Restaurant: Dinner at the Borgese’s [1, 2, 3]
Location: Santa Monica
Date: January 6, 2020
Cuisine: Italian influenced gourmet home cooking
Dinner at the Borgese’s is a special house dinner in Santa Monica cooked by the stunning pro-level home chef Borgese couple.
The dynamic Borgese duo.
Their house has not only a wine cellar, but a cheese and meat larder!
Plus all this incredible wood fired oven set up.
Pasta and steaks at the ready.
Since it was a “wintery” January evening, we ate inside in the dining room as opposed to out on the lovely patio.
From my cellar: 2007 Taittinger Champagne Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut. VM 96. Taittinger’s 2007 Comtes de Champagne will be nearly impossible to resist upon release. Soaring aromatics, mid-weight structure and soft contours give the 2007 its alluring personality. Lemon oil, white flowers, mint, chamomile and green pear add brightness and freshness throughout, with a persistent, clean finish that makes it impossible to resist a second taste. Today, the 2007 comes across as a slightly more open version of the 2004, with freshness that makes that wine so appealing, and a touch of textural richness that recalls the 2002. Although the 2007 does not have the explosive energy or verticality of the profound 2006, it will drink better earlier. The 2007 has been positively brilliant on the three occasions I have tasted it so far. (Drink between 2018-2047)
NV Krug Champagne Brut Grande Cuvée Edition 168eme. 95 points. Exceptional, though this wine needs a decent amount of air to show at its best. Aroma of citrus, brioche, and gingerbread. Intense acidity on palate with flavors of green apples, baking spices, toast, and rum raisins. A bit like Apfelstrudel. Exquisitely balanced, with a huge, rich body and unami in abundance. I cannot remember tasting a wine that has shown so well at so early a stage of its evolution.
Our table setting.
From my cellar: 2010 Joseph Drouhin Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches Blanc. JG 94+. The inherent elegance of the 2010 vintage is the perfect foil for the Clos des Mouches blanc and this is one of the most beautiful young vintages of this consistently excellent wine that I have had the pleasure to taste. The brilliant nose soars from the glass in a complex mélange of apple, lemon, a touch of butter, chalky soil tones, lemon oil, orange blossoms and vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, pure and quite reserved in profile, with a great core of fruit, impressive, nascent complexity, zesty acids and laser-like focus on the deep, transparent and utterly seamless finish. A great Clos des Mouches. (Drink between 2016-2040)
2013 Paul Pernot et ses Fils Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet. BH 93. A wonderfully complex and slightly riper nose offers up notes of honeysuckle, jasmine tea, peach and spiced pear. The superbly rich, classy and pure medium-bodied flavors possess impressive size, weight and mid-palate concentration while coating the mouth on the strikingly long, serious and energetic finish where a hint of bitter lemon appears. This is a relatively big and powerful BBM that will definitely need at least 5 to 6 years of bottle age before it begins to display glimpses of its full potential. (Drink starting 2023)
Tartare di Manzo con Tartufo. Beef Tartare Crostini with truffle. Great meaty toast.
From my cellar: 1996 Domaine Denis Bachelet Charmes-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes. VM 95. The 1996 Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru is a wine that I bought a few bottles of in the days when I could get change from fifty pounds! This replicates the strong showing from 2010: ebullient red fruit on the nose with crushed granite and light truffle scents that convey more brightness than many 1996 reds. The palate is beautifully balanced with svelte tannins and a well-structured, quite grippy but balanced finish. It simply oozes effortless class and should offer many more years of pleasure. Tasted at The Ledbury in London. (Drink between 2019-2035)
1996 Gros Frère et Sœur Grands-Echezeaux. 93 points. Sexy aroma, just the right amount of funk. Enticing. Palate more precise than the nose.
2004 Domaine Ponsot Clos de la Roche Vieilles Vignes. VM 93. Good deep red. Superripe, slightly decadent aromas of red cherry, leather and underbrush. Plush, fat and large-scaled; a full-blown expression of soil, with notes of smoke and game. This boasts extraordinary sweetness for the vintage, remaining just this side of over the top. Just a hint of nut skin on the finish. Very sexy wine.
Quaglia Ripiene con Polenta. Stuffed quail over polenta. Great quail. Great polenta.
1995 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Turque. VM 96. Deep ruby-red. Powerful, expressive aromas of roasted cherry and raspberry, marzipan, brown spices and grilled nuts. Ripe, creamy and lush, with seamless cherry and pepper fruit. Not quite as expressive today on the palate as the above. But here the tannins seem even finer, though this wine is not longer than the Mouline.
1995 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Landonne. VM 97+. Deep ruby-red. More sauvage aromas of black raspberry, blueberry, tar, mocha, minerals, mace and roasted game. Superconcentrated and powerful, with a near-solid texture. One of those rare wines that seems almost too big for the mouth. Finishes with huge, toothfurring-but-ripe tannins and great persistence.
Tagliatelle con Ragu di Coniglio. Rabbit ragu with tagliatelle pasta.
1989 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Mouline. VM 95. Saturated deep red. Roasted redcurrant, raspberry, tobacco and warm earth on the nose, along with an exhilarating component of exotic spices; this reminded me of the extraordinary ’89 Haut-Brion and La Mission. Thick, dense, huge and sweet but with excellent verve. A fleshy La Mouline that’s packed with flavor. Finishes extremely long and sweet, with substantial ripe, chewy tannins.
agavin: probably my RWOTN (red wine of the night)
1998 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Turque. VM 95+. Bright medium ruby. Griotte cherry, roasted herbs, pepper and brown spices on the nose. Tightly wound but also quite suave, with penetrating black fruit and licorice flavors. Very fresh and precise. Finishes firm and extremely long, with slow-building, pure, fruit-driven flavor.
Piccione al Rosemarino con Risotto. Rosemary pigeon over risotto.
Pigeon giblets. Strong!
1993 Penfolds Grange. 93 points. Made with 14% Cabernet. More fragrant than your typical Grange in a floral kind of way. There is still power on the nose that perhaps comes from the slightly higher dose of Cabernet in this vintage. There is also a creaminess on the palate but its not as good as they ’92 and certainly can’t hold a candle to the ’91.
1999 Penfolds Grange. VM 91+. Full ruby-red. Sexy aromas of raspberry, cola, root beer and coconut. Thick, dense and concentrated, with exotic, slightly candied dark fruit, caramel, toasted coconut and mineral flavors nicely shaped by firm acids. Shows strong fruit and a major dose of oak on the powerful, backward finish. This can’t quite match the 1998 for sheer depth of fruit, but it’s built to age.
Pappardelle con Ragu di Cighiale. Wild boar ragu with pappardelle pasta. Yarom shot it.
2004 Sine Qua Non Grenache Ode to E. VM 97. The 2004 Grenache Ode to E is absolutely stellar. There’s not too much more to say. Still young, fresh and vibrant, the 2004 is incredibly impressive. Exotic spice, rose petals, raspberry jam all open up in an effortless, nuanced wine bursting at the seams with personality. Exquisitely nuanced and balanced, the 2004 is a gem. Readers who own the 2004 should be thrilled; as it is a magnificent wine by any measure. My favorite age to drink Sine Qua Non wines is around ten years. The Ode to E Grenache delivers the goods, and then some. The blend is 88% Grenache, 10% Syrah and 2% Viognier, all from Eleven Confessions. (Drink between 2015-2024)
2011 Sine Qua Non Grenache Patine Eleven Confessions Vineyard. VM 97. The 2011 Grenache Patine has turned out beautifully. Dark red cherry, plum, mocha, spice and leather meld together in the glass as this savory, beautifully layered wine opens up. Herb, graphite, smoke, sage and tobacco add shades of nuance in a delineated Grenache that captures the best of this cool, late-ripening year. Patine is 77% Grenache, 22% Syra and 1% Viognier, all from Eleven Confessions, done with 25% whole clusters and aged for 33 months in French oak barrels, 11% new. (Drink between 2018-2031)
Bistecca Fiorentina alla Legna. Wood fired porterhouse steak. Definitely not overcooked!
Wood fired eggplant.
Polenta with jus. Oh so good!
Grapefruit Aperol Tarragon Sorbetto — Cold pressed Fresh Grapefruit juice from my garden, Aperol and fresh Tarragon! — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — Unique and bracing — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #sorbetto #grapefruit #aperol #tarragon
Haven’t made this in almost 3 years — Rocky Road Gelato — Valrhona Chocolate base with marshmallows and pecans and house-made caramel and toasted kosher Marshmallow topping! — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — oh my! — #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #chocolate #valrhona #RockyRoad #marshmallow #caramel #marshmallow #pecan
The wine lineup.
One tired chef — lots of work to put on this stunning dinner.
Overall, this was an amazing dinner.
First of all, the Borgese hospitality was awesome, the house lovely, and the food absolutely incredible. Best “home cooked” meal I’ve had. Maybe ever if you restrict it to chefs cooking in their own home kitchen. Just amazing. Every dish was great. Rustic but extremely delicious style. Superb homemade pastas. My gelato was darn good too :-).
Service was handled by the youngest Borgese (teen daughter) and her friend (both pictured below) and was better than most restaurant staff. Super friendly and you can tell they do this a lot.
Wines were out of this world too. I like this kind of array of different wines covering a range of foods. I did the pairings (flighting out what we had with the menu). Really an embarrassment of riches. Particularly the old Lalas.
We are heading back in February for “Uni night” — can’t wait!
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