Restaurant: Dinner at the Borgese’s [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]
Location: Santa Monica
Date: June 30, 2021
Cuisine: Italian influenced gourmet home cooking
Dinner at the Borgese’s is a special house dinner in Santa Monica cooked by the stunning pro-level home chef Borgese couple. Tonight’s dinner is another Uni themed dinner!
The dynamic Borgese team consists of Rocco, his lovely wife (and the main kitchen chef), and his daughter (helping out with service).
Their house has not only a wine cellar, but a cheese and meat larder!
Plus all this incredible wood fired oven set up.
We have this fabulous outside table, perfect for covid ventilation.
The menu for the evening.
NV Krug Champagne Brut Grande Cuvée Edition 168eme. JG 96+. he new release of Krug Grande Cuvée “168ème Édition” is from the base year of 2012, with the reserve wines in the blend stretching all the way back to 1996. The final cépages has ended up as fifty-two percent pinot noir, thirty-five percent chardonnay and thirteen percent pinot meunier. Forty-two percent of the blend is made up of reserve wines in this beautiful iteration of Grande Cuvée. The bouquet is superb, wafting from the glass in a mosaic of apple, white peach, a touch of Clos du Mesnil-like fresh apricot, almond, a beautifully complex base of soil tones, fresh-baked bread, hints of the caraway seed to come and a whisper of buttery oak (which is particularly evident when the wine is first poured, but quickly is subsumed in the other elements on the nose). On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, focused and very complex, with a lovely core of fruit, fine soil signature, utterly refined mousse and a long, perfectly balanced and very energetic finish. This is one of the most effortless and seamlessly balanced young releases of Grande Cuvée in several years and is utterly brilliant wine. (Drink between 2020-2080)
2007 Taittinger Champagne Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut. VM 96. Taittinger’s 2007 Comtes de Champagne will be nearly impossible to resist upon release. Soaring aromatics, mid-weight structure and soft contours give the 2007 its alluring personality. Lemon oil, white flowers, mint, chamomile and green pear add brightness and freshness throughout, with a persistent, clean finish that makes it impossible to resist a second taste. Today, the 2007 comes across as a slightly more open version of the 2004, with freshness that makes that wine so appealing, and a touch of textural richness that recalls the 2002. Although the 2007 does not have the explosive energy or verticality of the profound 2006, it will drink better earlier. The 2007 has been positively brilliant on the three occasions I have tasted it so far. (Drink between 2018-2047)
Tartare coda Gialla al Tartufo. Yellowtail tartare with truffle.
Uni with truffle.
NV Krug Champagne Brut Grande Cuvée Edition 168eme (second bottle). JG 96+. he new release of Krug Grande Cuvée “168ème Édition” is from the base year of 2012, with the reserve wines in the blend stretching all the way back to 1996. The final cépages has ended up as fifty-two percent pinot noir, thirty-five percent chardonnay and thirteen percent pinot meunier. Forty-two percent of the blend is made up of reserve wines in this beautiful iteration of Grande Cuvée. The bouquet is superb, wafting from the glass in a mosaic of apple, white peach, a touch of Clos du Mesnil-like fresh apricot, almond, a beautifully complex base of soil tones, fresh-baked bread, hints of the caraway seed to come and a whisper of buttery oak (which is particularly evident when the wine is first poured, but quickly is subsumed in the other elements on the nose). On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, focused and very complex, with a lovely core of fruit, fine soil signature, utterly refined mousse and a long, perfectly balanced and very energetic finish. This is one of the most effortless and seamlessly balanced young releases of Grande Cuvée in several years and is utterly brilliant wine. (Drink between 2020-2080)
2006 Krug Champagne Vintage Brut. VM 97. The 2006 Krug Vintage is fabulous. Here the richness, breadth and texture of Pinot come through loud and clear in a Champagne that is classic Krug. Red plum, coffee, spice, baked apple tart and lemon confit all flesh out effortlessly in the glass. The ripeness of the year is evident, and yet the vibrancy of the Chardonnay lends so much energy. The 2006 can be enjoyed today, but also has the balance and stuffing to develop well for many years to come. This is a superb showing from the 2006. This is Krug ID: 118014. (Drink between 2021-2041)
2008 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut. VM 99. The 2008 Cristal is one of the most complete, most dazzling Champagnes I have ever tasted. A stunning wine from any and all perspectives, the 2008 simply has it all. Spherical in construction, with superb persistence. The 2008 takes hold of all the senses and never gives up. One of the many things that makes the 2008 special is a combination of ripe fruit and bright, piercing acidity. Marzipan, lemon confit, dried flowers and orchard fruit all build into the explosive, resonant finish. “We learned from the mistakes of 1996, when we picked more on acid than ripeness, as was the norm in Champagne back then” Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon told me recently. “In 1996, the best fruit turned out to be the last picks, where the fruit was physiologically ripe. Today, we aim to pick all our fruit with that criteria.” (Drink between 2020-2050)
Just some of the sea urchins.
Bisque di Ricci con Arogosta. Uni bisque with lobster.
1996 Dominique Laurent Beaune 1er Cru Les Reversées Blanc.
1997 Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fumé Pur Sang. 92 points.
From my cellar: 2012 Paolo Bea Arboreus. 92 points. Medium orange color. Drank a glass over an hour. Interesting as an intellectual curiosity….Reminiscent of an older, tired and overly oxidative Lopez de Heredia, this has all of the bitter, lacquer qualities. The nose offers some nice lemon and tangerine oil, lacquer, and beeswax in addition to the baked apple and oxidativeness. The palate is rather oily, lemon oil, tangerine oil, very oxidative, waxy, acidic and grippy with a dry tannin like extract.
Pasta con Ricci. Uni pasta.
Lobsters on the grill.
The team working on the lobsters.
2010 François Raveneau Chablis 1er Cru Butteaux. VM 95. Raveneau’s 2010 Chablis Butteaux is beautifully expressive on the bouquet, where layers of petrol, smoke and melted rocks fuse together with notable elegance. The Butteaux is a wine of all dimensions; it is at once vertical and horizontal, with fabulous purity and exceptional overall balance. This is one of the larger-scaled 2010s here. In many ways it encapsulates the personality of the vintage. (Drink starting 2015)
2013 Vincent Dauvissat (René & Vincent) Chablis 1er Cru La Forest. VM 91-94. Bright, subdued aromas of pear drop and citrus fruit. Densely packed and saline in the mouth, offering terrific stony energy and depth along with a sexy impression of sucrosite . Still tight, austere and uncompromisingly dry for all its richness. More obviously soil-driven than the foregoing samples–really classic stony Chablis premier cru.
Aragosta con Burro di Ricci. Lobster with uni butter.
2011 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Chenevottes. VM 94. The 2011 Chassagne-Montrachet Chenevottes is one of the more succulent wines in this range. Dazzling in its volume and pure textural depth, the 2011 impresses for its balance and sense of harmony. Mineral notes appear over time, adding dimension and complexity. What a gorgeous wine this is. (Drink starting 2014)
2018 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet. BH 90-92. A ripe, cool and pure nose possesses a lovely array of pear, white peach and subtle acacia wisps that are trimmed in just enough wood to notice. There is both good volume and richness to the utterly delicious and seductively textured flavors that manage to possess a beguiling refinement on the clean and dry finish that offers very good persistence and especially so for a villages level wine. (Drink starting 2025)
2009 Faiveley Corton-Charlemagne. VM 93+. Full yellow. Captivating aromas of ginger, lime, fresh apricot and ginger. Tightly coiled and spicy, with strong acidity and a dry, savory character giving the mid-palate an urgent intensity. Bracing flavors of lime, crushed stone and almost metallic minerality showcase the vintage’s density of texture, but with a degree of energy rare for the year. Finishes with terrific persistence. I would not be surprised to see this wine merit an even higher score with several years of bottle aging.
Risotta all’ Ricci. Uni risotto.
2008 Hundred Acre Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.
2003 Château Léoville Barton. VM 93. Good medium ruby. Explosive nose of black raspberry, coffee and leather. Hugely rich, dense and sweet, with deep flavors of currant, plum and chocolate complicated by underlying minerality. Wonderfully dense and full on the back end, with broad tannins and palate-staining length. Today, the 2005 comes off as dry by comparison. A standout of the vintage, and likely to be long-lived in the context of the year.
1989 Château Léoville Las Cases. VM 88. The 1989 Léoville Las-Cases came from a bottle that was recorked in 2017 at the property. The bouquet is rather muffled, and quite rustic and earthy in style, missing the breeding that Jean-Hubert Delon instills nowadays. The palate is medium-bodied with soft tannin. Rustic red fruit mixes with iron ore, orange peel, game and bacon fat notes. Old-school in style but missing the backbone and tension, the precision synonymous with this estate. Overall, it is slightly underperforming in the context of the vintage. Tasted at the property and in London, both bottles ex-château. (Drink between 2019-2025)
2009 M. Chapoutier Ermitage Le Pavillon. VM 95. Opaque purple. Red and dark berry preserves and candied flowers on the seductively perfumed nose. Juicy, deeply pitched black raspberry and blueberry flavors are complemented by notes of violet, rose and licorice. Offers an uncanny blend of richness and vivacity, with a seamless texture and no excess fat. Closes on a peppery note, with persistent florality. I find this highly seductive wine surprisingly open right now.
Meats for the grill.
Costelette di Agnello alla Legna. Lamb chops on wood fire.
Bistecca alla Legna di New York Wagyu. Wood fire Wagyu New York Steak.
Carote. Carrots cooked over a wood fire.
Broccoli. Cooked over a wood fire.
Triple Chocolate Cloud Gelato – The base is made with Valrhona 62% Satilla Chocolate and then layered with Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Ganache and Brookie-O Brownie Oreos! — 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 #oreos
Caramel Fudge Marshmallow Gelato –Base is Salted Caramel made by replacing the sugar with house-made Water Caramel. Swirled with house-made Valrhona Fudge Ganache and Marshmallow Cream — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #caramel #caramelSauce #SaltedCaramel #valrhona #fudge #marshmallow
The wine lineup. Not too shabby.
Overall, this was an amazing dinner, and the Borgese’s just keep amping up the quality.
First of all, the Borgese hospitality was awesome, the house lovely, and the food absolutely incredible. Best “home cooked” meal I’ve had. Maybe ever if you restrict it to chefs cooking in their own home kitchen. Just amazing. Every dish was great. Rustic but extremely delicious style. Superb homemade pastas. My gelato was darn good too :-).
Service was handled by the youngest Borgese (teen daughter) and was better than most restaurant staff. Super friendly and you can tell they do this a lot.
Wines were, as you can, pretty darn impressive!