Restaurant: Drago Centro [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]
Location: 525 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071. (213) 228-8998
Date: August 20, 2021
Rating: Great high end Italian
Back to Drago Centro for “another” Sauvages Barolo lunch. Theme today was “Barolo from any vintage between 1995-2006 (except for 2002 or 2003).”
Located on busy Flower in DTLA.
We had a little reception outside on the patio before the lunch proper.
Hot shrimp wrapped in prosciutto, asparagus spears.
Blinis with creme fraiche and caviar.
2006 Billecart-Salmon Champagne Cuvée Nicolas-François Billecart. AG 97. The 2006 Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart is shaping up to be a jewel of a wine, but it needs time to be at its best. I am surprised by how tightly wound it is. But that only makes me think what it might develop into with time in the cellar. Lemon confit, white flowers, mint, crushed rocks and sage meld together in a bright, crystalline Champagne endowed with terrific purity. The 2006 is 60% Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims and the Vallée de la Marne and 40% Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs, mostly done in steel, with just a touch of oak, around 5%. Dosage is 6 grams per liter. (Drink between 2020-2032)
2008 Dom Pérignon Champagne. VM 98. The 2008 Dom Pérignon is a huge, powerful Champagne and also clearly one of the wines of the vintage. This is one of the most reticent bottles I have tasted. So much so that I am thinking about holding off opening any more bottles! The 2008 has always offered a striking interplay of fruit and structure. Today, the richness of the fruit is especially evident. Readers who own the 2008 should be thrilled, but patience is a must. (Drink between 2028-2058)
NV J.P. Chenet Blanc de Blancs Brut. 87 points.
2005 Taittinger Champagne Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut. VM 94. Bright yellow. Vibrant pear and melon aromas are complicated by suggestions of ginger, brioche and smoky minerals. Dry, smoky and precise, offering intense orchard and pit fruit flavors that gain weight with aeration. A dusty mineral quality adds focus and lift to the long, penetrating, floral finish. There’s a Burgundian thing going on here that’s quite intriguing.
2001 Roberto Voerzio Barolo Cerequio. AG 95. The 2001 Barolo Cerequio comes across as rich, round, seamless and pretty. Here, too, the aromas and flavors are just a bit forwad, but there is more than enough density to support another decade of aging. The wine comes together beautifully with time in the glass. Sweet rose petals, spices and licorice wrap around the big, seamless finish. (Drink between 2013-2021)
2004 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo. VM 97. Sensual, silky and totally alluring, the 2004 Barolo is another wine that is a picture-perfect example of its vintage. The aromatics alone are captivating, but it is the wine’s total balance that places it in the upper echelon. After some of the ups and downs of the 1980s and 1990s’ wines, the 2004 really shows where the estate is today in terms of quality. (Drink between 2016-2034)
2004 Paolo Scavino Barolo Bric dël Fiasc. VM 95. The Barolo Bric del Fiasc is a bit monolithic. To be sure, Bric del Fiasc is always a powerhouse, but at this age, I expected to see a little more finesse. There is no shortage of intensity, structure or explosive energy, but the 2004 still needs time to come together. I think there is a reasonable chance that will happen given the track record here, but readers will have to be patient. There are plenty of 2004 Barolos that are quite showy today; this is not one of them. (Drink between 2019-2034)
2007 Giuseppe E Figlio Mascarello Barolo Monprivato. VM 94+. Medium red. Subtle, reticent, very pure nose offers perfumed scents of wild red cherry, rose petal and wild herbs; the most refined of Mascarello’s 2007 Barolos. Wonderfully silky and fine-grained on the palate, but with terrific calcaire precision and lift. The wine’s highly aromatic red cherry and floral flavors saturate the palate without leaving any impression of weight. This vintage of Monprivato includes about 4% each lampia and rose; the rest is michet, including the juice that normally goes into Mascarello’s limited Ca d’Morrisio bottling. The very long finish features harmonious acidity and firm but suave tannins that reach the front teeth. A beauty.
2007 Massolino Barolo Riserva Vigna Rionda. VM 90. Good bright red. Expressive smoky aromas of red berries, plum, menthol and mocha, with a hint of medicinal austerity. Fat, sweet and liqueur-like, but with harmonious acidity giving the middle palate a surprisingly light touch. Still, this is rather subdued today and does not show the lift or stuffing of the 2009 Parussi that preceded it in my tasting. Finishes with dusty tannins and a faint tart edge. Will this benefit from further aging or will it dry out? I’d opt for drinking it over the next few years.
Carne Cruda Alla Piemontese (aka Beef Tartar with truffles).
1999 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate Le Coste. VM 94. Rinaldi’s 1999 Barolo Brunate-Le Coste (magnum) is fabulous. Firm, powerful tannins give the 1999 much of its spine, power and pure drive. Lavender, black cherries, plums, dark spice and iron emerge from the glass, but only with considerable reluctance. From magnum, the 1999 Brunate-Le Coste is a powerhouse, not to mention a terrific example of the year. With air, the 1999 can be enjoyed today, but its best drinking probably lies ahead. (Drink between 2014-2029)
2000 Gaja Langhe Nebbiolo Conteisa. VM 95. The 2000 Conteisa is one of the most positive surprises in this tasting. The wine is positively explosive, with marvelous balance and richness in its generous, radiant fruit. The 2000 is a terrific Conteisa. (Drink between 2015-2025)
2000 Domenico Clerico Barolo Percristina. VM 90. The 2000 Barolo Percristina has held up well. It shows considerable freshness in its dark red fruit, leather, licorice and sweet spices. The French oak remains very much present. It’s hard to see the fruit lasting long enough for the oak to every truly integrate. (Drink between 2013-2018)
2001 Domenico Clerico Barolo Percristina. VM 93. The 2001 Barolo Percristina, from magnum, has aged well, but it needs to be enjoyed over the next few years. Today the balance of fruit and oak is still good, but over time the oak tannins will dominate. Sweet red cherries, flowers, licorice, spices and mint wrap around the deep finish. The astringency of the oak is impossible to miss. It is tolerable while the fruit retains some depth, but once the fruit fades, all bets are off. (Drink between 2013-2016)
2001 Paolo Scavino Barolo Riserva Rocche dell’Annunziata. VM 97. The 2001 Barolo Riserva Rocche dell’Annunziata is huge and seamless from start to finish. The wine totally envelops the palate with masses of dark red fruit, roses, spices, and mint, all supported by nearly imperceptible tannins. The volume and shape of the 2001 is simply breathtaking. This is Scavino’s most vibrant 2001. It is also his most polished, refined Barolo. (Drink between 2016-2031)
Tagliatelle, Wild Mushrooms, Summer Truffles. Lovely.
Yarom got a salad because he was avoiding the carbs as usual.
1997 Renato Ratti Barolo Rocche. VM 91+. Deep saturated red-ruby. Less exotic but complex nose melds roasted plum, maple syrup, minerals, meat and smoky oak. Lush and velvety in the middle palate, already showing lovely perfume. Chewier and deeper than the Marcenasco, and more powerfully structured. Finishes with big, dusty tannins and a youthfully austere suggestion of camphor.
1997 Michele Chiarlo Barolo Triumviratum Riserva.
1998 Domenico Clerico Barolo Percristina. VM 92. Dark ruby. The 1998 Percristina appears to have entered the early part of its maturity and is an excellent choice for drinking today. It is an opulent Barolo with plenty of fruit and much persistence on the palate, made in a rich, seamless style, with superbly well-integrated oak and softening tannins. 1998 is the last vintage this wine was aged in 150 liter Taransaud cigarillos, subsequent vintages have been aged in standard-size barriques. (Drink between 2013-2014)
1997 Domenico Clerico Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra. VM 93+. Full, saturated red-ruby. Sappy, high-pitched aromas of cherry, nuts and oak spices. Superconcentrated, spicy and sweet, but nearly as backward as a top ’96, with superb extract and powerful underlying structure. Finishes with substantial mouthdusting tannins and a late note of dark chocolate.
Osso Buco, Risotto Milanese. This was one of the best versions of this classic dish I’ve ever had. The risotto was incredibly “creamy” (it doesn’t actually have any cream in it) and the meat was rich, fatty, and succulent.
The proof is (not) on the plate.
1976 Château Suduiraut. VM 88. The 1976 Suduiraut was served from apparently one of the last remaining bottles at the property. It has 90gm/L of residual sugar. It has a deep amber core with greenish tinge on the rim. The bouquet is clearly from another era with scents of orange pith, mandarin, a slight adhesive scent that turns more chlorine/swimming pool with time. The palate is well balanced with a crisp line of acidity, very Barsac in style like many Sauternes of this vintage. It remains fresh and vital with that tang of bitter orange and marmalade on the finish. 13.7% alcohol. Tasted at the Suduiraut vertical at the château. (Drink between 2019-2024)
Chef’s Assorted Cheese & Condiments.
Bread for the cheese.
Almond Chocolate Cloud Gelato – The base is made with Valrhona 62% Satilla Chocolate and then layered with Toasted Sicilian Almond Cream and Dark Chocolate Rocas! — 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 #Valrhona #chocolate #creamcheese #ganache #icing #almond
Pinoli Gelato — Siberian Pinenut Gelato — 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 #pinoli #pinenut
The wine lineup.
The ladies table outside.
Overall another great lunch. Food was as on point than ever, particularly that osso bucco. Wines were great and the pairing was perfect. Great way to “kill” a Friday afternoon.