Location: 516 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401. (310) 490-0202
Date: March 15, 2022
Rating: Awesome wines and time
In Spring of 2022 friend Jeffrey, owner of Heroic Italian, hosted a series of old wine dinners. This one is old Spanish. These things are immortal!
To complement Jeffrey prepared an almost ludicrously rich and copious amount of food. Pay careful attention as the plated courses are INDIVIDUAL.
The street view.
We situated ourselves in the back of the main dining room.
In honor of the old Spanish wine Jeffrey brought in a whole pig!
He also has this interesting water pulled out of “thin air” by a machine. Quite good too.
1970 Bodegas Tradición Jerez-Xérès-Sherry Oloroso Anada. 95 points. Intense and very complex nose, nutty, dry fruit, a hint of luxurious cognac. Very rich and round, strong acidity and mineral and a long deeply toned nutty finish. My guess is an old sherry. It could also a dry style Madeira. With air, incredibly complex, sweet cognac nose. This will go incredibly well with aged comte or parmesan.
Amuse of Cinco Jotas Jabugo on Toast with Crushed Tomato.
1986 Marqués de Murrieta Rioja Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial Blanco. VM 98. Bright yellow-gold. A hugely complex bouquet evokes dried pear, peach nectar, orange marmalade, honey, marzipan and chamomile, with vanilla and smoky mineral notes in the background. Stains the palate with sappy, deeply concentrated citrus, orchard and pit fruit flavors, plus suggestions of brown butter, shortbread and orange zest. This wine is fully mature but there’s no sign of it slowing down anytime soon. Finishes with superb persistence and energy, leaving peach liqueur, buttered toast and honey notes behind, eventually. This is one of the most remarkable white wines that I have ever had, from anywhere. (Drink between 2022-2031)
Scallop Bruschetta with Uni and Caviar. Buttery and delicious.
Foie Gras “LH” Bruschetta. Larry (LH) loves foie, so Jeffrey prepared not 1, not 2, but 4 liver courses!
House-made Vegetable Fritatta.
Served with perfect Garlic Aioli. It’s a great frittata and the intense garlic punch really knocks it up.
From my cellar: 1968 R. López de Heredia Rioja Gran Reserva Viña Tondonia. VC 95. I cannot recall having crossed paths previously with the ’68 Tondonia Gran Reserva, and given how beautifully this bottle showed, I do not intend to wait a long time until having the next bottle of this brilliant wine. The bouquet is deep, pure and perfumed, as it soars from the glass in a beautiful mélange of cherries, orange zest, cinnamon sticks, lovely soil tones, a touch of nutskin and a distinct topnote of rose petals. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and spicy, with a fine core, great length and grip and still a bit of tannin to resolve on the long and palate-staining finish. A great, great bottle of Rioja. (Drink between 2008-2030)
1959 Marqués de Murrieta Rioja Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial. VM 95. Upon opening, with just a quick decant, I am blown away by the wine’s depth and overall intensity. Bright red cherry, cedar, tobacco, sweet vanillin and incense are all so wonderfully alive, with bright acids playing off the natural intensity of the fruit. Sure, there is a bit of volatile acidity, but not enough to detract from the wine’s immense pleasure. Even though the market for Rioja has changed dramatically over the last 10-15 years, older vintages still deliver exceptional value in the world of fine, ageworthy wine. Readers lucky enough to own the 1959 can look forward to another twenty years of magnificent drinking, maybe more. Longevity will ultimately be driven by the integrity of the cork, as the wine itself is basically eternal. (Drink between 2020-2040)
1954 R. López de Heredia Rioja Gran Reserva Viña Bosconia. JG 54. The 1954 Bosconia Gran Reserva is at its absolute apogee and is drinking beautifully well. The bouquet is deep, complex and very refined in its mélange of raspberries, red currants, orange rind, nutskins, lovely spice tones and a fine base of Rioja soil. On the palate the wine is medium-full, round, focused and quite spicy in its personality, with lovely mid-palate depth, bright acids to keep the wine bouncy from attack to finish, and excellent length and grip on the complex backend. 1954 is a great vintage in Rioja, and the Bosconia Gran Reserva is a fittingly fine homage to the quality of the vintage. (Drink between 2008-2025)
1952 Marqués de Murrieta Rioja Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial. 99 points. extraordinary and special wine, which managed to amaze me.
1948 C.V.N.E. (Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España) Rioja Viña Real Reserva Cuvée Especial.
Foie “ Hoff” Gras Agnolloti with black truffles. A “light” little foie and truffle pasta to satisfy the foie monster at the table. No butter or cream here either… look away… move along…
Garlic bread. Great crunchy bread. Not that we needed extra carbs but I smeared aioli on for even more garlic.
Salmon en Croute with Farmers Market Asparagus. This isn’t a light dish either and this is a single person portion! Between the pastry and the beurre blanc…
Pan Seared Foie Gras “Estilo Hoffman”. More foie!
Classic Osso Buco with Risotto Milanese. Oh and this is a single portion of a giant hunk of cow leg with a huge pile of to-die-for classic risotto!
Then there is a whole pig.
Whole Roast Pig with Liver Sauce. With creamed spinach and liver sauce. Haha. A light finish to the savories.
1994 Taylor (Fladgate) Porto Vintage. JG 94. The 1994 vintage of Taylor is a huge and powerful wine, but it does not possess quite the same vivid freshness of my very favorite vintages in the last several decades. Perhaps this is just a stage that the wine is in today, but amongst the fine troika of vintage Taylors from the 1990s, I have to give a slight nod to the remarkably refined and hauntingly brilliant 1992 Taylor over the larger-scaled 1994. The very powerful bouquet on the ’94 offers up a mix of intense cassis, plum, chocolate, licorice, tar, and a huge base of earth. On the palate the wine is full-bodied and quite closed on the attack, with a huge, rock solid core of fruit, firm, well-covered tannins, great soil inflection, and an impressive brightness on the finish that is not evident on the nose today. If this is simply a dumb stage for the wine, then my score will prove to be conservative. (Drink between 2025-2075)
Pecan Tart with Irish Coffee & Whisky Gelato and Baileys Irish Gream Gelato.
Baileys Irish Gream Gelato — New stabilized 13% Bailys Irish Cream recipe, with a touch of seasonal coloring! — Designed to pair with “Irish Coffee Gelato” — 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 #expresso #whiskey #baileys #StPatricksDay #cream #green
Irish “Coffee” Gelato — Tullamore Dew Irish Whisky blended into a Coffee Custard Gelato base with (optional) layers of Crushed Oreo — Designed to pair with “Baileys Irish Gream Gelato” and includes a hefty Caffeine kick — 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 #expresso #whiskey #custard #oreos #irish
This was an epic dinner. Not only were the wine’s crazy good — these last forever — but there was so MUCH food. Look at the size of those individual portions and then there is all the foie, the osso bucco, en croute etc. Wow. I’m still full half a year later writing it up.