Location: 476 South San Vicente Boulevard. Los Angeles, CA 90048. (323) 951-0745
Date: July 14, 2021
Rating: Really tasty traditional Spanish
I haven’t been back here in a while, but a Spanish themed Dirty Dozen seemed like just the ticket — and there aren’t really very many Spanish restaurants in LA. Wines were all served blind.
Cute little former house or something near the Beverly Center.
Our private room and giant table (and wine table on the left).
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.
2017 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Saint-Aubin Le Banc. VM 87-89. Pale bright yellow. Fresh nectarine and minerals on the nose. A juicy if tightly wound fruit bomb in the mouth, with its intense stone fruit and citrus flavors complicated by wild herbs. The wine’s calcaire element gives it focus and cut, but there’s nothing hard about the very pure finish, which features sneaky persistence. Made from three vineyards averaging 35 years of age, according to Colin.
Me flighting the food on the fly.
2016 Alonso & Pedrajo Viticultores Rioja Suañé Blanco Reserva. JG 92. The 2016 Rioja “Suañé” Reserva Blanco from Alonso & Pedrajo is fermented and aged three months in amphora and bottled without any added sulfites. The 2016 version is a lovely golden color and offers up a complex bouquet of tangerine, toasted nuts, salty soil tones, citrus peel, a bit of browned butter and a topnote of menthol. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and still quite rock solid at the core, with lovely soil signature and grip, almost a bit of backend tannin and a long, complex and zesty finish. There is a touch of natural wine “wildness” on the nose here, but the palate is fresh, vibrant and complex and seems to still have years of life ahead of it. This is hardly a classical example of Rioja Blanco, but it is an excellent wine with its own, unique personality. (Drink between 2021-2026)
From my cellar: 2012 Raul Pérez Rías Baixas Muti. VM 92. Light, bright yellow. High-pitched citrus and orchard fruit aromas are complemented by jasmine, green tea and chalky minerals. The mineral quality carries onto the palate, underscoring vibrant lemon/lime and pear flavors that gain flesh with air. Finishes stony and precise, with excellent persistence and lingering florality.
2017 Rivers-Marie Chardonnay Sonoma Coast. VM93. The 2017 Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast) from Rivers-Marie is a fabulous wine in its peer group. Rich, intense and full of flavor, the Sonoma Coast Chardonnay packs a serious punch. Orchard fruit, crème brûlée, butter, tangerine and yellow flowers all develop in a deeply-layered, resonant, utterly gorgeous Chardonnay. Although labeled as an appellation Chardonnay, all the fruit for the Sonoma Coast bottling comes from Riddle. More importantly, the Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is a great example of just how compelling the 2017 vintage is at the top for Sonoma’s Burgundian varieties. And the $30/bottle price range? Insane. (Drink between 2020-2029)
Gambas Al Ajillo. Shrimp sauteed with garlic and chili pod.
Caracoles Al Ajillo. Snails sauteed with garlic and a touch of chilli.
Boquerones En Vinagre. Marinated small silvery fish fillets.
Calamares A La Plancha. Grilled squid with garlic and parsley.
Garlic Aioli and Olive Tapanade.
1976 R. López de Heredia Rioja Gran Reserva Viña Bosconia. VM 95. Thirty years after the vintage the two 1976 Gran Reservas still fully express the qualities of their unique terroirs. The seductive 1976 Viña Bosconia Gran Reserva is another ethereal beauty, revealing an expressive nose along with notes of earthiness, sweet perfumed fruit, cocoa, flowers and an occasional hint of white truffle that floats out of the glass. Fresher and more vibrant than the Tondonia Gran Reserva, it offers outstanding length and notable structure in an understated yet profound expression of Rioja. It is that rare wine that invites contemplation by engaging all of the taster’s senses. A great effort. (Drink starting 2013)
1994 R. López de Heredia Rioja Gran Reserva Viña Tondonia. VM 95. Brilliant red. A highly complex, expansive bouquet evokes cherry liqueur, pipe tobacco, incense, vanilla and woodsmoke, accompanied by hints of five-spice powder and licorice in the background. Sweet, expansive and seamless in texture, offering intense cherry-vanilla, spicecake and rose pastille flavors that deepen slowly as the wine opens up. Fully mature but with plenty of life left in it, this wine finishes impressively long, supple and sweet, displaying discreet tannins, resonating spiciness and suave florality. I reviewed this wine five years ago and am very happy to say that it has improved with additional bottle age. (Drink between 2020-2035)
Aceitunas Variadas. Mixed green and black olives
Champiñones Con Chorizo. Mushrooms with Spanish red sausage.
Croquetas De Pollo. Fried chicken croquettes.
2001 La Rioja Alta Rioja Gran Reserva 890 ‘Selección Especial’. 94 points. This is great, and up there with the best La Rioja Alta wines I’ve had, but it still wasn’t quite as good as I’d expected. Personally I think this wine is far from its peak, as it was still evolving in the decanter over the course of the evening. At first it just seemed to have a bit too much oak on display and was slightly out of balance. By the end of the night it was definitely starting to sing, but still felt slightly muted. I am probably being hyper-critical as I was expecting so much, and also I know there can sometimes be wide bottle variation with LRA wines, so it’s possible that was factor here. At any rate there’s no rush to drink and I’m excited to see where it ends up (if I can be patient enough!).
2005 Marqués de Murrieta Rioja Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial. 94 points. Smooth, full and complex. Soft fruit, spice and umami. Tannins are there but well integrated. Love its versatility. Pairs beautifully with so many dishes. It has been a pleasure to share this wine’s journey.
2009 Marqués de Murrieta Rioja Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial. VM 94. Vivid ruby-red. A highly perfumed, expansive bouquet evokes ripe red and dark berries, cherry liqueur, coconut and cigar box, along with a sexy floral nuance that emerges slowly. Plush and seamless on the palate, offering sweet, deeply concentrated blackberry, cherry-vanilla and mocha flavors that are given spine and lift by a core of juicy acidity. Rich yet energetic in style, displaying superb finishing clarity, even tannins and a lingering spicecake note. The Tempranillo saw only American oak while the Mazuelo component saw only French. (Drink between 2020-2030)
The meat tray.
Queso Manchego, En Tacos. Small cubes of Spanish year old sheep cheese.
Chorizo – Importado De España. Slices of imported all natural “Chorizo”: pork, paprika,garlic.
Jamón Serrano – Importado De España. Slices of imported salt-cured ham from Spain.
Yarom, Erick and I split some Chinese caviar to make some Jose tacos.
2003 Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único. VM 95. Inky ruby. Highly aromatic scents of ripe cherry and dark berries, singed plum, cured tobacco and succulent herbs, with a vanilla undertone. Sweet, expansive and powerful, offering intense black and blue fruit flavors with smoke and floral accents. Rich and full but surprisingly lively, with excellent finishing thrust and sweet, harmonious tannins adding grip. Shows the ripeness of the vintage to good effect; this is a somewhat approachable and exotic Unico, especially with some air, but it has the concentration to age slowly.
2004 Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único. VM 96. Inky ruby: doesn’t look like a ten-year old wine. A heady, intensely perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red and dark berries, vanilla, pipe tobacco, new leather and potpourri, with a subtle mineral flourish. Spicy, sweet and expansive, offering palate-staining cherry compote and cassis flavors with exotic violet and chewing tobacco qualities. Deepens and gains spiciness on the smooth, gently tannic finish, which lingers with superb focus and tenacity.
Arròs Négre. Cuttlefish, calamari, baby shrimp and mussels cooked with rice and squids’ ink.
Paella Valenciana Mixta. Rice, saffron, chicken, pork, seafood, vegetables with a touch of red peppers and rosemary.
Plate of carbs!
2004 Artadi Rioja Viña el Pisón. VM 95. Inky ruby. The nose is breathtaking in its floral, mineral and fruit intensity, offering a near-hallucinogenic bouquet of fresh and dried flowers, raspberry, wild strawberry, blackcurrant, cured meat, licorice, iron and graphite. This smells (and tastes) like a blend of great Hermitage and grand cru Vosne-Romanee. Deep, sexy and ridiculously sweet, the red and dark berry flavors coating every square inch of the palate, with gentle tannins providing enough supporting structure. This is almost absurdly packed with fruit and features a sappy, seemingly endless finish that’s nothing short of remarkable. Wow! (European Cellars, Charlotte, NC)
From my cellar: 2006 Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único. VM 97. Saturated ruby. An amazingly complex array of red and blue fruit preserve, spice and floral scents is accompanied by suggestions of incense, pipe tobacco, coconut and candied licorice. Utterly stains the palate with impressively concentrated yet lively, smoke- and spice-laced cherry compote, blueberry, fruitcake and violet pastille flavors braced by a spine of juicy acidity. Sappy and broad on the endless finish, which shows outstanding thrust and dusty tannins that are absorbed by the wine’s densely packed fruit. (Drink between 2025-2040)
NV Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único Reserva Especial 2005, 2006, 2007 (2018 Release). VM 95. Inky ruby. A deeply perfumed bouquet evokes ripe and red and dark berries, pipe tobacco, cola, mocha and incense, and a smoky mineral nuance gains strength as the wine opens up. Stains the palate with sweet blueberry liqueur, cherry cola, candied violet and spicecake flavors that smoothly blend richness and energy. Shows no rough edges and finishes extremely long and sappy, with resonating florality and fine-grained tannins that lend gentle closing grip. This is the 2018 release of this non-vintage blend. (Drink between 2022-2035)
NV Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único Reserva Especial 2008, 2009, 2010 (2020 Release). VM 97. Deep, glistening ruby-red. Highly perfumed, expansive aromas of crème de cassis, cherry preserves, vanilla, exotic spices and cured tobacco are complemented by suggestions of licorice, cigar box and espresso. Broad, dense and energetic on the palate, offering intense red and dark fruit, floral pastille, succulent herb and floral pastille flavors that show alluring sweetness and sharp focus. Finishes extremely long and smooth, with sneaky, harmonious tannins and lingering suggestions of candied rose, exotic spices and licorice. This is the 2020 release of this multi-vintage bottling. (Drink between 2025-2039)
Leg of Lamb.
2001 Rotllan Torra Priorat Tirant. VM 91+. Deep red. Exotic coconutty oak on the rather port-like nose. At once sweeter and more primary than the Amadis, with a penetrating minerality. Also quite oaky, but has more jammy plum and blackberry fruit to stand up to the wood. Still, it’s hard to predict whether this slightly pruney wine will reward more time in bottle. Finishes with sweet tannins and good length. (My bottle of the 2000 release last year showed fresher acidity, but this is richer. ) (De Maison Selections, Chapel Hill, NC)
Bodegas El Nido Jumilla El Nido.
2016 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru Bougros Côte Bouguerots. VM 93-95. Very pale green-tinged yellow. Classic Chablis scents and flavors of white peach, ginger, oyster shell, iodine and flint. Highly concentrated, tactile wine offering an impression of strong dry extract and a compelling combination of pliancy and energy. A very powerful, structured Chablis with a long, chewy, saline finish. Really saturates the palate without leaving any impression of weightiness. Offers splendid potential.
Flan De Naranja. Crème caramel with a light touch of fresh orange.
Blue Cherry Gelato – a blend of Morello Cherry, intense Amarena Cherry, and Blueberry fruit make this dairy gelato really pop — topped with Candied Amarena Cherries — 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 #amarena #morello #cherry #blueberry
Burnt Basque Cheesecake Gelato — Milk steeped with Tahitian Vanilla Beans and Valencia Orange Peels and then blended with Cream-cheese and Egg Yolks, layered with house made “burnt” Caramel and topped with house-made Caramel Brittle, finished with the torch! — created 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 #basque #cheesecake #caramel #brittle #orange
I love Spanish cooking, and La Paella has a really nice traditional kitchen. It reminds me of Botin in Madrid at the opposite end of the Spanish culinary spectrum from modernist Calima and the ElBuli school. Personally, I love both and I need to head back to La Paella to sample even more of their menu. Some of my favorites are Gambas Pil Pil, Anchovies en Boccerones, seafood paella, and, of course, the flan.
The wines tonight were really awesome. Great wine and we had a nice mix of reserva and vintage unicos plus a ton of old Rioja. Tonight I liked the vintage ones better in general, but sometimes it’s the other way around. Great juice.