Location: 6001 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038. (323) 466-8812
Date: February 25, 2020
Tonight I return to a favorite haunt for a special Penfolds dinner featuring one of Penfolds own, organized by my good friend John.
The amazing chef/owner Sal Marino cooks at his original family haunt, venerable Marino Ristorante on Melrose and continues to whip up his unique blend of amazing modern Italian. And if anything, he’s gotten even better.
Penfolds is an Australian wine producer that was founded in Adelaide in 1844 by Christopher Rawson Penfold, an English physician who emigrated to Australia, and his wife Mary Penfold. It is one of Australia’s oldest wineries, and is currently part of Treasury Wine Estates.
Our special menu tonight.
Wines at the ready.
And just chilling.
2012 Penfolds x Thienot Champagne Lot. 1-175. Pale yellow. Some mousse on the pour. Medium sized persistent bubbles.
Chalky nose. Pears, apples, chalky with a hint of tobacco. Very astringent and aggressive on first sip. Some nuttiness. No brioche and very little mousse on sipping. Well structured. An excellent bottle without a doubt. It should age well, but it’s approachable now. Good stuff. QPR a tad low.
Tuna and caviar with olive oil. Nice bite. Flavors soft and subtle.
Razor clams. Very Vietnamese but super delicious.
Rock cod with Japanese Sea Urchin. Delicious, but I might have liked a more intense uni flavor.
The gang at the big table in the back of the main dining room.
Sal introduces the food.
2016 Penfolds Chardonnay Yattarna. 95 points. White Peach, nectarine, meyer lemons, lemon meringue pie along with a nutty profile and great acidity, this is wine is painfully young, wait 10 years to fully enjoy this masterpiece. Multi-regional blend. From Tasmania, Henty, Adelaide Hills and Tumbarumba aged in french oak barrels (35% new) for 8 months.
agavin: this was a great “fake” chard (as I call any non white Burgundy chard). But it is expensive considering it’s “fake.”
Wild Japanese Snapper Crudo with Radish Mosaic. Very nice soft flavors.
2016 Penfolds Shiraz St. Henri. 94 points. Clear deep ruby; clean medium plus nose of cassis, blueberries, black pepper, toast and vanilla; dry; medium plus acidity; medium plus tannins; high alcohol; medium plus body; pronounced flavor intensity; pfn with addition of cocoa and black licorice; long finish; outstanding quality; from the bottle, it wasn’t as pronounced as we remember from the Penfolds dinner; we decanted and it was infinitely better
Prime Filet Tartare, black truffle. Tons of strong truffle aromatics.
2017 Penfolds Shiraz RWT Bin 798. 94 points. Clear deep ruby; clean medium nose of fresh cassis yogurt, vanilla, blueberry and toast; dry; medium plus acidity; medium plus tannins; high alcohol; medium plus body; medium plus flavour intensity; pfn with addition of cocoa; long finish; outstanding quality; big ass wine
Rhode Island Black Bass with black tuscan kale and sweet onions. This was paired (controversially) with a massive Austrialian red but due to the sweet onions and the awesome rich sauce it actually worked spectacularly.
2016 Penfolds Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 707. A touch “dusty” in style.
Maccheroncini with Jimenez farm lamb ragout. Very nice meaty pasta.
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.
Kirk brought this rare: 1990 Penfolds Shiraz Coonawarra.
30 day dry aged ribeye with salt and porcini mushroom sauce. Great meat, perfectly cooked and seasoned, with the stunning rich sauce.
NV Penfolds Grandfather Rare Tawny. 94 points. This is undoubtedly one of the best bottles of port I have ever had at any price. Pecans and fruitcake on the nose. Thick and luxurious with a burnt sugar, nutty palate that even seemed to have a touch of peppermint in the background. Great finish and mouthfeel with no hint of heat or alcohol. I though my impression of this may have been overblown when I drank my first bottle several months ago, due to the amount of wine consumed, but this 2nd bottle also knocked it out of the park.
Ricotta cheesecake. Very Sicilian in flavor, like a fluffy cannoli interior. Loved it.
From my cellar: 2008 Paolo Bea Sagrantino di Montefalco Passito. 94 points. Tasted at the winery: Prune-like, candied plum, cherry, siky, lush, intnse tangy aspect; not heavy, slightly sweet with good lift, medium long finish. Very nice classic passito.
This is a signature Sweet Milk flavor — Italian Lemon Cookie Meringue Pie — Limoncello Zabaione base with lemon cookie flavor mixed with Italian Lemon Creme Cookies and Sicilian Candied Lemon and topped with house-made toasted Meringue — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato) — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #lemon #LemonCookie #cookie #Sicily #Sorento #Limoncello #Meringue #LemonMeringuePie
Getting crazy with an innovative new flavor: Oaxacan Choco-Mole – The base is made with Valrhona 100% Cacao and intense Oaxacan Mole Negro from Guelaguetza restaurant — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #Valrhona #chocolate #cocao #oaxaca #mole #molenegro
Sal was totally on point today and we had a perfect meal. Service was great too. Really nice dinner that went extremely smoothly. The wines were lovely, but BIG for the most part. Grange needs a lot of time and even the 99 was a baby. The 16s and 17s — woah.