Location: 362 N Camden Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. (310) 277-7346
Date: May 4, 2017
Rating: Good food, big “formal” space
The Dirty Dozen is a sub group of the Hedonists that does themed blind tasting meals a couple times a year.
The Doma interior is large, formal, very white tablecloth and so different than more hip Italians like Bestia.
These champs and whites were bonuses, and not served blind.
NV Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Rosé. VM 92. Pale orange. High-pitched red berry, orange zest and jasmine aromas, with suave mineral and smoky lees notes adding complexity. Spicy and precise on the palate, showing very good punch to its strawberry and bitter cherry flavors. Opens up smoothly with air and picks up a bitter rhubarb quality that lingers onto the long, tightly focused finish. This bottling showed more brawny character than many past renditions of this <em>cuvée</em>, but with no lack of vivacity.
From my cellar: 2009 Domaine Latour-Giraud Meursault 1er Cru Les Genevrières. BH 91-94. An airy, cool and pure nose of white flower, spiced pear, lemon and hazelnut complements the rich, full and relatively powerful flavors that possess good concentration and an explosive, mouth coating and palate staining finish. This is not quite as mineral-driven as the Perrières but this is really quite impressive and the length is genuinely outstanding.
2011 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Puligny-Montrachet Le Trézin. BH 91. Surprisingly, given how cool and elevated this terroir is, there is a trace of exotic fruit present here as well with its notes of dried peach, apricot and honeysuckle. There is fine richness to the stony middle weight flavors that are bigger than is typical, all wrapped in an exuberantly energetic, mouth coating, delicious and complex finish. A fine villages that should be approachable young if desired.
1979 Château Margaux. Parker 93. This wine is just now reaching full maturity, much later than I initially expected. It is a classy, elegant example of Margauxpossessing a dark ruby/purple color, and a moderately intense nose of sweet black currant fruit intermixed with minerals, vanillin, and floral scents. The wine is medium-bodied, with beautifully sweet fruit. This linear, more compressed style of Margaux possesses a good inner-core of sweet fruit, and a charming, harmonious personality. Although not a blockbuster, it is aging effortlessly, and appears to take on more character with each passing year.
1975 Lynch Bages. Parker 86. After the number of disappointing tastings I have had of this wine, I was surprised that it showed reasonably well at the blind tasting in December. The color exhibits significant amber/orange at the edge, followed by a dusty, herbaceous, cedary nose with some ripe fruit. Full-bodied but slightly hollow, the wine exhibits more sweetness and expansiveness than I expected. This above average wine is beginning to reach full maturity. Given the number of washed-out, excessively tannic examples of 1975 Lynch-Bages I have tasted, I am now more optimistic about this wine.
1970 Palmer. Parker 95. Not yet fully mature, the 1970 Palmer is one of the great wines of the vintage. It exhibits a dark, opaque garnet color, and an emerging, fabulously complex, exotic nose of licorice, over-ripe plums and blackcurrants, soy, cedar, and minerals. Rich and concentrated, with medium to full body, a sweet inner-core of fruit, firm but silky tannin, and a long, rich finish, this remains a youthful, potentially superb Palmer. While approachable, it will benefit from another 3-5 years of cellaring, and will keep through the first 10-15 years of the next century.
Liver, balsamic, mushroom, pizza. Pretty rich and delicious.
1981 Palmer. Parker 81. This is a relatively light, almost indifferent style of Palmer, lacking depth, and coming across as straightforward, with a simple plummy fruitiness intermingled with scents and flavors of herbs, oak, and cedar. It is medium bodied and austere for a Palmer.
1989 Palmer. Parker 96. Tasted at the Château Palmer vertical in London, the 1989 Château Palmer has always been my favourite vintage from that decade after the 1983. The first bottle was unfortunately corked. The second was as it should be: the nose tensile with red berries, sous-bois, potpourri and strawberry pastille – lively and energetic. The palate is medium-bodied and vibrant right from the start, silky in texture with plenty of citrus fruit, gently building to a harmonious and detailed finish that lingers in the mouth. This is a magnificent Château Palmer that continues to effortlessly dish out so much vinous pleasure.
1986 Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. Parker 95. Now at 30 years of age, there is a gulf between the two Pichons in this vintage that no longer exists. The 1986 Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande has long been one of the best wines from the estate alongside the 1982 (even if the first bottle was a little oxidized). The second bottle was representative. It has a classic pencil-lead, cedar-infused nose that rockets from the glass, a subtle floral note developing with time. The palate is medium-bodied with supple red berry fruit, a pinch of white pepper and cedar, structured compared to coeval vintages and perhaps further along its drinking plateau than previous examples. Certainly à point, I would be reaching for bottles of this now if you cannot locate those 1982s, or alternatively seek out the superlative 1996. This still remains a fine, rather regal Pichon-Lalande.
Carpaccio with white truffles and fontina cheese. Amazing dish. Too small, but incredibly delicious.
1999 Palmer. Parker 95. Though I have tasted many vintages of Palmer in recent months, it has been some time since I tasted the 1999 Palmer. Now at 17 years of age, it has a really quite splendid bouquet that is so fresh and vital, pure brambly red fruit, sloes and iodine. It has certainly lost some of the headiness that it showed over its first 10 years, but it is still a Palmer that likes to party. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin. There is good depth here, clean and fresh with wonderful poise. This is a “correct” Palmer, self-aware that it was not born in a propitious vintage, therefore it might seem a little restrained, even conservative in character. That would ignore its precision and grace, the manner in which it gently builds to the finish. You can drink this now but I would be inclined to give it another 3-4 years. There are few better Left Bank 1999s than Palmer.
1998 Angelus. Parker 96. Another great showing for a Right Bank wine, the 1998 Angelus shows a saturated opaque, plum/purple color and a beautiful fragrance of blueberry and black raspberries with licorice, asphalt, truffle and a touch of white chocolate. Beautiful texture, full-bodied opulence, striking purity and overall equilibrium make for a stunning wine that is just entering its plateau of full maturity. Drink it over the next 20 years.
1994 Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. Parker 91-93. One of the stars of the vintage, this opaque purple-colored wine possesses a gorgeously perfumed, exotic, smoky, blackcurrant, Asian spice, and sweet vanillin-scented bouquet. It is followed by thick, rich, moderately tannic flavors that exhibit medium to full body, good structure, outstanding purity, and a classically layered, long, pure finish. This terrific Pichon-Lalande should evolve effortlessly for 18-20 years.
Home Made Pappardelle Bolognese – House made Flat Ribbon Pasta Meat Ragout Sauce. Another great dish.
1990 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron. VM93+. Full medium ruby. Nose at once subtle and flamboyant, with slightly roasted aromas of currant, cedar, lead pencil and minerals. Large-scaled, sweet and rich, with utterly primary fruit suggesting a long future ahead of it. Tasted next to the ’89, this was a much more massive and somewhat softer wine. Very long on the finish, with big but smooth tannins. Of more recent vintages, only the 2000 has a chance to be in the same quality class as the ’90 and ’89.
From my cellar: 1989 Lynch Bages. Parker 99+. The 1989 has taken forever to shed its formidable tannins, but what a great vintage of Lynch Bages! I would rank it at the top of the pyramid although the 1990, 2000, and down the road, some of the more recent vintages such as 2005, 2009 and 2010 should come close to matching the 1989’s extraordinary concentration and undeniable aging potential. Its dense purple color reveals a slight lightening at the edge and the stunning bouquet offers classic notes of creme de cassis, subtle smoke, oak and graphite. Powerful and rich with some tannins still to shed at age 22, it is still a young adolescent in terms of its evolution and will benefit from another 4-5 years of cellaring. It should prove to be a 50 year wine.
Cotsen brought: 1990 Margaux. Parker 100. The 1990 Chateau Margaux has turned into a sensational wine that eclipses both the 1988 and 1989…and then some. It has a gorgeous, ethereal bouquet with sumptuous red berry fruit, leather, camphor and licorice—it is the kind of nose in which you just immerse yourself. Is there a hint of brettanomyces here? If there is, I don’t really care. The palate is soft and sensual with incredible depth. Fleshy and corpulent for Chateau Margaux, and yet surfeit with breeding and finesse, there are layers or red fruit, kirsch, sage and fig, later tobacco and cloves. I feel that this 1990 Château Margaux is at its peak and yet the harmony, the sheer swagger of this wine just wins you over. Magnificent. Tasted May 2016.
2000 Leoville-Las Cases. Parker 98. Tasted blind as a vintage comparison at the Valandraud vertical, the 2000 Leoville-Las-Cases is a quite fabulous, magisterial Saint Julien that is only just beginning to flex its muscles. It has a very intense and beautifully defined bouquet with mineral rich blackberry and bilberry scents, outstanding focus and harmony, and very well-integrated oak. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, impressive backbone and focus in situ. There is a touch of mint infusing the fruit here, superb tension with a touch of mulberry and Hoi Sin lingering on the finish that still feels backward and sinewy. What was remarkable was to observe the melioration in the glass, achieving wondrous energy and delineation with time, still improving after a couple of hours. Buy it, cellar it, drink it. Tasted December 2016.
2007 Coutet. Parker 94. Tasted single blind against its peers. The Chateau Coutet 2007 has a very intense bouquet with lemon curd and orange blossom mixed with clear honey. There is impressive precision here, almost crystalline. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine viscous entry, great weight and intensity with racy acidity. There is also much tension cutting through the layers of viscous fruit on the sorbet-like finish. This is a typical Coutet through and through and it should age effortlessly over 20-30 years.
2011 Doisy Daene. Parker 95. Tasted blind at the Sauternes 2011 horizontal tasting. The Château Doisy-Daëne 2011 builds upon its outstanding performance from barrel. It has a powerful bouquet with seductive scents of wild honey, yellow flowers and orange blossom that are well defined, perhaps a little more extravagant then Denis Dubourdieu’s wines of yore. The palate is mellifluous on the entry with well-judged acidity, sensual and harmonious, poised on the entry and then fanning out gloriously with Clementine and honeyed notes that shimmer. This is an irresistible Barsac.
Overall the food was quite good. Service was pretty glacial despite the place being empty, and the waiters seemed on the verge of moving down the street to a convalescent home, but they were extremely nice and accommodating.
Wines were great for the Dirty Dozen. Nothing out and out “bad” or spoiled, 1-2 with a little bret that needed to blow off (or not), and a whole mess that were great. Particularly that 1990 Margaux. It really is a fabulous wine and Cotsen steals the wine (and the free meal) for the 3rd of 4th time. He does know how to pick them for these dinners.