Location: Los Angeles
Date: July 18, 2021
Rating: Very tasty and great night
It’s been 7 years since I went to a Wolvesmouth dinner. My previous visit was great fun, but it was for a long time a complicated “application based” dinner and I’m kinda lazy about such things. So when some of my friends decided to buy out the night and invited me I jumped at the chance and brought along my entire family, including my parents, wife, and brother.
Champagnes at the ready.
2004 Dom Pérignon Champagne. VM 97. Another stellar wine, the 2004 Dom Pérignon is just starting to show the first signs of aromatic development, as well as a bit of added weight it did not have as a young wine. The 2004 remains a bright, mid-weight DP built on persistence and length more than overt volume. I have always had a soft spot for the 2004. This tasting does nothing to dampen that enthusiasm. (Drink between 2019-2039)
Jeridan shows off the Krug.
Our handwritten menu for the night.
NV Krug Champagne Brut Grande Cuvee Edition 169eme. VM 94. Krug’s NV Grande Cuvée 169ème Édition is brisk and finely cut, with terrific energy driving the citrus, floral and light tropical notes. Even with all of its energy, the 169 balances the vibrancy of the late-ripening 2013 vintage it is built on, with the depth that the reserve wines added to the blend. The 169 drinks well now but clearly has the potential to age. The 169 is a blend of 146 separate wines back to 2000. Krug ID: 120003. (Drink between 2022-2042)
2004 Krug Champagne Vintage Brut. VM 97+. Krug’s 2004 Vintage is absolutely mesmerizing. Layers of bright, chiseled fruit open up effortlessly as the wine fleshes out with time in the glass. Persistent and beautifully focused, with a translucent sense of energy, the 2004 captures all the best qualities of the year. Moreover, the 2004 is clearly superior to the consistently underwhelming 2002 and the best Krug Vintage since 1996. Readers who can find it should not hesitate, as it is a magical bottle. (Drink between 2017-2044)
2006 Krug Champagne Vintage Brut. VM 97. The 2006 Krug Vintage is fabulous. Here the richness, breadth and texture of Pinot come through loud and clear in a Champagne that is classic Krug. Red plum, coffee, spice, baked apple tart and lemon confit all flesh out effortlessly in the glass. The ripeness of the year is evident, and yet the vibrancy of the Chardonnay lends so much energy. The 2006 can be enjoyed today, but also has the balance and stuffing to develop well for many years to come. This is a superb showing from the 2006. This is Krug ID: 118014. (Drink between 2021-2041)
Most of the savory dishes tonight have two components, in this case the middle of the bowl and the sandwich on the right.
Tempura Fried Quail. White BBQ, piquante with green tomato and dill. The sauce was amazing, very zingy.
A pescatarian version of the dish had something else fried up besides the quail.
From my cellar: 2011 Domaine Roulot Meursault Les Narvaux. 92 points. Punchy and broad. With most vivid palate among all village-level wine tonight. Hint of Santalum toward the end.
2014 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Puligny-Montrachet Le Trézin. BH 89-91. A discreet, even shy nose offers up attractively fresh and ultra-pure notes of citrus, pear and a hint of acacia blossom. There is excellent delineation to the intense and clean middle weight flavors that possess good verve and plenty of minerality on the solidly persistent if only moderately complex finish.
2010 Rhys Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard. VM 94. The 2010 Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard is a much deeper, vertical wine that fills out all layers of dimension and flavor. Crushed rocks, white flowers and lemon are some of the notes that flow from this powerful, intense Chardonnay. The Alpine is all about tension and energy. I loved it. (Drink between 2013-2017)
Halibut with corn, zucchini, sungold tomatoes, taragon pelmeni.
Ceviche verde. Super tangy!
2012 Sine Qua Non In the Abstract. VM 94. The 2012 White Wine In The Abstract represents a return to a much more opulent style after a few years in which the Sine Qua Non whites were a bit more energetic than is typically the case. Honey, apricot, mint, orange blossom and spices meld together in a huge, viscous wine that covers every inch of the palate. The purity of the fruit here is simply striking. (Drink between 2014-2022)
2015 Progeny Winery Trinity Blanc. 92 points. This Trinity Blanc was so good. These Rhône whites can be hit or miss for me, but this nailed it. Equal parts Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier. Improved so much as it warmed. Viscous. Honeycomb, tart pineapple and mint aromatics with bruised pear and sea salt on the palate. Delicious. Fruit like this from Veeder, especially for white wine, is such a knockout when it comes to texture.
2019 Ceritas Rosé of Pinot Noir. 91 points. Light salmon color. Nose offers fresh watermelon and watermelon rind with a hint of lemon and wild strawberries. Light fruit flavor, strawberries and watermelon. Shows a nice tartness to it that adds a refreshing element. Quite enjoyable.
The pescatarian sub.
Albacore. Coconut arancini, charcoal chili broth, green papaya, cauliflowers, Thai basil. Great flavors. The broth underneath was intensely limey. The whole thing was a bit spicy and had very interesting soft textures. It did come off very Thai (in a modernist way).
From my cellar: 1976 Robert Ampeau & Fils Volnay 1er Cru Santenots. JG 90. The 1976 Santenots from Domaine Robert Ampeau is a very good example of the vintage that has resolved its tannins quite well and now shows no rough edges on the backend. The deep, complex and slightly roasted nose offers up scents of baked black cherries, dark berries, bonfires, damp earth, coffee bean, game and forest floor. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and very nicely balanced for a ’76, with tertiary flavors, melted tannins and good length and grip on the complex finish. Good juice in the Ampeau house style. (Drink between 2010-2025)
2001 Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays. VM 94. Moderately saturated red. Wonderfully suave, mellow, inviting scents of raspberry, mocha, smoke and underbrush; the most resolved and integrated nose to this point of the tasting. A classic, harmonious Clos des Lambrays with impeccable balance and a wonderfully refined, silky texture to its flavors of red cherry, red berries, mocha and underbrush energized by high notes of pepper and spices. Not a powerhouse but this beauty fills the mouth while conveying a magically weightless impression. Finishes with sweet, perfectly supported tannins, a sexy floral quality and subtle building length. Two thousand one was a great vintage for Morey-Saint-Denis grand crus, noted Thierry Brouin, who told me he also loved the Clos de Tart. About as elegant as this wine gets. This vintage was the lowest in total acidity of my tasting but the wine hardly lacks for verve. And it has blossomed beautifully in the bottle. In fact, this is the highest score I’ve yet given for this vintage of Clos des Lambrays. (13.8% alcohol; 3.62 pH; 3.3 g/l acidity) (Drink between 2019-2033)
2005 Mongeard-Mugneret Clos Vougeot. BH 91-93. Somewhat curiously, this is more aromatically elegant with subtle toast aromas serving to highlight the spicy red and black fruit mix nuanced by hints of earth and smoke that can also be found on the delicious yet entirely serious big bodied yet textured and relatively refined flavors, all wrapped in a finish that is both powerful and impressively long. (Drink starting 2015)
2010 Ladd Cellars Pinot Noir Russian River Valley. 91 points. Medium garnet color. Tastes like a bowl of cherries. A bit too sweet for my palate. Some acid but not enough to over come the cherries.
1996 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain. VM 93. Healthy dark medium red. Warm-year scents of plum, raspberry liqueur, mocha, hot rocks and gravel struck me as Graves-like. Large-scaled and velvety, with a slight edge of herbs conveying a wider range of ripeness than usual for this bottling. Perhaps still a bit youthfully disjointed but savory, very rich and chewy. Finishes with surprising acidity and substantial if slightly unrefined tannins that dust the tongue and teeth. (13% alcohol) (Drink between 2022-2037)
2013 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde. VM 93. Bright violet. Powerful dark fruit, violet pastille, olive and candied licorice aromas are lifted and sharpened by peppery spice and smoky mineral notes. Coats the palate with nicely concentrated, smoke-tinged boysenberry, cherry liqueur and spicecake flavors that become livelier with air. Shows impressive clarity and seamless texture and finishes very long and sappy; chewy tannins build slowly and fold into the sweet dark fruit. (Drink between 2021-2029)
1995 Seavey Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. ST 88 points. Good dark red. More subdued and diffuse on the nose than the 2004, showing less fruit character and floral lift. Then rather supple and a touch balsamic in the mouth, with plum and redcurrant flavors complicated by a spicy element and a musky, leathery quality. Finishes with building tannins that turn a bit dry with aeration. Doesn’t offer quite the purity of the 1994 but here the nose and palate are more in sync. (Drink between 2017-2022)
Slicing some beef.
Beef Rib. Lemon Gnocchi, onion cherry jus, grilled snap peas, salsa verde.
2015 Château Rieussec. AG 97. The 2015 Rieussec is gorgeous. Scents of apricot jam, honey, mint and wild flowers lift from the glass. Delicate and gracious, with terrific freshness, the wine is all polish. Reflecting both the style of the year and the desire to make a slightly lighter Sauternes, the 2015 is rendered in a style the emphasizes finesse over power. The blend is 86% Sémillon and 14% Sauvignon Blanc. (Drink between 2022-2045)
Buttermulk panna cotta, strawberry, strawberry crumble, concentrated strawberry. Classic strawberries and cream but this combo never gets old. The panna cotta had a lovely creaminess and the strawberry was very intense, plus the textures were varied and fun.
The panna cotta had gelatin in it, so this is a version without.
This was a fabulous night. Great wines and atmosphere, but most importantly wonderful company and some really tasty food. I was very impressed. There was no obvious “theme” to the menu, but each dish was very strongly executed with bold and powerful — and tasty — flavors.