Restaurant: Private Chef, David Slatkin
Location: Bel Air
Date: October 15, 2021
This particular entry in my series of Friday afternoon wine themed Sauvages lunches was set at…
Member Jeff’s lovely backyard and features food by private chef David Slatkin.
We dined at this lovely table — it would be romantic except this is about a dozen old winos :-).
Korean Short Rib Taco — sweet but great.
2018 Château Cos d’Estournel Blanc. VM 92. The 2018 Cos d’Estournel Blanc is showing nicely in bottle, partly because of the increased proportion of Sémillon in the blend. That lends complexity on the nose, which displays gorgeous honeysuckle and yellow plum aromas, if perhaps more oiliness than I found from bottle. The palate has tightened up a little, feeling less rounded than before, with intense orange pith, apricot and tangy marmalade toward the finish. A lovely Cos d’Estournel Blanc that I am intrigued to see age in bottle. (Drink between 2021-2032)
2019 Château Brane-Cantenac Blanc. 90 points.
Miso Potsticker — a bit salty.
Mango and burata toast.
BBQ pork belly.
2000 Château Angélus. VM 92. The 2000 Angélus (which, incidentally, was the first vintage where the bottle was embossed with the château name) is one that I have tasted many times, though not recently. Showing minor degradation at its rim, it displays a core with a healthy deep hue. The bouquet is concentrated and intense, plenty of red fruit mingling with melted tar and leather, and perhaps a little more gourmand/animally than I was expecting. The palate is medium-bodied with a slight bitterness on the entry, and delivers good weight and girth, though compared to recent vintages it is patently clear that there is not the same clarity or tension. Quite ferrous, especially with aeration. (Drink between 2021-2032)
2000 Château La Mission Haut-Brion. VM 97. The 2000 La Mission Haut-Brion is a vintage that I have not tasted for several years. At age 21, it has retained its youthful nose of vivid black cherries, wild strawberry and iodine, and shows less of the black olive tapenade element that I noticed in its youth. The palate is medium-bodied with lithe tannins that belie that backbone of this La Mission. Beautifully balanced and quite peppery, with fine salinity, it is less sauvage than many other millennial Bordeaux, leading to a succulent, sensual finish. This is only just beginning to show what it is capable of. 13.4% alcohol. Tasted at the château with Jean-Philippe Delmas. (Drink between 2022-2050)
2000 Château Magrez Fombrauge. VM 88-90. Saturated ruby. Musky aromas of black raspberry, violet, game and burning tobacco. Intensely flavored, firmly structured and tightly wound, but seems a bit dried by the extraction. Seems rather tough today and not showing its personality. But undeniably concentrated. Finishes with somewhat gritty tannins.
Fish with cous cous and lobster.
1989 Château La Conseillante. VM 97. The 1989 La Conseillante is one of the top performers in Pomerol and arguably now one of the best values. This bottle confirms that exuberance and joie-de-vivre on the nose, displaying the telltale crushed violets in bloom, with precious but controlled red and black fruit underneath. The palate is sumptuous from the start, presenting cashmere tannin and perhaps a little more glycerine in this bottle. The bravura finish leaves you grinning from ear to ear. Stunning, and it will remain on its plateau for many years. Tasted at the 1989 Bordeaux dinner at Hatched in London. (Drink between 2019-2040)
1989 Château Montrose. VM 98. The 1989 Montrose is a magnificent wine and this represents one of the best bottles I have encountered – one that was purchased on release and not moved from Berry Brothers’ cellar since. I have encountered perfect bottles of the 1989, and this flirts with that magic figure. It is blessed with a captivating bouquet of blackberry, raspberry, sous-bois and black truffle, the veins of blue fruit just toned down a little compared to previous bottles. The palate is supremely well balanced with those filigreed tannins that in some ways are atypical of Montrose. It delivers silky-smooth texture and an intense finish that glides across the senses. I cannot give a perfect score on this occasion, but without question, this is one of the great Montrose releases. Tasted at the 1989 Bordeaux dinner at Hatched in London. (Drink between 2019-2050)
1989 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron. VM 95. The 1989 Pichon-Baron repeats its performance from the vertical tasting in May 2018. It storms from the glass, bearing copious blackberry, cedar and perhaps a little more mint than I noticed on the previous bottle. There is so much youthful zeal to this harmonious, refined Pauillac that you would barely guess it is 30 years old. Long and tender with a graphite-infused finish, this bottle might be even better than the ex-château example. Tasted at the 1989 Bordeaux dinner at Hatched in London. (Drink between 2019-2038)
Duck confit with egg.
1996 Château Lafite Rothschild. VM 97+. The 1996 Lafite-Rothschild is consistent with the bottle shown at the Hong Kong vertical. It has an intense bouquet with blackberry, cedar and a pencil box of graphite. The adjective I use whilst writing this note is that the aromas are “cool”. Perhaps given its provenance, this is one of the most backward bottles of 1996 that I have tasted. There are those fine but rigid tannins that lend this Lafite such beguiling symmetry, copious cedar and graphite with vein of brine and oyster shell. I love the precision of this wine and the sappiness on the finish. At the moment, maybe more impressive than enjoyable, so if you can, cellar it for another 5 to 8 years. Tasted at the Lafite-Rothschild 150th anniversary dinner at the estate. (Drink between 2025-2055)
From my cellar: 1996 Château Haut-Brion. JG 94. The 1996 Haut Brion is less hermetically sealed than the 1998, and is beginning to hint a bit at its secondary layers of aromatic complexity, though it still remains a very young wine. The bouquet is deep and classic, as it jumps from the glass in a mélange of black cherries, dark berries, Cuban tobacco, incipient notes of the black truffles to come, and a fine base of Graves earth. I assume that the 1996 saw the same amount of new oak as the 1998, but there is little sign of the wood at the present time. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, deep and very intense, with a quite powerful profile for Haut Brion. The wine is rock solid at the core and very tannic, though the tannins are ripe and well-integrated into the wine. The finish is very, very long and soil-driven, and this will clearly be one of the most powerful vintages of Haut Brion to emerge since the 1959. It will be superb, but one will require plenty of patience. (Drink between 2025-2075)
1986 Château Léoville Las Cases. VM 97+. Saturated dark ruby. Cassis, shoe polish, camphor and rose petal on the nose; this reminded me of a great vintage of Latour. Dense and extremely concentrated; explosive yet totally backward. There nothing playful about this infant claret. Finishes with extraordinary, slow-building persistence. Very serious juice; one of the great Bordeaux of the 1980s. Drink 2010 through 2035.
Lamb ravioli with truffle. Yum!
1990 Château Montrose. VM 95. Full ruby-red. Wild, exotic aromas of crystallized redcurrant, leather, tobacco and minerals; distinctly exotic, even overripe. Then lush, sweet and opulent, with an atypically velvety texture for Montrose. But extremely young and structured, finishing with powerful tannins and great grip and length. Almost California-like in style; in Bordeaux, they’d refer to the fruit expression of this wine as “original,” which is not necessarily high praise. Drink 2008 through 2030.
1990 Château Beausejour (Duffau Lagarrosse). VM 91. Deep ruby to the rim. Extravagant aromas of black fruits, violets, and toffee. Voluptuous and sweet; this has outstanding concentration but with so much baby fat there’s little delineation on the palate. Finishes with a kick of alcohol and substantial ripe tannins. Very dense, but while a flight of other top right-bank wines were sending off fireworks in the glass, this chunky wine sat like a lump of coal.
1982 Château Mouton Rothschild. VM 98. The 1982 Mouton-Rothschild continues to be the extravagant Pauillac that it has always been. This has an irresistible, exotic bouquet of precocious kirsch, hoisin, graphite and blueberry scents that gain intensity in the glass. The palate is a little headier than previous bottles, sensual and almost glossy, presenting a glycerin-rich smorgasbord of dark cherries, black currant, crème de menthe and mint that almost knocks you off your feet. Fabulous. Tasted from an ex-château jeroboam at the Palace of Versailles charity dinner. (Drink between 2019-2040)
1995 Grande Maison Monbazillac Cuvée Madame.
1998 Alois Kracher Grande Cuvée TBA #10 Nouvelle Vague. 95 points. The fat and soft fruit of chardonnay are here perfectly allied with the freshness and spice of welschriesling. Caramel and pungent botrytis augment aromas of honey and tropical fruits. In the mouth, this is the most dynamic of any of Kracher’s ’98s, with insistent fruit acid and firm expression of wood allaying its formidable thickness. Flavors of quince and apple jelly, with musky notes from the welschriesling and a chardonnay-typical caramelization of tropical fruits. Mandarin orange and brown spices join the fruit parade in a formidable finish. 2 stars.
Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Coconut Cream Pie Gelato — Coconut dairy custard base, house-made GF Graham Crackers, and house-made Coconut Caramel — 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 #coconut #caramel #grahamCrackers #cookies
Apricot Amaro Passionfruit Mango Sorbetto – I like blending compatible fruits together — 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 #sorbetto #amaro #apricot #passionfruit #mango
Epic cheese plate.
Overall, a great lunch with really good food and amazing wines — all of which were drinking in great form. I don’t buy too much Bordeaux anymore, but they are really great when you give them a few years.
After the dinner proper a couple of us hung out on the lovely terrace and sipped our vast array of wines (and munched on the cheese plate).