japanese than Italian, but quite tasty.
From my cellar: 1978 Cantine del Castello Feudale di Montegrosso d’Asti Barbaresco Riserva Speciale. 90 points. A touch shaken up so there was a lot of sediment.
1997 Albino Rocca Barbaresco Vigneto Brich Ronchi. VM 93. Good full deep red. Superripe aromas of roasted plum, redcurrant, marzipan, grilled nuts and pungent oak spices. Dense, fleshy and seamless, with compelling depth of flavor. This wine has the sheer buffering material to handle the high percentage of new oak in which it was aged.
2001 Giorgio Pelissero Barbaresco Vanotu. VM 91. The estate’s top botling, the Barbaresco Vanotu (made from parcels in Neive and Treiso) is a superb wine with penetrating aromas of alcohol and toasted oak. It offers outstanding balance, in its round, lush personality, with a lingering note of balsamic sweetnes on the exquisite finish. Made from parcels in Neive and Treiso.
Antipasto. Beef tenderloin battuta, black truffle infused soft egg yolk, black truffle, and tonnato sauce. I mixed it all together. Very coarse texture on the beef which I liked, although it felt slightly Italian old school in that way. Lots of truffle flavor and beefiness with that umami thing from the tuna sauce.
1967 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Riserva. JG 89. The 1967 Barolo “Riserva” from Borgogno is a good, solid example of the vintage that shows the sturdy style of the house in this era. The bouquet is complex and still fairly youthful, offering up scents of cherries, licorice, road tar, herb tones, forest floor and a touch of blood orange in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and tangy, with a good core, fine focus and balance and still a touch of backend tannin perking up the long and gently autumnal finish. This is quite elegant in profile for the Borgogno wines of the sixties, and while it is not the most complex example of the fine ’67 vintage, there is a lot of pleasure to be found here.
1990 Prunotto Barolo Cannubi. 93 points. Started out nicely and evolved beautifully to the last sips. Wonderfully perfumed and complex with nascent signs of tertiary development and a light puff of silky tannin still standing guard. Lovely now, but seems poised for continued positive development. Important to stand this up a few days before drinking and pour carefully as there is quite a bit of sediment here.
1996 Poderi Aldo Conterno Barolo Riserva Granbussia. VM 95+. Deep, full red. Great subtly sweet aromas of redcurrant, plum, spice cake, minerals, dried fruits and marzipan; a wine of compelling perfume. Extremely tightly wound and vigorous, with great sappy verve and powerful framing acidity. Fruit flavors are lifted by an exotic suggestion of orange peel. Very youthful and long, finishing with great thrust and buns of steel. A tightly coiled wine with a long future, perfectly representative of this great vintage. “This will last 30 years without any problem,” promises Aldo.
agavin: huge and amazing wine
1996 Domenico Clerico Barolo Pajana. VM 93. Dark ruby-red. Classy, sappy aromas of black cherry, currant, dark chocolate, cola, tobacco and nutty oak; hints at a medicinal austerity. Silky and dense but with no loss of focus. A very concentrated, deep wine with chewy extract. Extremely long on the aftertaste. The noble tannins reach the molars.
Pasta. Maccheroncini amatriciana, smoked bacon, onion & pecorino cheese. Classic Roman dish. Pasta itself was perfect. It was a very good dish, but not quite as “porky” (and salty) as I like in amatriciana.
2000 Paolo Scavino Barolo Riserva Rocche dell’Annunziata. VM 97. The 2000 Barolo Riserva Rocche dell’Annunziata is another exceptional Barolo. Impossibly fine, silky tannins support sweet red cherries, raspberries, rose petals and spices, all of which come together in the open-knit style that is typical of this great site. This, too, is another fabulous Barolo from Scavino.
2000 Poderi Aldo Conterno Barolo Cicala. VM 92. The 2000 Barolo Cicala opens with gorgeous notes of crushed berries. It is a relatively small-scaled, lithe Cicala that shows excellent freshness all the way through to the long finish. The wine gains freshness and focus in the glass, with suggestions of menthol and pine that add lift.
2001 E. Pira & Figli (Chiara Boschis) Barolo Cannubi. VM 91. The 2001 Barolo Cannubi is a pretty wine, but despite its considerable charms, it remains heavily marked by French oak, which was 100% new in this vintage. There is plenty of intensity in the dark fruit, along with pretty suggestions of flowers, spices and mint that add complexity. Still, I can’t help wondering what the 2001 might have been like with a less overt use of French oak. A recent magnum was naturally fresher than the normal bottle. I would prefer to drink the 2001 sooner rather than later.
Risotto acquerello, black winter truffle & parmigiano reggiano. Amazing dish, best of the day. Very simple with good truffle quality.
1998 Gaja Langhe Nebbiolo Sorì Tildìn. VM 93+. Full ruby-red. Restrained but pure aromas of currant, plum, menthol and roasted meat. Supple, rich and seamless; less sweet and accessible today than the Costa Russi but already shows superb generosity of texture. Finishes with sweet, building tannins and excellent length. This may well shut down in bottle.
1998 Gaja Langhe Nebbiolo Sorì San Lorenzo. VM 96. The 1998 Sorì San Lorenzo is one of the most pleasant surprises in this tasting. Fresher than the 1997 – even if not as voluptuous – the 1998 captures the best qualities of the year. Smoke, tobacco, menthol, plums and black cherries are all laced together in a silky, perfumed wine that is stunning today. This is a terrific showing from the 1998.
2004 Enzo Boglietti Barolo Arione. VM 93. The 2004 Barolo Arione stands apart from Boglietti’s wines from La Morra. A powerful, sinewy wine, it captures the essence of this Serralunga vineyard in its autumn leaves, iron, licorice, tar and dark fruit. There is plenty of richness and depth here as well, but the wine possesses an additional level of brute force and thrust. This too is a beautifully expressive wine loaded with personality. As is the case with Boglietti’s other Barolos in this vintage, the Arione develops nicely in the glass. Ideally a few years of cellaring are warranted, but my impression is that some of the wine’s tannins may never melt away completely.
2004 La Spinetta (Rivetti) Barolo Vürsù Vigneto Campè. VM 93. La Spinetta’s 2004 Barolo Campè has softened nicely with time. When it was first released, I thought the 2004 might be slightly lacking in fruit, but all things considered, it has held up nicely. Today the 2004 is forward, juicy and supple, with plenty of up-front fruit and overall generosity. With air, the wine comes together nicely, as the strong French oak accent softens and the fruit emerges more fully. Attractive scents of super-ripe red cherries, mint, cinnamon and wild flowers meld effortlessly into the seamless fruit. The racy, sleek finish captures the essence of the La Spinetta house style.
Secondi. Roasted quail, cauliflower puree, eggplant caponata & natural jus. Very nice little bird.
Bonus Flight (for cheese):
2004 Paolo Scavino Barolo Carobric. VM 94. The 2004 Barolo Carobric is in a great place today where it is starting to show the first signs of aromatic complexity, yet it also clearly has plenty of upside for the future. Firm yet nicely integrated tannins give the 2004 much of its energy. Sweet tobacco, plums, underbrush, cherries and melted road tar linger on the multi-faceted finish. Carobric is a blend of fruit from Cannubi, Rocche di Castiglione and Bric del Fiasc.
The gang at the table.
Crisps for the cheese.
Nice set of cheeses including parmesan with balsamic, stilton, and a Barolo cheese.
NV Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Rosé. VM 92. Pale orange. High-pitched red berry, orange zest and jasmine aromas, with suave mineral and smoky lees notes adding complexity. Spicy and precise on the palate, showing very good punch to its strawberry and bitter cherry flavors. Opens up smoothly with air and picks up a bitter rhubarb quality that lingers onto the long, tightly focused finish. This bottling showed more brawny character than many past renditions of this <em>cuvée</em>, but with no lack of vivacity.
Two gelatti I made myself, stacking up the BYOG count:
Another new flavor — Orange Cinnamon Gelato — I steeped the milk with blood orange rind, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg! — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — oh my! — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #IceCream #NomNom #dessert #orange #cinnamon #vanilla #nutmeg
Riffing on a theme — Raspberry Passionfruit Amaro Sorbetto! — the Amaro and Passionfruit offsets the cloying sweetness of the Raspberry nicely — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #raspberry #passionfruit #amaro #cocktail #sorbet #sorbetto
Overall, mixed bag at Spring Place.
Food was excellent. Not perfect, but Mirko is a really really good Italian chef and it was as always, very good. Particularly the Risotto and Beef Tartar.
Setting was weird but gorgeous.
Service was very friendly but super slow. Food service suffered from at least two 35-45 extra minute insertions between courses making it a four hour lunch! This kitchen probably isn’t tuned for large special parties. And the wine service was well intentioned but kinda laughable. Emil and I had to organize and open the wines ourselves and the waiter was pouring them SO slowly the food was done before the first wine got around. Pours were uneven too. Clearly he hadn’t really done this stuff before — but he was nice and well intentioned.
Wines were excellent. Nothing really flawed and I do love good Nebbiolo.