Location: 419 Cold Canyon Rd, Calabasas, CA 91302 (818) 222-3888
Date: June 14, 2013
Cuisine: Modern American
Rating: Great ambiance and terrific game oriented food.
For the middle Hedonist dinner of the year, we return to Saddle Peak Lodge. It’s pretty much the perfect venue for both a winter or summer food and wine blast, with gorgeous lodge patio, game driven food, and awesome wine service. For those of you who don’t know, Hedonist events have amazing wines (each diner brings at least one bottle) and this event has several 100 point blow out wines.
Saddle Peak Ranch used to be a game lodge back in the early part of the 20th century. The rich and famous used to come up and hunt Malibu’s finest, such as this poor fellow. Now the deer are just served up on the menu.
We dine al fresco in the summer (except last year when it rained in July!). The menu can be found here.
2000 Bollinger Champagne La Grande Année. Burghound 92. Not surprisingly, this resembles the 1999 except that it’s less expressive with developing aromas of floral, lemon and brioche that complements well the pure and detailed flavors that are less concentrated than its older brother but just as long. I like the elegance and finesse but wish it had just a bit more mid-palate density.
2010 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre. Burghound 93. A wonderfully elegant and highly expressive nose consists of white flower, oyster shell and iodine aromas that are very much in keeping with the powerful yet refined broad-scaled flavors that possess both excellent volume and concentration, all wrapped in an explosive and gorgeously long finish. The combination of punch and civility is most beguiling.
2010 Domaine Dublère Corton-Charlemagne. Burghound 92-94. Yet again the recent sulfur additions render the nose impossible to fairly evaluate though the underlying fruit appears notably ripe. This sense of ripeness is confirmed by the rich and phenolically mature moderately-scaled and mineral-driven flavors that conclude in an explosive and almost painfully intense finish. By the standards of the appellation, this is not really a big wine though it is impeccably well-balanced which will permit it to amply reward up to a decade of cellar time.
1996 Bouchard Père et Fils Bonnes Mares. 94 points. Deep ruby, bright and vibrant. A rich, fruity and slightly oaky nose. Lighter on the palate; red fruit with good minerality and finishing with good acidity – quite 96. Starting to show some signs ofdevelopment on the palate, with air, but still quite tight. A lighter, seemingly higher acidity take cf the denser fleshier Jadot version, silk v velvet. GC weight with the structure more acidity than tannin driven I think. Decent but come back in five years for some secondary development.
2001 Faiveley Mazis-Chambertin. Burghound 92. A moderately pitched nose that exhibits only traces of secondary nuances also features notes of cool red berry fruit¡ earth and a hint of the classic Mazis sauvage character that continues onto the delicious¡ well-detailed and intense middle weight flavors that exude a fine minerality on the mildly austere but not dry finish. There is a bit of unabsorbed wood that is present on the finish though it’s not enough to really detract from the overall sense of harmony. While this could easily be enjoyed now¡ for my taste there is just enough unresolved structure to warrant allowing this to continue to age for another 5 or so years.
Mix beets salad with basil whipped burrata cheese, rye crisps pistachio puree, blood orange and shaved fennel.
Golden corn soup with truffle foam, pea forchette, pecorino, prosciutto chip and potato croutons.
1984 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon. Parker 90. This wine has consistently been a crowd pleaser, with its impressive dark color, rich, jammy, cedary, licorice, chocolatey, cassis, and olive-like aromas and flavors, and full-bodied, unctuously-textured style. It is a big, chewy, flashy, oaky style of Cabernet. Although fully mature, there are no signs of decline.
Maine lobster salad poached in orange buerre blanc with miso carrot, hazelnut sabayon, teeny carrots, radish,
turnips, ginger vinaigrette and espelette wontons.
Bosc pear salad with red oak and baby gem lettuce, Laurel Chenel goat cheese, shaved red onion, toasted walnuts, blueberry and fig vinaigrette.
Ahi tuna sashimi with Hawaiian papaya, cilantro, red onion, Hawaiian papaya, avocado, orange-ginger and pea tendrils.
1989 La Fleur de Gay. Parker 95. Possibly the finest Fleur de Gay made, this rich, very large-scaled, tannic wine has a compelling nose of cassis, licorice, white flowers, minerals, and other sorts of black fruits along with some subtle new oak. Full-bodied, with great delineation, purity, and dazzling concentration and intensity, this is a fabulous example of a Fleur de Gay and a wine that seems capable of lasting at least another two decades.
Seared venison Carpaccio with horseradish aioli, avocado mousse, herb vinaigrette, parmesan crisps, mizuna,
fried capers, tomato seeds and grilled ciabbata bread.
Wild mushroom agnolotti glazed in truffle buerre monté, with sautéed Shimeji mushrooms and parmesan foam.
1990 De Suduiraut. Parker 88. The evolved, medium gold color of the 1990 is prematurely advanced, raising questions about future longevity. It possesses plenty of intensity, and an unctuous, thick, juicy style, but high alcohol and coarseness kept my rating down. There is bitterness as well as fiery alcohol in the finish. The wine does not offer much delineation, so cellaring should prove beneficial as it does have admirable levels of extract. Suduiraut can make powerful, rich wines that are often rustic and excessively alcoholic and hot when young. I am told they become more civilized with age, and certainly older, classic Suduiraut vintages have proven that to be true. I feel this estate’s propensity to produce a luxury cuvee (Cuvee Madame) in vintages such as 1989 tends to have a negative impact on the regular cuvee.
1989 Lynch Bages. Parker 99+. The 1989 has taken forever to shed its formidable tannins, but what a great vintage of Lynch Bages! I would rank it at the top of the pyramid although the 1990, 2000, and down the road, some of the more recent vintages such as 2005, 2009 and 2010 should come close to matching the 1989’s extraordinary concentration and undeniable aging potential. Its dense purple color reveals a slight lightening at the edge and the stunning bouquet offers classic notes of creme de cassis, subtle smoke, oak and graphite. Powerful and rich with some tannins still to shed at age 22, it is still a young adolescent in terms of its evolution and will benefit from another 4-5 years of cellaring. It should prove to be a 50 year wine.
Wild Game Trio – the Chef’s sampling of three different game meats with individual accompaniments. There is Elk (in the front?).
1988 Guigal Cote Rotie la Landonne. Parker 100. An opaque purple color and a closed but exciting nose of truffles, minerals, Asian spices, and fruitcake. When the wine hits the mouth with its enormous weight and extraction of flavor, one can’t help but be seduced by such enormous richness and purity. Nevertheless, there is still a remarkably high level of tannin (sweet rather than astringent), a youthful, unevolved fruit character, and flavors that stain the palate. After tasting this wine, one feels like brushing one’s teeth … it is that rich.
1999 Chateau Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape Hommage A Jacques Perrin. Parker 96. 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.
Pan roasted Skuna Bay salmon with roasted baby beets, shaved fennel, glazed cauliflower, purple kale, heirloom cherry tomatoes and puffed salmon skin.
2007 Colgin IX Proprietary Red Estate. Parker 100. The staggeringly rich, complex, harmonious, impeccably well-balanced 2007 IX Proprietary Red Estate (1,400 case produced) exhibits aromas of spring flowers, cedarwood, Asian spices, licorice, blueberries, and blackberries. A distinct liqueur of minerals buttresses the full-bodied, massive concentration, giving an overall impression of elegance, purity, and harmony. This is another seamless tour de force in winemaking.
Mac & Cheese.
2001 Joseph Phelps Insignia Proprietary Red Wine. Parker 99. The sensational, prodigious 2001 Insignia Proprietary Red Wine (89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot and 3% Malbec) has never performed better. Still extremely youthful with a dense purple color as well as a beautiful bouquet of cedar, charcoal, incense, creme de cassis and black cherry jam, fabulous intensity, a multidimensional mouthfeel and a skyscraper-like texture, it is a Napa classic that is still very youthful and belies its age of ten years. Like its stablemate, it should age impeccably for 35 or more years. Kudos to Joseph Phelps Vineyards!
2005 Larcis-Ducasse. Parker 98. This great terroir on the Cote Pavie has long been recognized as one of the most privileged spots in St.-Emilion, but it was not until the wunderkind duo of Nicolas Thienpont and Stephane Derenoncourt took over in 2002 that the wine finally began to live up to its potential. Old timers who remember the 1945 Larcis Ducasse will attest to how great this cuvee can be. Sadly, fewer than 3,000 cases were produced of the 2005, a blend of 78% Merlot and the rest primarily Cabernet Franc with a small dollop of Cabernet Sauvignon. Yields were a modest 27 hectoliters per hectare. This stunning effort reveals one of the most extraordinary aromatic displays of the vintage, offering up notes of sweet roasted herbs, jus du viande, black olives, espresso roast, creme de cassis, and kirsch liqueur. Extremely full-bodied, opulent, and lavishly textured with plush tannin as well as an ethereal elegance, a sublime personality, glorious sweet purity, and a layered texture, this amazing St.-Emilion is destined to become a legend.
2010 Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese. Parker 95. Representing a late picking incorporating considerable late-botrytis shriveling, the Schaefer 2010 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese A.P. #10 delivers effusively scented and lusciously mouth-filling pink grapefruit, purple plum, pear, and apple allied to the sort of deep nuttiness of cashew and pistachio that so frequently characterize this site at its best. A lip-smackingly, saliva-inducingly saline and scallop-like savor render the urge to take the next sip irresistible, and peat-like smoky inflections contribute botrytis-induced intrigue. The combination of richness and exuberance; density with refreshment; subtly oily texture yet transparency to minerality render this profound Auslese unforgettably distinctive and worth following for four decades.
Bittersweet chocolate crémeux with oak barrel ice cream, Devil’s food cake, and mango baked kataifi.
Daily selection of house-made sorbets served on ice. Blackberry, mango, and raspberry.
Caramelized white chocolate pot de crème with blackberries, white chocolate pistachio fudge and pistachio sorbet.
Chocolate molten whiskey cake with Guinness ice cream and Bailey’s whipped cream.
Yuzu meringue tart with graham cracker, raspberry sorbet and crispy raspberry meringue.
This was a total blow out event. The food was impeccable and the service fantastic. Plus we had a really great mix of people and some of the most awesome wines. The vibe outside on the lovely warm Malibu evening was perfect too.