Location: 6001 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038. (323) 466-8812
Date: June 3, 2021
Tonight I return to a favorite haunt.
The amazing chef/owner Sal Marino cooks at his original family location, venerable Marino Ristorante on Melrose and continues to whip up his unique blend of amazing modern Italian. And if anything, he’s gotten even better.
Post pandemic they’ve turned the parking lot into a cute patio.
We begin with a bit of white Burg because the bringer of champagne is fashionably late. But the quality of their champ makes up for it!
2012 Paul Pernot et ses Fils Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet. BH 93. Here the nose is aromatically similar to the Pucelles but with even better complexity and elegance. There is fine mid-palate density to the refined and marvelously intense medium-bodied flavors that possess the same fine complexity on the beautifully well-balanced and highly persistent finale. This is very Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet in the sense that it allies finesse and grace with power. (Drink starting 2019)
Our table. Just ignore the cinder block in the distance :-).
2007 Ruinart Champagne Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs. VM 97+. The 2007 Dom Ruinart is the first vintage made entirely by Chef de Caves Frédéric Panaïotis, which shows just how long the production cycle is in Champagne. A striking, tightly-coiled wine, the 2007 Dom Ruinart will leave readers week at the knees. In this vintage, Panaïotis took Dom Ruinart, which has traditionally relied on a relatively high percentage of Chardonnay from the Montagne de Reims and tilted the balance to 75% Côtes des Blancs and 25% Montagne de Reims fruit. As a result, the 2007 is much more chiseled and steely than is the norm. The citrus, slate, crushed rock, white pepper, mint and floral notes really sizzle in this powerful, dramatically rich Champagne, with bright saline notes that add freshness and vivacity to the striking finish. The 2007 is a stunning Champagne by any measure. Although it is very early, the 2007 has the potential to go down as one of the great Dom Ruinarts. It is every bit that special. Dosage is under 5 grams per liter, a pretty striking change from the 2006, which was closer to 10. Readers who can grab the 2007 won’t want to miss it. (Drink between 2018-2048)
2006 Dom Pérignon Champagne Rosé. VM 97+. The 2006 Dom Pérignon Rosé is every bit as captivating as it was last year, maybe even more so. At times powerful, but in other moments finessed, the 2006 constantly changes in the glass, revealing a different shade of its personality with every taste. Perhaps most importantly, the 2006 seems to have gained a level of precision and pure sophistication it did not show last year, when it was quite a bit less put together. Back then, the 2006 was a wine of tremendous potential; today that potential is starting to be realized. Quite simply, the 2006 Dom Pérignon Rosé is a magical Champagne. Don’t miss it. (Drink between 2020-2046)
PEACH & BURRATA. Regier Farms yellow peaches, burrata, wild baby arugula.
From my cellar: 2007 Emidio Pepe Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. VM 93. Bright golden-tinged straw. Complex nose of apricot, quince, flint and mint. Dense, suave and juicy, with a multilayered quality to its flinty-mineral and orchard fruit flavors. The note of diesel fuel emerges again on the long, magically mouthcoating but vibrant back end. One of the best Trebbiano d’Abruzzo’s I have memory of from Pepe. This older Trebbiano d’Abruzzo is a specific release for the US and other international markets. (Drink between 2016-2026)
agavin: unfortunately this had a strong turpentine quality that was not very enjoyable.
2005 Domaine Michel Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes. BH 94. A beautifully elegant and highly complex nose of extract of dark berry fruit that is both elegant and complex serves as a dramatic introduction to the big-bodied, indeed even robust flavors that are firm, dense and incredibly concentrated, all wrapped in a palate drenching finish that just oozes dry extract and gives a velvety texture to the unbelievably long finale. This is a wonderfully gifted wine that has everything it needs to age gracefully for multiple decades and it will need 12 to 15 years in a cool cellar to really hit its stride. This too is one of those ‘wow’ wines. (Drink starting 2017)
ZUCCHINI BLOSSOM. ricotta & marjoram filled zucchini blossoms.
From my cellar: 2001 Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. JG 94+. The 2001 vintage is one of the recent favorites of Signor Pepe, and he is convinced that this will be a classic in the fullness of time. The bouquet is still quite primary in its blend of dark berries, black cherries, Cuban cigars, a bit of cherry pits, dark soil, botanicals and a nice touch of nutskin in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and quite a powerful young vintage of the Pepe Montepulciano, with a rock solid core of fruit, lovely, nascent complexity, chewy tannins and excellent length and grip on the focused and still quite youthful finish. Today, the fine 2003 accessible, but with sufficient bottle age, the 2001 is going to be a reference point vintage of this great wine. (Drink between 2020-2050)
agavin: the red Pepe, however, was great!
MACCHERONCINI RABBIT. homemade pasta, rabbit ragout.
1995 Gaja Barbaresco Sorì San Lorenzo. VM 95. Gaja’s 1995 Barbaresco Sorì San Lorenzo is potent and virile to the core. A modern-day version of the 1974, the 1995 hits the palate with a rush of fruit enveloped by firm, powerful tannins. The style is frank, direct and intense, with fabulous richness but also some elements of rusticity. The 1995 will drink well for another 10-15 years. (Drink between 2014-2024)
1996 Gaja Langhe Nebbiolo Sorì Tildìn. VM 96. The Sorì Tildìn is one of the best wines in this retrospective of Gaja’s 1996s. Sweet floral notes, mint and sweet red cherries give the 1996 its distinctive lifted, perfumed personality, qualities that are enhanced by the wine’s natural acidity. Fresh, aromatically open and also quite energetic, Sorì Tildìn is distinguished by its detail and nuance. Think of a sketch done in fine pencil. (Drink between 2016-2036)
PAPPARDELLE BOLOGNESE. 3hr beef, pork and veal meat sauce.
2004 Tua Rita Redigaffi Toscana IGT. VM 93. The inky-colored 2004 Redigaffi, 100% Merlot aged for 16 months in new oak, offers expressive, nuanced aromatics along with sensations of richly-textured blue and black jammy fruit, minerals, mint, chocolate, spices and sweet toasted oak on big, powerful frame with notable underlying structure and a warm, resonating finish. Although it has enough structure and acidity to drink well for another decade or so, I enjoy Redigaffi most in its youth. (Drink between 2013-2016)
2005 Tua Rita Redigaffi Toscana IGT. VM 92. The 2005 Redigaffi will delight Tua Rita fans. Large, ample and broad on the palate, the 2005 possesses remarkable depth and intensity within the context of the year. Mocha, torrefaction, plum, smoke, brown spices and leather meld together in a big, opulent wine. All things considered, the 2005 has held up well, but signs of oxidation are setting in. Any remaining bottles need to be enjoyed over the next few years. (Drink between 2015-2018)
Pork stew with onions and mashed potatoes. Super flavorful and delicious.
1997 Tenuta dell’Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore Ornellaia. VM 94. The 1997 Ornellaia is another wine that is in the zone today. Soft, sensual and inviting, the 1997 has aged gracefully and also maintained a good deal of freshness as well. Wild flowers, spice, mint and red stone fruit continue to open up as this sumptuous wine fleshes out in the glass. (Drink between 2016-2031)
2015 Sine Qua Non Syrah Trouver l’Arene. VM 97. A real head-turner, the 2015 Syrah Trouver l’Arène is every bit as compelling from bottle as it was from barrel. Rich, sumptuous and exquisitely layered, the 2015 possesses magnificent concentration as it builds in the glass. Inky dark blue/purplish berry fruit, graphite, smoke, licorice and spice are some of the many nuances that develop in an arrestingly beautiful, vivid Syrah that will thrill those fortunate enough to find it. The blend is 80.5% Syrah, 7% Petite Sirah, 7% Mourvedre, 2% Grenache and 3.5% Viognier, done with 34% whole clusters and aged for 22 months in 48% new oak. (Drink between 2020-2035)
Porterhouse with mushroom sauce and brussels sprouts.
Vietnamese Hazelnut Coffee Gelato — Cafe du Monde coffee milk with Piedmontese Hazelnut Paste swirled with Sweetened Condensed Milk — 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 #vietnameseCoffee #coffee #CafeduMonde #SweetenedCondensedMilk #hazelnut
Chocolate Peanut Cream – a base made from 100% Valrhona Chocolate and South American Peanuts layered with house-made Peanut Butter Cream Cheese “Cream” — 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 #chocolate #valrhona #peanuts #icing #PeanutButter #reeses
Another great dinner. I really like the al fresco dining. Food was good, but I’ve had more elaborate and interesting meals from Sal. Tonight he was out for most of the evening, we didn’t have any of his specialties (like crudo and gazpacho), and more materially the person organizing the dinner has a more “modest” ordering sensibility than I do. Check out this meal I put together with Sal by contrast. He’s a fabulous chef when you let him go all out. The stand out for me tonight was the pork stew — which was pretty incredible actually.
Wines were pretty excellent too (except for my white Pepe).