Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wildin' out on the West Coast...

The delay in posts stems from a short jaunt I made to Vegas, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. Short in the respect that it was 3 places in four days, but long in the fact that I took planes, (air) trains and automobiles to accomplish the journey.

Las Vegas was...well...Las Vegas. I won't go into what went on, as like the commercial states, it stays there. But I did have a very good meal at Bouchon in the Venetian's Venezia Tower. This Thomas Keller run restaurant showcased wonderful dishes like Salade de Poulpe, marinated octopus and flageolet bean salad with parsley vinaigrette and garlic toast. It went superbly with the 2007 William Fevre Chablis AC, showcasing all the steely, taut citrus fruit. Moving on to Gigot d'Agneau, a roasted leg of lamb with ratatoille and sweet garlic jus, I opted for a magnificent, albeit outrageously priced 2007 A. Clape Cotes du Rhone. Gloriously fragrant and delicious Syrah from the Northern Rhone that really shouldn't be $90 on a list. It's freakin' COTES du RHONE!! Actually, if you poured it in a glass for me and asked if I'd think it was worth it, I'd say "Hell yeah!" as it's that good. But what is this world coming to when Cotes du Rhone is $90? A rhetorical question that I wish I never asked. I sound like an old man who walked to school everyday...5 miles...uphill...both a snowstorm.

After leaving Vegas, the journey led to Santa Barbara where a meeting with the great Greg Brewer of Brewer Clifton and Diatom was on the docket. I've always been a fan of their wines, even purchasing a bunch on my own dime back in the day. Greg is a thinker, a generous soul and a guy who seems fairly unfazed by his fame in the world of wine. Tasting his 2008 Diatom Chardonnay Babcock Vineyard showed just how wonderful California Chardonnay can be when unfettered by oak. Citrusy, tangerine-toned, bright and sunshiny, this wine keeps the emphasis squarely on the fruit as he uses 6% new wood with the rest older oak. The freshness of the wine is really impressive. We will be receiving a small amount of this wine very shortly, so get some while you can. We followed up with tank samples of the not yet bottled Brewer Clifton Chardonnays (the Santa Rita Hills and the Gnesa were my favorites) and finished with the Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir (fragrant cherry and green tea), Melville Vineyard Pinot Noir (amazing spicy, Gevrey reminiscent wine that's locked, loaded and needing cellaring) and Mount Carmel Pinot Noir (lush and sexy, juicy and ripe black fruit). An astoundingly fantastic tasting and I thank Greg for his patience and generosity!

Finally, Los Angeles, where my brother resides, has never been my cup of tea. It's like a bunch of sprawled out communities with no real grit. I mean, where are the city blocks, the subways, the flavor? How can you love a place that never rains, never gets cold, has earth quakes and Kobe Bryant? But there is a charm to Santa Monica and after a good burrito and margarita at Lula's, we had dinner at Chaya in Venice. A fun and loud spot that has lousy service, but solid food and one wine by the glass that rocked, the 2008 Claude Branger Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie "Le Gras Moutons". Briny, spiny and shiny, this is tasty quaffing wine with Peruvian Salmon Ceviche with Red Onion, White Corn and Chili Lime Sauce as well as Lobster Enchiladas with Cilantro Cream Sauce.

East Coast represent...

JCB the 4th

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