Monday, July 2, 2012

Echezeaux at Drago Centro in Downtown

First, the food and service are excellent at Drago Centro (downtown L.A.). Spencer Cruse, their "newish" Wine Director, is great.

Much thanks to the Burgundy group that made this dinner possible and a special thanks to Michael for arranging, per usual, the superb flight and tasting menu. I look forward to the next one.

All the wines showed well overall. The first red flight to the second red flight were a major step up in quality, in my opinion. And not having tasted the Rouget wines before, I must say, I was impressed. Great class, balance and density with impeccable texture.

First flight, the Champagne warm-up with passed apps
1996 R.L. Legras Saint-Vincent
Excellent blanc de blanc, vibrant, tight, minerals, citrus, airy and fresh, excellent brightness and brisk feel, my preferred style.
1996 Henriot Cuvee des Enchanteleurs
Smooth, lemon vibilia, biscotti, toast, with nice bright fruit, some butterscotch, round body, plump but refined. Lush.

-Passed apps-
Swordfish, pistachio pesto
Caprese salad "pinwheels"
Veal sweet breads, caperberry gremolata

The White flight paired with the first course
1996 Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Pucelles
A little sulfurous in the nose, great racey acidity, bright lemon, lime, chalk, slight caramel but very lively, still vibrant and nuanced. Good concentration and precision. My preferred wine.
1996 Domaine Caillot Batard Montrachet
Feels much more aged (but not pre-mox) creme caramel with a slight Madeira-like hint (in a good way), citrus fruit, restrained and opulent at the same time, young olives, dark color, opens more with time.

-1st course-
poached lobster salad, fava beans, fennel, holland white asparagus

The First Red flight paired with the second course
1999 Mugneret Gibourg Echezeaux
Tobacco, olive oil, mint, a little skunk (in a good way), medium weight, cherry fruit, great depth. Silky.
1995 Mongeard Mugneret Grand Echezeaux
A step up in quality from the others. Brighter fruit. Grapefruit, pomegranate, dark cherry fruits, roasted intensity but well balanced, currants, long finish. Excellent wine.
2001 Mongeard Mugneret Echezeaux
Shows some oak, bark notes, earth, bright cherry, excellent texture, some tannins but silky, lively, medium-to-light weight, great feel, developing spice, fresh.

-2nd course-
Seared foie gras, wild mushroom spaghetti

The Second Red flight paired with the third course
1996 Domaine Emmanuel Rouget Echezeaux
The home run wine for me. Loads of class. Silky texture. Classic. Expressive notes of red and black fruits. Detailed. Intense. Deeply impressive. Good acidity. Fresh and vinous. Rich. Plenty of upside.
1999 Domaine Emmanuel Rouget Echezeaux
Still a bit primary in a way. Some Asian spice, cinnamon and toast (but refined), good density. Pure red fruits. Full and brooding. Has many years ahead of it.
2000 Domaine Emmanuel Rouget Echezeaux
A little simpler in a way, nice to drink, excellent fruit, pure brightness, silken texture, good cherry and red fruits, complex aromas of earth and dark fruit.

-3rd course-
Duck breast, lentils, sunchoke puree, garlic scapes

Bonus wine
2004 Fevre Chablis Bougros Grand Cru Cote de Bouguerots
Young but lively. Great acidity. Perfect foil for the cheese course. Lemon, lime, citrus dense, lively, bracing fruit, full texture. Classic clean finish.

-4th course-
Il boschetto cheese, truffle honey, crostini

My favorite reds were 1995 Mongeard Mugneret Grand Echezeaux and the 1996 Domaine Emmanuel Rouget Echezeaux, with the '96 getting the top nod.

A great night.

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