Restaurant: Cafe Dahab
Location: 1640 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, Ca, 90025
Date: November 6, 2012 & September 21, 2015
Just a mere three days after the Hedonists tore up Totoraku, we return to this nearby casual Egyptian cafe and Hookah bar: Dahab.
This was a decidedly more casual affair, although the basic rules are the same. Each person needs to come with at least one great bottle of wine. Standards aren’t as high as for a stellar meat dinner like Toto, but there was still some great stuff. And this drew a crowd of over 20!
This is a third of the table. It was a crazy warm November night and we sat outside, filling the entire patio. There were so many of us that Yarom (our fearless organizer) had to float chairless! There also wasn’t even close to enough space on the table and the restaurant doesn’t even own wine glasses. Good thing I brought 8 Riedels of my own and several others did as well.
We started with this champagne brought by white and bubbly maestro Ron. The NV Brut Rose is a pretty, gracious wine. Freshly cut roses, red berries and spices take shape nicely in the glass as the wine shows off its understated, timeless personality. Billecart-Salmon’s NV Brut Rose is a reliably tasty wine.
Parker 95, “This year there is also only one Willi Haag wine with the name 2006 Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Auslese, athough for the record this carries the A.P. #6. It mingles white peach, vanilla, honey, and nut oils in a wine of uncanny refinement, delicacy and palate-saturating richness, representing a classic example of the magic in the Burgerslay section of the Juffer, whence Marcus’s father drew some of the greatest (if too-little appreciated) Middle Mosel wines of the ‘70s, ‘80s and early ‘90s. Juicy melon and white peach and kinetic citrus are beautifully folded into a creamy, vanilla-tinged envelope, then burst forth in a lusciously long finish with a distinct note of slate stone. It’s impossible not to compare this Auslese with the great 1975, and I believe it to be the masterpiece of Marcus Haag’s career thus far. If you are lucky enough to latch on to bottles of this incredible value – and I have seen them floating around at prices far lower than the already low suggested retail price noted above – treasure them and if possible wait 8-10 years before opening. There exist more than enough wonderful 2006 Mosel Auslesen you can enjoy younger. This one may well be worth following for 30 or more years.”
A dry styled Oregon Riesling and “The opaque blue/black/purple-colored Noon Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is even more impressive from bottle than it was from barrel. This is a great effort displaying first-growth quality. It boasts a stunningly pure nose of creme de cassis, cedar, licorice, smoke, and vanilla. As it sits in the glass, notions of chocolate also emerge. This full-bodied Cabernet builds incrementally in the mouth. The finish lasts for 45 seconds. A magnificent example, its seamlessness and concentration are profound.”
Ron, always good for great white Burgundy, brought this 2008 Dom Dublere Corton-Charlemagne. Burghound 92, “Here too mild wood sets off extremely fresh aromas of pear, green apple and wet stone the latter of which is also reflected by the vibrant and overtly muscular broad-scaled flavors that possess impressive drive and length. Interestingly, this is not as complex as the Chaumées though it’s longer.”
I brought this older Grand Cru Mazy-Chambertin (1996). It also had a funky nose that blew off, but this bottle wasn’t nearly as good as the other 3-4 I’ve opened recently of the exact same wine. Pity, those previous bottles were fantastic.
Parker 91-93, “The 2007 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast displays plenty of raspberry and floral notes, has a deep ruby/purple color, nicely integrated wood, medium to full body, and a spicy finish. Drink it over the next decade.”
Lana was generous to donate this Parker 100 blockbuster, “The 1998 Cote Rotie La Landonne is a perfect wine … at least for my palate. Its saturated black/purple color is accompanied by an extraordinary nose of smoke, incense, tapenade, creosote, blackberry, and currant aromas. It is densely packed with blackberry, truffle, chocolate, and leather-like flavors. The wine possesses high tannin, but perfect harmony, impeccable balance, and gorgeous integration of acidity, alcohol, and tannin. It is a tour de force in winemaking.”
From my cellar. Parker 95, “The profound 2000 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee de Mon Aieul (85% Grenache and the rest equal parts Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsault) tips the scales at 15% alcohol. From an old vineyard and cropped at 15 hectoliters per hectare, and aged only in foudre, it boasts a dense purple color in addition to an exquisite nose of violets, minerals, blueberries and blackberries. Pure and concentrated, but atypically tannic, it requires considerable aging as it is one of the vintage’s more backward, broodingly powerful efforts.”
Big assembled feast plates of various vegetarian mezze. In the center, grape leaves stuffed with rice, chopped tomato, parsley and special seasonings. The white stuff is lebnah, Middle eastern style yogurt mixed with mint, red pepper & topped with olive oil. Then clockwise are falafel: ground fava beans and vegetables with special seasonings. Next hummus: ground garbanzo beans with garlic, lemon juice and special seasonings. Then foul: pureed fava beans with garlic, tomatoes, onions and special seasonings. And last, babagannouj: eggplant dip with tahina sauce and special seasonings.
Below then are detail pictures of most of the mezze:
lebnah, Middle eastern style yogurt mixed with mint, red pepper & topped with olive oil. I love this stuff, particularly with the meat.
babagannouj: eggplant dip with tahina sauce and special seasonings.
foul: pureed fava beans with garlic, tomatoes, onions and special seasonings.
Gibna bel tamatim: feta cheese and chopped tomato mixed with olive oil and special seasonings.
Parker 97, “The 2006 Broken Stones (63% Syrah, 24% Grenache, and 13% Mourvedre) blew me away. An inky/purple color and a dazzling, explosive bouquet of black raspberries, camphor, cassis, forest floor, and spring flowers are followed by a rich, elegant wine offering laser-like precision as well as a striking minerality. It is a powerful yet graceful effort.”
The other side of the bottle.
Parker 89, “The 2008 Ventillo 71 is named after the address of the old winery and is 100% Tempranillo. It has a soft, leather-infused nose with strawberry, mint and a touch of orange blossom. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins and ample freshness. There is a core of wild strawberry and red cherry fruit, finely integrated oak and a composed, elegant finish. This is a commendable Rioja.”
Parker 90-92+, “Aged completely in demi-muids, the 2008 Syrah Halcon is a tannic, young, promising effort that may merit an even higher score next year if it puts on the weight and flesh that the 2007s did in barrel. At present, it reveals abundant blue and black fruits intertwined with hints of forest flora and spice. While not as powerful as the 2007s, it exhibits lots of minerality and structure.”
Parker 94, “A spectacular offering, the 1998 Command Shiraz (which spent 3 years in French and American oak) is the type of wine that is impossible to duplicate outside of selected Barossa and McLaren Vale vineyard sites. An opaque purple color is followed by spectacular aromas of toasty oak, camphor, blackberry liqueur, and asphalt. It is humongous in the mouth, decadently rich, and luxuriously fruited, with a viscous texture as well as a 40-second finish. Low acidity and ripe tannin add to the succulent impression.”
On the right, Parker 95, “Chapoutier makes no bones about the fact that he prefers his 1996 Cote Roties to his 1995s. Wealthy readers with access to Chapoutier’s wines will have fun determining whether the 1995 or 1996 Cote Rotie La Mordoree is the superior wine. Both are terrific examples of Cote Rotie with 20-25 years of evolution. Chapoutier prefers the 1996. The 1995 is a superb wine, but I am not sure the 1996 isn’t a point or two better. Both wines possess intensely-saturated black/purple colors, and smoky, black raspberry, coffee, and chocolate-scented noses with black olives thrown in for complexity. The 1996 may have greater length, but that is splitting hairs at this level of quality. Both are medium to full-bodied, rich, extraordinary examples of Cote Rotie that possess power as well as finesse. Both will require cellaring to reveal their personalities. I suspect the 1995 needs 4-5 years of cellaring.”
Getting the buzz on.
Parker 91-93, “The extraordinary 2007 Cotes du Rhone-Villages Rasteau offers up aromas of chocolate, black cherries, dusty, loamy soil, scorched earth, garrigue, and spice. This full-bodied, powerfully concentrated, meaty, expansive, substantial wine should age well for a decade.”
Parker 89, “The 1994 Cabernet Sauvignon (545 cases) reveals evolved fruitcake, cedary, tobacco, roasted herb, and cassis aromas, as well as rich, concentrated flavors. It is impressively rich, with an herb-tinged, black currant personality, medium to full body, sweet but noticeable tannin, and excellent purity, all framed by toasty new oak. The wine gives every indication of being ready to drink with another 2-3 years of cellaring.”
Parker 88, “The evolved, medium gold color of the 1990 is prematurely advanced, raising questions about future longevity. It possesses plenty of intensity, and an unctuous, thick, juicy style, but high alcohol and coarseness kept my rating down. There is bitterness as well as fiery alcohol in the finish. The wine does not offer much delineation, so cellaring should prove beneficial as it does have admirable levels of extract. Suduiraut can make powerful, rich wines that are often rustic and excessively alcoholic and hot when young. I am told they become more civilized with age, and certainly older, classic Suduiraut vintages have proven that to be true. I feel this estate’s propensity to produce a luxury cuvee (Cuvee Madame) in vintages such as 1989 tends to have a negative impact on the regular cuvee.”
This was another fun evening. Super casual and more than a little crazy. Dahab is a tasty little restaurant serving delicious Egyptian food, but they aren’t really set up for either 20+ parties or wine nuts like us. They did manage with the food, and we managed the wine. It was cozy, but made extra fun by the warm evening and outside setting.
On September 21, 2015, we went again. I integrated the food pictures above, but the wines from that second visit are here: