Location: 110 East Union Street, Pasadena, Ca, 911103. 626-683-3310
Date: August 8, 2013
Rating: Awesome again!
Another week and another Hedonist dinner. We braved 2.25 hours in traffic to take on Azeen’s Afghani in Pasadena, dominating the restaurant as usual with a giant table. Pictures of the room are available at a previous meal here.
From my cellar, 2006 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis. Burghound 88. A very clean, fresh, bright and airy nose that offers good Chablis character on the white flower and green fruit nose that introduces energetic and mineral-infused flavors that are both delicious and deliver fine finishing volume. Good quality at this level.
This was my “bonus” wine, I brought it just because I wanted a white.
1993 Louis Jadot Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. Burghound 92. In stark contrast to the Chambertin, this is wonderfully expressive and complex with abundant earth and spice notes followed by big, structured, still sappy if slightly austere flavors that offer excellent density and plenty of character. Impressively scaled and finishes with striking length. A clear step up from the Chambertin.
There was a touch of bret and the beginning, but it blew off in a few minutes and we were left with a wonderful expression of Beze.
2010 Big Basin Vineyards Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre Paderewski Vineyard. Rhone Rangers 95. This has a ton of layers and subtle power. I would say this transcends the GSM concept and goes into just classic big New World wines. Drinks like a Cab/Syrah blend from Napa or a huge Malbec. The finish is spectacular.
1995 Sociando-Mallet. Parker 90. This accessible, yet tannic example of Sociando-Mallet possesses a deep ruby/purple color, and excellent aromatics consisting of jammy black cherries, blackberries, and cassis, as well as subtle notes of minerals, earth, and new oak. This is a deep, long, muscular, tannic wine that is structurally similar to the 1996. Patience will be required from purchasers of this high class wine.
This was drinking very nicely, mature.
2005 Château Giscours. Parker 91. This forward-styled 2005 possesses a dense ruby/purple color in addition to a big, sweet bouquet of roasted herbs, fudge, espresso, figs, and cherry jam. Opulent, even decadent, with low acidity, but high glycerin and fruit extract as well as a flamboyant fleshiness, this is a stunningly impressive, hedonistic, savory Margaux to enjoy.
From my cellar, 2000 Les Cailloux (Lucien et Andre Brunel) Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Centenaire. Parker 96. The heady 2000 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Centenaire is more evolved than either the 2001 or 1998. Extremely full-bodied, with low acidity, and a knock-out bouquet of blackberry and cherry jam intermixed with licorice, pepper, and dried Provencal herbs, this sexy, voluptuous, enormously concentrated 2000 possesses a huge, silky, seamless finish. Drink this irresistible effort now and over the next 12-15 years.
2007 Prunotto Barbaresco. IWC 89. Medium red. Enticing aromas of strawberry, cherry and shoe polish. Clean, bright and fruity but youthfully restrained, with bright acidity and a firm tannic spine calling for patience. Nicely balanced Barbaresco with very good length. “My style of nebbiolo,” says Torrengo, adding that this wine always begins its life less open and perfumed than the Occhetti nebbiolo, because that wine is from sandier soil. “The Barbaresco starts with a better balance between the nose and the palate,” notes Torrengo.
2000 D’Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz. Parker 94. This estate’s most renowned offering is their old vine (90+ years) Shiraz called The Dead Arm. The unfined/unfiltered 2000 The Dead Arm Shiraz is one of South Australia’s finest wines of the vintage. A perfume of grilled steak intermixed with blackberries, new saddle leather, earth, pepper, and melted licorice rises from this awesome red. With great power, richness, and no hard edges, it is still young and primary, but should hit its peak in 3-7 years, and last for two decades or more.
1976 Doisy-Vedrines. Parker 84. In many respects a typically chunky, fat, corpulent Doisy-Vedrines, the 1976 reveals plenty of ripe, viscous, honeyed fruit, good botrytis, full body, and enough acidity to keep the wine from tasting cloyingly sweet or heavy.
Unfortunately, this was a few years past its prime.
This was another amazing Hedonist blow out. The food is so tasty here. Afghan is a really delectable cuisine. Middle eastern with a hint of China, Persia, and India. It’s not spicy but is packed with flavor. Growing up, we used to frequently enjoy this cuisine in the Washington suburbs. You can check that out here.
The service at Azeen’s is fantastic. Abdul really makes you feel welcome. And Azeen’s is probably the best kitchen execution I’ve experienced in an Afghan restaurant I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s better than 99% of the places in Kabul.