Restaurant: 41 Ocean Club
Location: 1541 Ocean Avenue. Santa Monica, CA 90401. (310) 566 – 3870
Date: October 22, 2014
Cuisine: New American
Rating: Blast of a night
41 Ocean is a members only private club located in a historic 1920s building on Ocean Avenue. The Hedonists took it over in classic style and we were treated like Pharoes (to quote Yarom). After dinner, the gang enjoyed cognac or ports and cigars on their balcony overlooking the ocean. A truly epic night.
1990 Pol Roger Champagne Brut Vintage (in magnum). IWC 88. Bright, lightly leesy aromas of fresh apples, minerals and spices. Fresh, spicy and intensely flavored, but quite austere, almost metallic and not yet demonstrating much personality. But firm, bright and fresh, finishing with good grip. This wine came with an excellent reputation, but I preferred both Pol Roger Rose and Blanc de Chardonnay from this superb vintage.
2001 J.L. Chave Sélection Hermitage Blanche. Parker 92-94. I tasted component parts of the 2001 Hermitage blanc. Aromas of acacia flowers, honeysuckle, and citrus were followed by a medium to full-bodied white with loads of glycerin as well as heady fruit and alcohol. Elegant, medium to full-bodied, and crisper, it is more obviously backward than the 2000.
From my cellar: 2003 Jean Noel Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Caillerets. Burghound 91. As it almost always is, this is the class of these 1ers with a nose of pain grillé and spicy baked apples that precede fresh, detailed and mineral-infused flavors and a wonderfully intense and punchy finish that goes on and on. This is not quite as elegant as it usually is but it unusually refined for the vintage.
2007 Henri Boillot Corton-Charlemagne. Burghound 96. Seemingly like all of Boillot’s wines in this vintage, a strikingly pure nose of green apple, white flower and spice aromas complements perfectly the delicious, intense and stony flavors that are among the ripest in the range yet remain wonderfully vibrant and gorgeously detailed on the taut, transparent and bone dry finish that bathes the palate in dry extract. This is beautifully balanced and among the best wines of the vintage from Corton. In a word, brilliant.
From my cellar: 1997 Louis Jadot Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. IWC 94. Healthy dark red. Superripe aromas of crystallized black raspberry, rose petal, violet, iron, baking spices and meat. Huge entry, then almost painfully intense, with superb extract and great thrust. Exhilarating hints of dark berries, mint, flowers and minerals give this wine great complexity and verve. Would come across as thick if it weren’t so sharply focused. The firm tannins are buried in fruit on the extremely long, tactile finish. Should enjoy a long and spectacular evolution in bottle.
1989 Pichon-Longueville Baron. Parker 94-96. Both the 1989 and 1990 vintages exhibit opaque, dense purple colors that suggest massive wines of considerable extraction and richness. The dense, full-bodied 1989 is brilliantly made with huge, smoky, chocolatey, cassis aromas intermingled with scents of toasty oak. Well-layered, with a sweet inner-core of fruit, this awesomely endowed, backward, tannic, prodigious 1989 needs another 5-6 years of cellaring; it should last for three decades or more. It is unquestionably a great Pichon-Longueville-Baron.
2000 Leoville-Poyferre. Parker 97. The plushest, most ostentatious and dramatic of all the Leovilles in 2000, this wine is already sumptuous, displaying some nuances in its huge nose of vanilla bean, black chocolate, jammy black cherries, cassis, and graphite in a flamboyant style. Opulent, savory, rich, and full-bodied, it is a head-turning, prodigious wine and a complete contrast to the extracted behemoth of Leoville Barton and the backward, classic Leoville Las Cases. The Poyferre’s low acidity, sweet tannin and an already gorgeous mouthfeel make it a wine to drink now as well as over the next 25 or more years.
2005 Chateau Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape. Parker 93-95. Medium to deep garnet colour. Aromas of dark cherries, raspberry compote, cardamom, black truffles and a touch of star anise. The palate is full bodied, richly fruited with medium to high acidity and a medium+ level of grainy, slightly chewy tannins. Concentrated with a good compliment of structure to hold it up. Long peppery finish.
The club owner, Jermey brought: 1999 Chateau Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape Hommage A Jacques Perrin. Parker 96-100. The recently released 1999 Chateauneuf du Pape Hommage a Jacques Perrin is closed and less expressive than the 2000, and perhaps more elegant and less weighty. Nevertheless, it is an enormously endowed effort revealing notes of licorice, blackberry and cherry fruit, melted asphalt, tapenade, truffles, and smoke. Chewy, with more minerality than most vintages of this wine possess, it requires a minimum of 6-8 years of cellaring. It should last 35-40 years.
agavin: tons of barny brett on the nose, but a gorgeous middle and finish.
2000 Domaine du Clos du Caillou Chateauneuf du Pape. Parker 91. Slightly more open and supple (which is common when you compare the same wine from these two vintages), the 2000 Chateauneuf du Pape is another mature, balanced and classic Chateauneuf that’s drinking at point. Exhibiting plenty of pepper, Asian spice, herbes de Provence and sweet cherry and raspberry fruit, it too should be consumed over the coming couple of years.
1999 Domaine de la Mordorée Lirac Cuvée de la Reine des Bois. IWC 90-93. Bright deep ruby-violet. Perfumed, very fine aromas of blackberry, cassis, black raspberry, violet and bitter chocolate. Dense, pungent and sharply delineated; intense flavors of cassis, blackberry and bitter chocolate. Finishes with big, mouthcoating tannins and strong flavors of cocoa powder and licorice. The winemaking is impeccable.
1997 Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino Poggio Alle Mura. Parker 88. The deep ruby/purple-colored 1997 Brunello di Montalcino Poggio Alle Mura displays an international bouquet of red and black fruits, wood, licorice, and earth. There is excellent depth and ripeness, but this monolithic Brunello lacks heart and soul. The long finish reveals moderate tannin. Let’s see what develops.
2005 Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard. Parker 98. There are 2,600 cases of the 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard. As I indicated last year, this is a fabulous effort that manages to conceal its 100% new French oak aging. Its dense ruby/purple color is followed by beautiful aromas of blueberries, black currants, acacia flowers, licorice, and spice. The tannins are softer than I remember, but this is certainly one of the vintage’s most extraordinary wines. Full-bodied with a seamless integration of tannin, acidity, alcohol, and wood, it is exceptionally pure and full as well as impeccably balanced. The impression is one of elegance allied with substantial flavor authority. It can be drunk now or cellared for 25+ years.
2005 Maybach Materium. Parker 96. Named after the super-luxury car of the same name, the extraordinary 2005 Materium (614 cases) has more in common with a first-growth like Chateau Margaux than a Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. It boasts a deep ruby/purple color along with a striking bouquet of blue and black fruits intermingled with acacia flowers, lead pencil shavings, and licorice, excellent fruit, medium to full body, substantial but sweet tannins, and compelling harmony among its acidity, alcohol, tannin, and extract. This sensational 2005 eclipses even the brilliant 2004. It should easily last 25 or more years.
2004 Shafer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select. Parker 98+. The Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select has been one of Napa’s true first-growths since the early 1990s. The 2004 exhibits a dense opaque purple color along with spectacular, almost surreal levels of fruit that are never heavy, overripe or flawed. Its beautiful notes of creme de cassis, licorice and subtle oak (this cuvee spends 32 months in 100% new French barrels), skyscraper-like texture and extraordinarily long finish are all superb. This is a great wine from a great family who has done everything necessary to produce a world-class wine that can compete with any wine made from the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. You can’t say enough positives about the Shafers. Drink this 2004 Hillside Select over the next 20-25 years, although it could be even more stupendous in 40-50 years.
2001 Joseph Phelps Insignia Proprietary Red Wine. Parker 98-99. Still a young wine at age 12, the 2001 Insignia exhibits a dense purple color along with a sweet bouquet of camphor, blackberries, cassis, incense and spring flowers. Full-bodied, rich and heady with sweet tannin, stunning concentration and a fabulous finish, this remarkable Insignia has 25 or more years of life ahead of it.
2004 Hundred Acre Vineyard Shiraz Ancient Way. 93 points. Huge Aussie syrah. Beautiful nose, with lovely secondary baking notes to match impressive fruit levels. Touch of VA in a good way. On the palate the grapes are overripe and extracted, but still a lot to like. Touch of funk. Acids are present but overwhelmed by fruit and alcohol (which is well integrated but present). Fruit is big but lush, not jammie like many big ausies.. Long smooth finish.
2005 Hundred Acre Vineyard Ark. Parker 98. The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Ark Vineyard (the debut vintage of this cuvee) reveals an inky/blue/purple color as well as a sumptuous nose of loamy soil, licorice, graphite, espresso, sweet blackberries, and forest floor. It is a gorgeously proportioned, full-bodied effort with plenty of minerality as well as definition. Already accessible, this big wine should evolve for two decades.
2002 Sean Thackrey Orion Syrah. Parker 96-100. A riveting example of Syrah is the 2002 Orion. It boasts a black/purple color with more mint and blackberry notes intermixed with exotic floral characteristics. With great intensity, full body, multiple dimensions, and superb purity as well as length, this blockbuster is incredibly well-balanced/harmonious. It should drink reasonably well young, yet keep for 12-15 years.
2003 Two Hands Shiraz Ares. Parker 98. One of the most expensive offerings in this portfolio is the 2003 Shiraz Ares, a 230-case cuvee that flirts with perfection. A selection of the best lots of Bella’s Garden, it is a kinky, but fabulous Shiraz fashioned from very old vines, and aged in 100% new French oak (which is barely noticeable given the wine’s concentration). An opaque purple color is accompanied by a flamboyant, riveting bouquet of roasted meats, blackberry liqueur, charcoal, and white flowers. Full-bodied and voluptuous with amazing purity, concentration, and texture, this sensational Australian red should drink well for 15-20 years.
2005 Colgin Cariad Proprietary Red Wine. Parker 100. Performing even better than when I originally tasted it (scored 96+ at that time), the 2005 is composed of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc and 9% Petit Verdot. The first vintage where Allison Tauziet had complete control after Mark Aubert left to pursue his own wine venture, the 2005 continues to grow in stature and complexity. It exhibits an opaque purple color, a youthful style (it tastes like a 2-3 year old wine) and abundant notes of black fruits, acacia flowers, espresso, white chocolate, crushed rock and licorice. Full-bodied and velvety textured with fabulous concentration, high but sweet tannin and a 60+ second finish, it needs 4-5 more years of cellaring and should age effortlessly over the following 25-30 years.
2003 Guiraud. Parker 90. Tasted as part of a vertical held at the chateau. This is certainly one of the better wines from the Sauternes 2003 vintage: with fat mango and marmalade aromas on the nose that actually ebb, leaving room for attractive orange blossom scents. The palate is well-balanced with a smooth vanilla opening that demonstrates the precociousness of the vintage, while the exotic finish is nicely handled with hints of almond and peach lingering on the aftertaste. Fine.
Overall, an extremely fun night. Everything was great from service, to atmosphere, to food, to oh-so-much wine!