Restaurant: Montage Loft
Location: 30801 Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651. (949) 715-6080
Date: June 17, 2021
Cuisine: California Cuisine
Rating: Great food but incredible wine
This epic wine week in June 2021 culminates down in the OC — so Kent can join — in an incredible and special La Tâche dinner.
It’s always a little bit of a challenge to find a location for these dinners as we need a spot in the OC willing to accommodate our wines and “relaxed” pacing. This time around we settled on a custom dinner at the Montage Laguna Beach — a lovely hotel I’ve stayed at a couple of times. We basically had a whole room in the dining room to ourselves. Inside dining was minimal because of the pandemic.
Our custom menu.
Fred brought: 1976 Krug Champagne Vintage Brut. VM 94. Krug’s 1976 Vintage, tasted from magnum, is rich, deep and powerful, with Riesling-inflected veins of minerality that run through a core of orange peel, ash and dried flowers. A deeply Pinot leaning wine, the 1976 offers notable richness and breadth throughout. The 1976 vintage in Champagne is remembered for a hot, dry growing season with an early harvest that produced intense powerful wines. Krug’s 1976 Vintage is now fully mature. Well-stored examples should continue to drink well for a number of years, although there is no upside from cellaring bottles further. Interestingly, this 1976 magnum was aged on cork, rather than crown capsule, like the 1979 tasted alongside it. (Drink between 2015-2018)
MZ brought: 1993 Coche-Dury Corton-Charlemagne. BH 95. A softly perfumed and now fully mature nose that still possesses plenty of youthful vibrancy leads to elegant, precise, chiseled and seductive flavors of superb elegance and plenty of power before culminating in a superbly long and mineral-infused finish. The ’93 remains extremely impressive and delivers everything that one expects from a great Corton-Charlemagne. Perhaps even more remarkable is just how youthful this still is because even though there is no further positive development in the offing, it should be capable of holding at this plateau for years to come. In a word, marvelous. Multiple, and consistent, notes.
agavin: one of the best white wines I’ve ever had — just stunning
Kushi Oyster. Pernod, Smoked Trout Roe, Fennel.
Hawaiian Kona Kampachi. Santa Barbara Sea Urchin, Kaluga Caviar, Sudachi Gelee, White Miso.
Hudon Valley Foie Gras. Toasted Almond Milk, Almond Torte, Summer Grape, Minus 8 Vinegar.
2005 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche. VM 100. The 2005 La Tâche is simply magnificent. There is not too much I can add. Deep, powerful and richly textured, the 2005 simply has it all. Time in the glass releases the aromatics, but it is the wine’s pure sensuality I find most enticing. A host of dark red and blue stone fruits, hard candy and wild flowers take center stage. Even with all of its intensity, the 2005 retains striking freshness and purity. Can it get better than this? (Drink between 2020-2055)
agavin: stunning, but very young still. Not sure I’ve had a Burgundy who’s paper scores are this high (99-100).
1999 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche. VM 100. The 1999 La Tâche Grand Cru can be a perfect wine. This was very similar to the bottle opened in 2015. The bouquet sends you straight to heaven with so much purity and detail that frankly it is difficult to put into words. Fleeting glimpses of redcurrant, then pomegranate, broom and wilted rose petals, later more earthy scents, autumnal. The palate is perfectly balanced with filigree tannin, a symmetry that is utterly entrancing and precision second to none. Hints of black plum and blood orange, that mineralité returning towards a finish so tensile you risk cutting yourself. I would have given this my second score had the 1999 Romanée-Conti been in the next glass. Tasted at the 1999 DRC dinner. (Drink between 2020-2065)
agavin: sadly this bottle was a little weird. Hard to tell if it was very slightly corked, just in an odd spot, or had some other flaw.
House-made Agnolotti. Awesome!
Maine Lobster. California Citrus Butter, Sicilian Pistachio, Farmer’s Market Beets, Potato-fennel Tuile.
A bit of fruit sorbetto.
1990 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche. BH 99. A stunning, massive, full-on and completely classic La Tâche nose that displays almost unbelievable complexity so with many different elements that it is impossible to even begin to describe them all; the primary components include ethereal and still fresh pinot fruit, clove, knock out spiciness, anise, hoisin, soy and a trace of earth but these elements only hint at the sheer depth. The flavors are big, rich, refined, classy, penetrating and superbly powerful yet everything is in perfect balance and there is more than sufficient sève to balance off the still considerable tannins. The finish is intense, pure and so long that it is haunting; I could literally still taste this wine days later after I had it because it had such a dramatic and emotional impact. In its youth, this was one of the finest young Burgundies that I have ever been privileged to try and it only seems to get better with each passing year. For my taste, this is getting close to arriving at its peak but it’s not quite there though again, I stress that this is to my taste and some may find it to already be in its sweet spot of maturation. In short, this is absolutely brilliant. Note that while I have had relatively consistent notes, I have had two bottles that were a bit astringent on the finish and not in the class of what I describe above. (Drink starting 2015)
agavin: incredible wine. Big, complex, oppulent.
1978 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche. VM 98. The 1978 La Tâche Grand Cru is a wine that it took me almost 20 years to taste and then two came along within the space of a few months. This example was almost identical to the bottle previously tasted in Hong Kong in 2016. Again, it delivers a bewitching bouquet with traits of undergrowth and fern that intertwine with the precisely defined red fruit. It takes a little time for the subtle ferrous note to emerge. The palate is medium-bodied, multi-dimensional and conveys presence rather than mass or density, which I suspect it did in its youth. Symmetrical with disarming focus, you are taken aback by the way it fans out and persists in the mouth. It is a ballet dancer performing a perfect Swan Lake. Stunning. Tasted at the La Paulée in Beaune. (Drink between 2018-2035)
agavin: red wine perfection. Just so perfect!
American Wagyu Beef Loin. Sunchoke Two Ways, Veal Sweet Bread, Mustard Seed, Mosel Mushroom, Sauce Perigourdine.
Kent brought a bonus: 1990 Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques. BH 91. Rich, ripe but not roasted with elegant, full-bodied flavors that display good density, power and outstanding length. Lovely, complex and still quite young.
agavin: very good, so good it was dancing not far off from the 90 LT!
Salted Caramel Coffee Sphere. Hot Cognac Chocolate & Madagascar Vanilla. Really excellent dessert.
Vietnamese Hazelnut Coffee Gelato — Cafe du Monde coffee milk with Piedmontese Hazelnut Paste swirled with Sweetened Condensed Milk — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #vietnameseCoffee #coffee #CafeduMonde #SweetenedCondensedMilk #hazelnut
Matchacchio Latte Gelato — Ceremonial Matcha Green Tea and Sicilian Pistacchio di Bronte DOP gelato base. I was skeptical the first time I made it, but it turned out to be a lovely flavor. And the green is all natural! — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #pistacchio #bronte #matcha #GreenTea #Sicily
Burnt Basque Cheesecake Gelato — Milk steeped with Tahitian Vanilla Beans and Valencia Orange Peels and then blended with Cream-cheese and Egg Yolks, layered with house made “burnt” Caramel and topped with house-made Caramel Brittle, finished with the torch! — created 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 #basque #cheesecake #caramel #brittle #orange
This was an incredible evening. I was very pleasantly surprised how good the food was. Not mind blowing, but Fred did an excellent job producing the menu and we had a lot of good sized and delicious dishes shooting way over the level of typical hotel fare. The “we have half the dining room to ourselves” vibe was amazing.
But what really stood out were the wines. It’s a bit of a shame that the 99 was weird, and the 05 was too young, but wow wow with regard to the 90 and 78 LT and the 93 Coche!
Previous diners in this week included Providence and N/Naka.
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