Location: 3101 W Olympic Blvd – Los Angeles, CA 90006. 213-381-3003
Date: April 28, 2014
Rating: very solid electric Chinese
The Hedonists return to one of our regular haunts, Korean Chinese Shin Beijing for some reliable (and somewhat closer than the SGV) Chinese eats — oh, and another birthday party.
From my cellar: 2011 Domaine Tempier Bandol. 91 points. Black-tinged very dark purple red violet color; tobacco, dried black fruit, smoke nose; tight, intense, dried berry, roasted black fruit, tar, tart black cherry palate.
2003 Louis Jadot Corton-Charlemagne Domaine des Héritiers Louis Jadot. Burghound 90. A subtle background hint of wood spice frames the baked green apple and pear fruit aromas as well as the powerful, rich and robust flavors that do a slow build from the mid-palate to the explosive finish that is almost painfully intense. This is blessed with massive amounts of dry extract if not great elegance and I do like the purity.
agavin: Our bottle was either oxidized or in a very weird closed state.
2004 Dönnhoff Schloßböckelheimer Felsenberg Riesling Felsentürmchen Spätlese. IWC 89. Subtle aromas of white peach, lime and sweet spices. The lip-smacking acidity makes this spatlese appear light and elegant. Salty minerality and lively spice character animate the finish.
agavin: nice, and paired well with the spice.
2006 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese. 93 points. Rich for an auslese. In blind tasting would have considered beerenauslese. Just about ready with lovely acidity and fruit. Drink for decades.
agavin: my favorite of the Rieslings tonight. Really nice.
2006 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Vista Verde Vineyard. IWC 91. Dark red. Finely focused red berry, cherry, floral and mineral scents are given a pungent character by smoky herbs. The fresh, sweet strawberry, raspberry and bitter cherry flavors pick up dusty tannic grip on the back end. Finishes bright and brisk, with excellent persistence and echoing sweet red berry flavors that really cling to the palate.
2007 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Vista Verde Vineyard. IWC 92. Medium red. Ripe, smoky cherry and dark berry aromas are brightened by fresh rose and minerals. Cassis and blueberry flavors coat the palate, with velvety tannins providing shape. The minerality gains power with air, adding urgency to the deep, sweet dark fruits that dominate the finish. You could serve this with a rich lamb or beef dish.
2009 Cayuse Grenache God Only Knows. IWC 93. Good medium-dark red. Very ripe aroma of strawberry liqueur. Intensely flavored and gripping; broad without coming across as heavy. Wild berry and smoke flavors are accented by a peppery element. Finishes subtle and long, with substantial fine, dusty tannins.
Sweet and sour fish. Okay, but nowhere near as good as the same dish last week at Beijing restaurant.
2003 T-Vine Cellars Syrah Duarte Vineyard. 92 points. T-Vine wines sure do have personality. Here is a good-natured and self-assured wine. Ebullient nose of black fruit, toast and pepper. Typical tooth staining extract, it fills the mouth with sweet juicy fruit, smoke and grilled meat. The tannins are still somewhat drying and maybe it could use a little more bottle time, but this wine has loosened up quite a bit since I last had it. I think that you can overanalyze a wine like this and it kind of misses the point. The winemaking is serious (it’s very well made), but this is an easygoing wine that is comfortable in its own skin (no pun intended). Note that it is more of a straddle wine that may overwhelm many dishes. Still, you don’t care so much when you are sipping it while cooking or enjoying a glass after a meal. Surely a fan favorite.
From my cellar: 1993 Faiveley Latricières-Chambertin. 92 points. A little funky at first, but after a few minutes, this wine shows sweet cherries, sharp minerals, and forest floor on the powerful nose. Initially the palate is a bit shy, but with time it gains concentration and volume until it explodes with deep red and black fruits. This is medium bodied and elegant but the fruit is intense, the acids are lively, and there is a strong spice note on the finish. There are still some hard edges and this is probably 5 years from its peak, but it’s wonderful now. Paired beautifully with peking duck.
Peking duck! Fabulous as always, I ate 6 pancakes worth.
2006 Seven Stones Cabernet Sauvignon. 92-94 points. Young but already showing beautifully. Aromas of spice, leather, and tobacco. On the palate it’s smooth and succulent with notes of cigar box, graphite, leather, and black plum. Long finish. An excellent wine that will only get better over the next 3-7+ years.
1998 Neyers Syrah Hudson Vineyards. IWC 93. Saturated ruby. Sauvage, highly complex aromas of black fruits, maple syrup, bacon fat, roasted game and leather; I would have picked this for Northern Rhone syrah, perhaps a cross between Cote-Rotie and Cornas. Dense, sappy and pliant, with impressively intense flavors of spicy black fruits and enticing inner-mouth perfume. Finishes with a whiplash of dark berry flavor and a firm tannic spine. A great California syrah.
2011 Patz & Hall Pinot Noir Hyde Vineyard. IWC 92. Good medium red, not too bright. Deeply pitched aromas of plum, raspberry, strawberry, mocha, loam and brown spices, lifted by floral notes of lavender and rose petal. Rich, broad and concentrated; more about spices and flowers than primary fruit today but sophisticated and complex nonetheless. A faint mintiness provides lift. Spreads out nicely on the back half, finishing with a light dusting of tannins and plenty of energy. This one needs a few years in the cellar.
2010 Opus One. IWC 95. Good saturated medium ruby. Riper on the nose than the young 2011, offering scents of blackcurrant, minerals, graphite, licorice and leather. Wonderfully suave and silky in the mouth, with terrific concentration and aromatic lift to the savory dark berry, crushed stone and mineral flavors. Really stains the palate without leaving any impression of weight. Boasts great clarity and outstanding depth, not to mention a finesse of texture rare for California cabernet. “Maybe my best vintage yet,” said winemaker Michael Silacci. A beauty.
1989 Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey. IWC 88. Very sweet, thick and honeyed in the mouth, with a slightly fungal Tokaj quality and a hint of damp earth. Very concentrated but a bit syrupy-sweet and on the soft side. Something odd lurks just beneath the surface. Since the early days for this wine, I’ve found it slightly oxidized and lacking in shape and grip.
Overall, this was a great evening. Shin Beijing turned out to be a great find with a nice ambiance (as far as Chinese restaurants go) and terrific food. They really treated us well too. It’s not so easy to handle a boisterous group of this size and they managed perfectly. The price was very reasonable too.
Service was as good as it gets for Chinese. They provided us with plenty of wine glasses, brought the dishes slowly, and were extremely friendly.
Tonight’s only problem was that somehow the vegetarians “hijacked” the menu. Not that they did anything on purpose, but the requests for some vegetable dishes resulted in not just a few for them, but in 4-6 orders of mostly vegetable dishes. I’m just too much a omnivore for that much sauced vegetable.