Restaurant: Amarone Kitchen & Wine
Location: 8868 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069. (310) 652-2233
Date: FRIDAY July 13, 2018
Rating: Great cute little place
Sauvages is a really fun group but the Friday Lunch time slot makes it sometimes a challenge to attend. Still, when Sauvages buddy John Gordon told me he was organizing this one and it was going to feature Grand Cru Red Burgundy — I had to go.
John chose Amarone on Sunset as his location. I’ve been a couple times before years ago and always enjoyed this small intimate Italian.
We had the whole upstairs to ourselves — in fact the whole restaurant because he usually isn’t open for lunch.
From my cellar: NV Drappier Champagne Rosé Brut Nature Dosage Zero. VM 90. Pale orange. Mineral-accented red berries and citrus fruits on the nose, complemented by hints of candied rose and white pepper. Stony and precise, offering lively strawberry and orange zest flavors that expand slowly with air. Closes spicy, stony and tight, with very good clarity and floral persistence.
agavin: I love this light dry rose champ.
2004 Domaine Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru La Boudriotte. BH 89. A deft touch of wood frames citrus and earth infused ripe chardonnay fruit aromas that lead to rich, full and fleshy flavors that are robust if not especially structured, all wrapped in a delicious and easy to like finish. There is good freshness here if not great underlying tension with fine overall balance and fine length. In sum, this is a generous and easy to like effort that should repay a few years in the cellar.
Swordfish carpaccio on toast with EVOO, orange zest, and red peppercorns. Very bright and lovely.
On the left (standing) is John G or group organizer and on the right (in blue) is Amarone’s owner Sandro Oliverio who it turns out I was friendly with when he ran Palmeri, a Brentwood Italian my wife and I used to frequent.
Flight 0 (white et rose):
This flight was cobbled together out of the contents of our bags (extras) in order to make a white flight when we realized that there was a salad course — which would not work particularly well with grand cru reds.
2014 La Chablisienne Chablis Grand Cru Blanchot. BH 89-92. A wonderfully elegant nose that is cool, pure and airy with its array of essence of white flowers, citrus peel and iodine nuances, all of which is trimmed in just enough wood to notice. Once again there is good volume and concentration to the round and textured medium weight flavors that brim with minerality on the dry and citrusy finish that has a surprisingly clipped finale. This may round out but it is decidedly edgy at present and my projected range offers the benefit of the doubt.
2010 Vincent Dancer Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Tete du Clos. BH 91-93. The fresh, cool and beautifully well-layered nose exhibits white flower and lemon zest scents that give way to restrained, refined and energetic flavors that possess plenty of underlying tension on the balanced and ever-so-mildly austere finish. Like the La Romanée there is a distinct salinity to the finish and this should age well.
From my cellar: 2013 Chêne Bleu Rosé. VM 91. Bright orange-pink. Powerful, mineral-laced aromas of ripe citrus fruits, redcurrant and cherry, with a suave lavender overtone. Fleshy, seamless and broad on entry, then tighter in the middle, offering bitter cherry and berry skin flavors that gain sweetness and energy with air. Blood orange and raspberry notes cling tenaciously on the lucid, mineral-driven finish. This concentrated wine really outperforms its appellation.
Radicchio salad with Parmesan and asparagus with a balsamic must dressing. Bitter and refreshing. A great salad, but not a red wine pairing.
From my cellar: 1996 Jean Raphet et Fils Charmes-Chambertin. 93 points. deeply colored; red cherry and cloves; balanced and mellow with good acidity adding freshness (and giving away the vintage). A really nice bottle!
1996 Dominique Laurent Bonnes Mares. VM 94-97. Press wine from Morey-Saint-Denis: Sappy, iron-scented nose of great verve. Supersweet and smoky in the mouth; offers great tensile strength and terrific length. A blend of Morey and Chambolle: Highly complex aromas of raspberry, game, coffee, clove and exotic spices. Fat and sweet, but with a firm mineral underpinning. Very young and powerful. Fine tannins expand with aeration. The Chambolle character dominates today. Approximation of the final blend: Very deep red-ruby. Nuanced but reticent aromas of raspberry, smoke and coffee. Dense, large-scaled and sweet, with flavors of iron, earth and brown spices. Superbly textured fruit and sophisticated, rich tannins. Very firm but harmonious acidity. Extremely long, shapely finish.
1998 Domaine Robert Arnoux / Arnoux-Lachaux Clos Vougeot. VM 90. Good red-ruby. Lively, nuanced nose combines black raspberry, black cherry, violet, licorice and herbs. Fat, sweet and pliant; surprisingly easygoing and plump for the cru and the vintage. Finishes with dusty, fine tannins and very good persistence.
1996 Domaine Rene Leclerc Griotte-Chambertin. VM 91-94. Good deep red. Extravagant aromas of redcurrant, raspberry, tobacco and spice. Downright unctuous in the mouth, like liquid silk. Confectionary but not heavy. Distinctly sensual texture. Finishes very, very long, with suave tannins buried in fruit. If Leclerc can get 90% of this wine quality into the bottle, it will be a head-turner.
Mushroom risotto with truffles. A very simple but delicious dish. The EVOO on top really brought out the truffle too.
1971 Camille Giroud Charmes-Chambertin. BH 92. Warm, rich, complex and fully mature aromas lead to big, dense, still firmly tannic flavors that display incredible vibrancy and vigor for a 30+ year old Burgundy and the finish is long a satisfying. This is a very impressive effort and while it is no model of finesse, the density and freshness this exhibits is nothing short of remarkable. First rate and this has another 20 years of life, even though I would not expect it to improve from here.
agavin: in great shape
1973 Philippe Remy Clos de la Roche. 87 points. Getting a bit on, but still decent.
1992 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Echezeaux. 91 points. The DRC Echezeaux was a nice trip back to Burgundy. A lighter DRC with some strawberries and steminess to give away its identity, this bottle seemed as good as it was going to get, a good dinner wine with enough complexity to keep it interesting.
Italian Seabass, simply grilled with spinach. Well done bass, but nothing radical.
An intermezzo by moi (in my alter ego as Sweet Milk Gelato). Blackberry Meyer Lemon Gelato — milk infused with meyer lemon peels, pure French blackberries, and a touch of lemon juice.
2002 Domaine Arlaud Bonnes Mares. BH 94. Nice.
1999 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Bonnes Mares. BH 93. Massive notes of blueberry and blackberry jam yet there is a certain austerity to the nose followed by flavors that are huge, firm, reserved and extremely dense and while there is a solid underpinning of tannin, they are wrapped in sappy velvet. The length is just flat out stunning and very powerful. This remains quite closed and while it presently does not possess the refinement of either the ’02 or the ’01, with time it may catch them as the underlying material is every bit as good. Consistent notes save for this most recent bottle which exhibited just a touch of finishing dryness.
2002 Domaine de la Vougeraie Clos Vougeot. BH 92. While not invisible, much more discreet notes of toasty and spicy oak highlight pungent, high-pitched blackberry and cassis notes. The flavors though are somber, youthfully vibrant and austere with superb density. This is classic in style with a very firm finish that will require time to harmonize and soften. Still, this is an elegant, relatively refined young Clos de Vougeot with plenty of character.
Veal Scaloppine with burgundy reduction sauce. Also fairly simple, and not my favorite dish. I don’t love this kind of old school Italian main.
2002 Domaine Robert Groffier Bonnes Mares. VM 94. Mellow, expressive aromas of musky strawberry and spices are a bit less sauvage than those of the Clos de Bèze. Smoother in the mouth as well, offering lovely finesse and restrained sweetness to the fine-grained raspberry and strawberry fruit flavors. The slowly building whiplash of a finish really stains the palate, with firm but ripe tannins contributing to the overall impression of freshness. Lingering saline minerality adds another dimension. (Incidentally, Nicolas Groffier seemed determined to show his two grand crus; he tried and failed to remove the corks of a first bottle of each wine but the second time was the charm.).
2002 Dominique Laurent Charmes-Chambertin. 90 points. Lovely cherry , bricking at edge but long life still ahead as it has a very long finish.
2002 Domaine Bertheau (Pierre et François) Bonnes Mares. BH 93. Interestingly, the nose is not all that dissimilar from the ’03 with very ripe black fruit and violet notes that lead to intense, huge and powerful, moderately structured full-bodied flavors that deliver stunningly good length plus a finish that is wrapped in sap that coats and stains the palate. This is forward for a young grand cru but it’s so stylish and pure that you really don’t care.
My cryptic notes.
Sandro brought up this lovely 2007 Vin Santo from Tuscany.
Toasted Almond Gelato made by me (Sweet Milk Gelato) with a gorgeous Almond Coffee Cake that Sandro added — a match made in heaven. This was a stunning gelato (if I do say so myself), to a large extent because of the amazing toasted Sicilian almond paste I got from Italy.
Sauvages lunches are always great and this was no exception. John’s planning, along with excellent flighting by him and Kirk and awesome hospitality by Sandro really helped bring the lovely food (particularly the first couple courses) and the awesome Burgundies into focus.