Restaurant: Kali / Kevin Meehan
Location: Bel Air
Date: September 9, 2022
Cuisine: Modern Californian
Rating: Great as always
Sauvages has been doing more “house party” lunches since the pandemic and so this week’s lunch was hosted by John G in his lovely backyard.
Our table was situated in the succulent garden, poolside.
At the ready.
Food today was provided by Kevin Meehan of Kali. He’s been cooking for Sauvages since before he even opened Kali (now on about 7 years)!
2006 Champagne Millesime Rare.
NV Henriot Champagne Brut Souverain.
2014 Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Champagne Premier Cru Brut Nature Blanc de Blancs Oenophile Non-Dosé. VM 93. The 2014 Brut Nature Blanc de Blancs Cuvée Oenophile is all energy, tension and cut. White flowers, mint, crushed rocks pear and lemon confit race across the palate. Readers who enjoy taut, linear Champagnes will adore the 2014. Bright saline notes infuse the finish with tons of character. This is classic 2014, with the non-dosé style further accentuating the wine’s stark lines. Disgorged: December, 2020. (Drink between 2023-2034)
2008 Veuve Clicquot Champagne Brut Vintage. JG94+. The 2008 Veuve Clicquot Brut Millésime is the first bottling here to include five percent barrel-fermented vins clairs since the estate transitioned away from foudres for stainless steel tanks all the way back in the 1960s. The blend on the ’08 is sixty-one percent pinot noir, thirty-four percent chardonnay and five percent pinot meunier. The wine is pure, youthful and stunningly precise on the nose, offering up scents of tart apple, bread dough, complex minerality, gentle smokiness and a lovely saline element in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and very racy, with a great core, zesty acids, refined mousse and outstanding length and grip on the very long and still quite youthful finish. This is approachable today, but will be even better with five or six years in the cellar. This is Chef de Cave Dominique Demarville’s first vintage bottling since his arrival here in 2006. Impressive! (Drink between 2016-2040)
Trout Roe and Sourdough Blini. The blini was too dense and strong flavored. After 2 I took to sucking off the toppings which were good.
Beef Tartar Cigar with Aoili. Nice texture and great flavor.
Morro Bay Oyster on the Half Shell. Both briny and tangy.
Our special menu today.
2007 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc. VM 92. Light, bright gold. Ripe pear and white peach aromas are complemented by marzipan, honey and dried flowers. Sappy pit fruit flavors stain the palate and are firmed by juicy minerals, picking up subtle herbal and mineral notes on the back end. Finishes with excellent clarity and cling, the honey note repeating. This could handle the richest fish preparations.
2006 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc. VM 91. ale yellow. Ripe peach and yellow plum on the nose, with sexy floral and honey character building with air. Taut citrus and orchard fruit flavors are refreshingly bitter, gaining depth on the close. Leaves a trail of stony white fruit flavors on the long, sappy finish.
From my cellar: 2011 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Cuvée Roussanne Vieilles Vignes. 95 points.
2005 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Cuvée Roussanne Vieilles Vignes. VM 95. Yellow-gold. Intensely floral aromas of jasmine, beeswax and coconut-accented orange and pear. Lush and weighty, with powerful pear, tangerine and nougat flavors accompanied by exotic oak notes. This reminds me of high-end white Bordeaux. Tightens up on the back, where bright mineral and citrus pith notes give shape and grip to the intensely sweet fruit. The finish of this wine is endless.
Local Yellow Tail. Melon, Tomato Gel, Avocado. This was a lovely crudo.
2001 Domaine de la Solitude (Lançon Père et Fils) Châteauneuf-du-Pape Réserve Secrète. 92 points. Pale-rusty color w/dark core; spices, some animale, very hot, glycerin smooth from alcohol, a bit burned/roasted aspect with some complexity.
Henri Bonneau Châteauneuf-du-Pape Réserve des Célestins. Can’t remember the vintage.
1998 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape. VM 90. Saturated ruby-red. Superripe but reticent, grenache-dominated aromas of roasted plum, cherry jam, tar and humus. Fat, lush and stuffed with fruit; almost heavy today compared to the ’99. But this is utterly silky and its firm underlying structure is buried by fruit and baby fat. Intriguing meat and licorice notes. A wine of superb finesse and superfine tannins.
Black Barley Risotto. Fiscalini Cheddar, Koji Butter, Black Garlic. The base is a bit bland by itself and needs the cheesy/garlic “crisp” on top. This is a Kevin classic and we’ve all had it a lot of times.
2004 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape. VM 94. Dark violet with a bright rim. Powerful, intensely floral aromas of kirsch, candied licorice and rose oil, plus a sweet damp earth quality that reminded me of a great young vintage port. But this is by no means porty in the mouth, as the vivid strawberry and raspberry flavors are streamlined and nervy, showing excellent lift. Finishes with fine, dusty tannins, very firm structure and outstanding length.
2005 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape. VM 94. Deep ruby. Intense dark berry scents expand and deepen with air, picking up dusky espresso and licorice tones. Lush, powerful and sweet, with impressively concentrated, pure dark berry flavors and supple, finely integrated tannins. There’s a great fruit/tannin balance here, and the supple finish boasts impressively concentrated and remarkably persistent cherry and blackberry fruit.
2003 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau. VM 89. Dark red. Understated aromas of dried strawberry, redcurrant and garrigue complicated by a whiff of black tea. A fairly restrained midweight, atypical in this vintage, with dried red berry and mocha flavors. Finishes focused and taut, with dusty tannins and hints of red plum and licorice. Those who fear the 2003 bogeyman can safely give this one a try. (Kermit Lynch, Berkeley, CA)
Braised Short Ribs. This was the better of the beefs and was quite nice.
2007 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape. VM 95+. Foudre #12: Smoky, wild and meaty, with powerful raspberry and licorice qualities. Tannin-free, sweet and long. Foudre #9: Deep, inky dark fruit aromas, with hints of licorice and smoky minerals. Pliant blackberry and kirsch on the palate, with dusty tannins adding grip. Foudre #8: Intense mineral and cherry aromas, with a subtle note of cola. Rich, sappy and gently sweet, with powerful red berry and cherry flavors. Really long. Foudre #7: Deep cherry and blackcurrant on the nose. Spicy red berry flavors gain weight with air, taking a turn to cassis and bitter cherry. Foudre #2, all grenache: Fresh red berries and garrigue on the nose. Fresh, sharply defined raspberry and cherry flavors, with silky tannins and great mineral snap. Foudre #30: Explosively perfumed red fruit aromas with strong incense and floral qualities. Very sweet, palate-staining raspberry and cassis flavors. Exceptionally long. Foudre #25: Vibrant strawberry and raspberry aromas, with hits of anise and potpourri. Pliant and sweet, with palate-staining red fruit and candied floral flavors. This is all finesse. An approximation of the final blend: Bright ruby-red. Strongly perfumed bouquet of spicy red and dark berries, licorice, pungent herbs and graphite. Saturates the palate with deep, sweet black raspberry, cherry and blackcurrant flavors. Turns spicier on the back end, finishing with outstanding clarity, lift and persistence.
2007 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau. VM 93. Saturated ruby. Youthfully brooding nose displays dark berries, tobacco and licorice, plus an undercurrent of smoky minerals. More powerful than what I expect from this estate, boasting deep, chewy cassis and bitter cherry flavors and a late note of bitter chocolate. Impressive for its richness and size, but will it gain the finesse that I associate with this domain?
2007 Cuvée du Vatican Châteauneuf-du-Pape Réserve Sixtine. VM 92. Inky ruby. Vibrant red berry and floral scents. Tightly focused red fruit flavors are deepened by anise and brown spice qualities, picking up a tangy blood orange note with air. All red berry preserves on the smooth, strikingly long finish.
2006 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape. VM 95. Bright red. Intense strawberry and raspberry on the nose, with subtle garrigue and minerals adding complexity. Silky red fruit flavors show seductive spice and floral pastille qualities. Finishes with great persistence. Foudre #2 (“the tannic one”): Ruby-red. Bright red fruit aromas, with a deep undercurrent of licorice adding seriousness. The palate shows very spicy bitter cherry and dark berry liqueur flavors, chewy tannic grip and a long, vibrant finish. If this is Avril’s idea of tannic in 2006, the final wine should be a supple beauty. Foudre #3 (“the concentrated one,” from 80-year-old vines cropped at15 hl/ha): Inky ruby. Rich cherry and cassis aromas, with a deep tapenade quality adding complexity. Sappy, sweet and packing major dark berry punch, this clocks in at 16.5% alcohol, but there’s no obvious heat. An approximate blend: “I hate doing this, but why not,” said Avril, who doesn’t believe that on-the-spot blends are accurate reflections of what winds up in the bottle. But this was his idea, not mine! Dark ruby. Powerful kirsch and blackcurrant aromas, with exotic licorice and fresh floral character expanding with air. Pliant dark berry and bitter cherry flavors carry through the long, sappy finish. A balanced, sweet powerhouse from this vantage point, with the concentration to age for at least a decade or two.
Dry Aged Ribeye. Potato Pave, Black Garlic Jam, Mushrooms. Very dry aged so the meat was a touch gamey and cured. Potatoes were great.
1990 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape. VM 93. The 1990 Châteauneuf-du-Pape has a compelling bouquet of plump red fruit, oxtail, leather and morels, all well defined and full of chutzpah. The palate is smooth in texture and, at 29 years old, has certainly mellowed. There is a core of sweet fruit here, but it has softened with age and delivers a smorgasbord of second flavors: meat juices, clove and touches of fennel. It does not possess the audacity of the Hommage à Jacques Perrin, yet it has retained effortless charm. (Drink between 2019-2036)
Whipped Goat Cheese. Peach Compote, Drake Farms. The cheesy tube was a bit like a Canonoli and was delicious.
2007 Von Hövel Scharzhofberger Riesling Auslese.
Oaxacan Choco-Mole Gelato – 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
Vanilla White Gelato — a very simple and elegant Tahitian Vanilla Bean White Base (no egg) — 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 #vanilla
Plus some of my house made cinnamon caramel.
My bad notes.
Some bonus wines.
Overall, this lunch was a whole lotta fun. We had the usual great food — even if I’ve had that barely risotto many times before — and an awesome array of CDP. Plus the awesome company.