Restaurant: Dinner at the Borgese’s [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]
Location: Santa Monica
Date: December 1, 2021
Cuisine: Italian influenced gourmet home cooking
Dinner at the Borgese’s is a special house dinner in Santa Monica cooked by the stunning pro-level home chef Borgese couple. Tonight’s dinner is another truffle themed dinner!
The dynamic Borgese team consists of Rocco, his lovely wife (and the main kitchen chef), and his daughter (helping out with service).
Their house has not only a wine cellar, but a cheese and meat larder!
Plus all this incredible wood fired oven set up.The wine lineup. Not too shabby.
Our outside table.
Tonight’s special menu.
2006 Dom Pérignon Champagne. VM 96. Powerful, dense and tightly wound, the 2006 Dom Pérignon is fabulous today. To be sure, the 2006 is a broad, virile Champagne, but I find it compelling because of its phenolic depth and overall intensity. Chef de Caves Richard Geoffroy adds that August was quite cold and wet, and that ripening only happened at the very end of the growing season. Although numbers alone can never explain a wine, I find it interesting that the 2006 has more phenolics than the 2003. Readers will have to be patient, as the 2006 is easily the most reticent Dom Pérignon in the years spanning 2002 and 2009. I am confident the 2006 will have its day, but in its youth, it is not especially charming or easy to drink. (Drink between 2026-2056)
Rocco with said fungus.
2013 Louis Latour Chevalier-Montrachet Les Demoiselles. 94 points. Ready to go this is singing. A classic Montrachet, this has a perfect balance between clean linear notes and a wonderful buttery palate. This just emphasizes how Louis Latour competes against the prestigious label brands. This more than holds its own at a lower price.
2016 Vin Blanc de Palmer. 89 points. I had slightly older versions of this that I liked more. found it a bit new-world style with strong pineapple hints. perhaps in need of more time.
2013 Domaine Rémi Jobard Meursault 1er Cru Les Genevrières. VM 93. Pale-medium yellow. Bright aromas of lemon, lime, peach skin and nut oil. Densely packed and tactile but with lovely minty lift and energy to its lightly saline fruit salad flavors. Tactile and slightly phenolic but still shows a lovely light touch. Finishes with resounding minerality. Half of this wine is from vines between 25 and 30 years of age, the other half from 85-year-old vines. (Drink between 2020-2029)
Carpaccio di Filet Mignon al Tartufo Bianco. Filet mignon Carpaccio with White Truffles. Thin, delecate, and delicious.
1996 Colgin Cabernet Sauvignon Herb Lamb. VM 93+. Saturated ruby. Penetrating aromas of cassis, black cherry, licorice and shoe polish; essence of Napa cabernet. Superb purity of dark berry flavor, complicated by mineral and spice notes. The wine sweetness is quite restrained owing to its firm spine of tannins and acids. A classic rather than exotic style of cabernet, in spite of the vintage’s tendency toward roasted ripeness. Extremely long on the aftertaste; the somewhat tough tannins will require at least a few years of bottle aging.
1961 Château Gruaud Larose. VM 95. The 1961 Gruaud Larose from bottle curiously shows better than a magnum that was poured around the same time elsewhere. There is more flamboyance on the nose, a mixture of red/black fruit, pressed flowers and a sprig of mint. The palate is sorbet fresh on the entry with a fine bead of acidity. There is something almost sanguineous about this Gruaud Larose with a vibrant, perfectly balanced and structured finish that is pure class. Funny how this shows much better than the magnum – there you go. Tasted at the 1961 dinner Chairman Miaow’s in Hong Kong. (Drink between 2019-2040)
Midollo Osseo con Tartufo Nero. Bone marrow with Black Truffles. This is a Yarom dish as he loves bone marrow. This was a good bone marrow, but it isn’t my thing being pure fat without much specific flavor.
2007 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques Vieille Vigne. VM 94. Bright deep red with ruby highlights. Knockout nose combines dark raspberry, smoked meat, minerals and crushed rock. Tactile and chewy as a solid yet almost magically light on its feet, with terrific definition and lift to the palate-staining red berry, smoke and floral flavors. This superbly ripe wine boasts an outstanding core of dense, sappy fruit. Finishes with great length.
From my cellar: 2001 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Bonnes Mares. VM 94. The 2001 De Vogüé Bonnes Mares exhibited uncommon depth and richness in the luxuriousness of its vibrant fruit, with a personality that was delicate yet powerful. Still very much an infant, it was a privilege to catch this gorgeous wine in its youth.
Quaglia Ripiena su Polenta. Stuffed quail over polenta. Now this is a to die for dish. The polenta is nice and juicy and the stuffing is amazing.
1989 Château Palmer. VM 97. The 1989 Palmer has vied with the 1983 as the highlight of the decade, so it is fascinating to revisit it at 30 years old. It has a wonderful bouquet of degraded red berry fruit, singed leather and hints of game and mint, beautifully defined and still so fresh, yet undeniably old-school in style. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin and still brimming with vigor, delivering a fine bead of acidity and a touch of cracked black pepper. A very detailed, engaging finish urges you back for another sip. A brilliant Palmer, and judging from this showing, it has another two decades of pleasure to give. Tasted from an ex-cellar bottle at the château. (Drink between 2019-2045)
1989 Château Montrose. VM 98. The 1989 Montrose is a magnificent wine and this represents one of the best bottles I have encountered – one that was purchased on release and not moved from Berry Brothers’ cellar since. I have encountered perfect bottles of the 1989, and this flirts with that magic figure. It is blessed with a captivating bouquet of blackberry, raspberry, sous-bois and black truffle, the veins of blue fruit just toned down a little compared to previous bottles. The palate is supremely well balanced with those filigreed tannins that in some ways are atypical of Montrose. It delivers silky-smooth texture and an intense finish that glides across the senses. I cannot give a perfect score on this occasion, but without question, this is one of the great Montrose releases. Tasted at the 1989 Bordeaux dinner at Hatched in London. (Drink between 2019-2050)
2000 Château Pavie. VM 96. The 2000 Pavie was tasted on two occasions. The first was from bottle at the château, where I felt it was quite sauvage and displayed more brettanomyces than I remembered. It was a peculiar showing. Then I tasted a magnum back in the UK, and this chimed more with previous bottles. Blackberry and crème de cassis feature on the nose, which is precocious and modern in style, though the new oak that once dominated this Saint-Émilion is now subsumed. The palate is full-bodied and dense, yet it does possess an alluring, silky texture. A sweet, precocious finish lingers extremely long in the mouth. (Drink between 2023-2045)
Pasta al Uovo con Tartufo Bianco. Homemade egg pasta with White Truffles. Very simple, very excellent.
2002 Abreu Madrona Ranch. 97 points. Just superb and plenty of life left, at least 10 years. A strong core of fruit enveloped by silky tannins. Everything you would want in a Cali Cab.
2005 Colgin Cariad. VM 97. The Cariad is the most severe of the 2005s. Early signs of aromatic development are just starting to appear, but the 2005 remains quite backward, dense and brooding. There is an element of explosive energy in the 2005 that I find especially appealing. Hints of rose petal, mint, cherries, smoke and white pepper gradually unfurl in the glass, but 2005 still hasn’t hit its stride. (Drink between 2017-2027)
2012 Schrader Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Old Sparky” Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard. 97 points. Classic ripe new world style, massive black and blue fruits, spice box, vanilla, great balance and texture. I’ll be honest, it’s lacking a bit in complexity and I was expecting more given the scores. It’s very very good however, so don’t get me wrong… I just expected more.
Bistecche alla Fiorentina Cotte a Legna. Wood fired Florentine Steaks. Awesome steak — not over cooked!
Verdure cotte a Legna. Wood fired vegetables: in this case eggplant.
Extra polenta and gravy.
1967 Château Suduiraut. VM 93. Tasted on several occasions, the 1967 Suduiraut is inconsistent from bottle to bottle. Like the previous bottle it has a strong Barsac-inspired nose that, as I have remarked before, might dupe you into thinking Climens. The palate is balanced and underpinned by a wonderful line of acidity that slices through the marmalade and quince notes. This is one of the few Suduiraut vintages from this era that improves with aeration and stands as one of the best wines of the decade. However, due to inconsistent showings over the years, you should cross your fingers and hope yours is good one. 70gm/L r.s. 14.8% alcohol. Tasted at a private dinner in London. (Drink between 2019-2028)
Passion for Pistachio Gelato — Sicilian Pistacchio di Bronte DOP custard gelato base with just a touch of Grand Mariner, ribboned with bits of Valrhona Dark Chocolate Passionfruit Ganache — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #pistacchio #bronte #Sicily #Valrhona #Chocolate #Passionfruit #GrandMariner #Ganache
Peach Rose Sorbetto — A blend of White and Blood Peaches from Avignon with a bit of Persian Rosewater! — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — I’ve tried variants of this flavor several times and am at 1/8 the rosewater I started with, still titrating down! — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #sorbetto #BloodPeach #rose #rosewater #peach
Overall, this was an amazing dinner, and the Borgese’s just keep amping up the quality.
First of all, the Borgese hospitality was awesome, the house lovely, and the food absolutely incredible. One of the best “home cooked” meals I’ve had. Maybe ever if you restrict it to chefs cooking in their own home kitchen. Just amazing. Every dish was great. Rustic but extremely delicious style. Superb homemade pastas. My gelato was darn good too :-).
Service was handled by the youngest Borgese (teen daughter) and was better than most restaurant staff. Super friendly and you can tell they do this a lot.
Wines were, as you can, pretty darn impressive! It should be noted that tonight’s meal had less distinct dishes than some of our previous meals, probably because of the “all truffle” theme, and as such I probably entered the steak course with more room than I might have — however it didn’t take very many slices of steak and spoonfuls of polenta to become stuffed to the gills so all good.