ALLEMAND V CHAVE LOS ANGELES EDITION - (10/1/2023)
We got together for a feast of food and wine centered around allemand and chave.
Our original plan was 4 vintages matched up against each other but due to a corked wine and a drop out we only ended up with two.
Despite that we still had a wonderful tasting. Almost every wine showed well and the best part was meeting new faces and hanging out with old friends. The service and food at republique were top notch as always and is one of the best places for a wine dinner in LA.
Allemand 07/08 Reynard absolutely crushed the Chave 07/08 respectively. But my WOTN was 2012 Jamet Cote Brune which was truly incredible
2013 Roses de Jeanne / Cédric Bouchard Champagne Millésimé Blanc de Noirs Les Ursules - France, Champagne
Served from magnum. Absolutely shocked how youthful it is out of magnum compared to 750ml. Super bright acidity and high-toned yellow fruit with citrus zest, none of the apple notes I'm typically accustomed to. Much more energy and bubbles than out of 750 as well, just streams new and primary. It was a delicious wine don't get me wrong, but it's totally different out of mag than 750.
2003 E. Guigal Ermitage Blanc Ex-Voto - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
2017 Domaine Prieuré Roch Ladoix Le Cloud Blanc - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Ladoix
Nice spot, fresh and fleshy that reminds me of a natty white burg producer, but there was a nice delicate acid note that helped keep the wine lively with its yellow fruit
Red burg ramp up
2005 Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanée Clos du Château - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée
Very much liger belair with its gorgeous supple red fruit and vosne spice yet still very much 05 as the oak still hasn't felt like it's integrated and the wine still feels so primary. I'm just glad to have a sound and good showing on a Liger village with age!
1992 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
looking at the notes on this wine prior to dinner had me fearful but boy this was good. That wild brambly red fruit with an edge of sous bois you get from most 80s Chave with a nice pulse of acid and cool moderate mouthfeel texture. Reminds me a lot of 89 but a little less so of a wine but still very enjoyable
1996 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
Wildly different wine from the 1992 that was served by it. Really burly meaty and thick. Lots of olive and smoke on the nose and the palate had a coarse tannin and more tobacco driven notes with dark burly fruit. One to sit on for a bit longer
2004 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
2004 Thierry Allemand Cornas Reynard - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
Been a couple years since I opened a blt of the 04 and it's really developed nicely. It's put on a lot of weight while keeping that fine minerality and black olive and fruit driven core. Starting to add more of that savory back end element of the wine which really adds to the complexity. Wine was beautiful and would have been my WOTN if not for the 2012 Jamet Cote Brune
2007 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
Soft supple fruit, felt a bit short on the finish, meaty pepper on the back end but wish there was a bit more acidity to prop the wine up
2007 Thierry Allemand Cornas Reynard - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
This vintage was such a great one for allemand. I love how the wine sparkles from the minerality and it feels so herbacious and black fruited. It's just incredibly well balanced right now with a deep flavor profile that shows it still has some time to go before it hits its peak.
2008 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
Kinda similar to the 07 we had with it where there's a lightness to the wine - I wouldn't necessarily say elegance just feels like it has another gear that's not quite there. It's easy drinking and has decent dark red fruit, but there just seems to be missing a little bit more especially next to the same vintage Allemand Reynard.
2008 Thierry Allemand Cornas Reynard - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
Very high toned va driven nose with bright purple fruit and pepper. THe palate is cool yet laden with ample fruit and that classic allemand fruit and minerality combo runs well in the wine. Not quick as deep as the 07 tasted the same night, but the VA seems to give it a bit more of a brightness.
2012 Thierry Allemand Cornas Reynard - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
Not a great example of the wine, you could tell there was a little heat damage and it was enough to really bring out the lacto notes on the finish that really marred the wine.
2012 Marie et Pierre Bénetière Côte-Rôtie Le Dolium - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie
I think this wine is starting to shut down a bit. It's losing a bit of that sweet sweet red berry on the nose and starting to get burlier and thicker on the nose and palate. Still fantastic density on the wine with a ton of sweet red fruit but it does feel like the structure of the wine is in the forefront. A very good wine still if you've never had it near release where it was an amazing wine.
2012 Domaine Jamet Côte-Rôtie Côte Brune - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie
Wow. Maybe the best syrah i've had in 2023. It's so etheral in its fruit presence with wonderful acidity and a fine line of the sweetest delicate red fruit. The mouthfeel of the wine is so svelte and beautiful. THe nose is filled with that same fresh picked cherry note that just effortlessly rises out of the glass. My goodness that was good.
My feeling is that Chave doesn’t really show that well until it’s older. I’ve had that 92 once and it was excellent. I imagine it was pretty unimpressive when it was young. 1987 is another vintage that didn’t get much interest young but has turned out great. 2002 seems to be on that track.
In our SF tasting I felt like the 2006 was starting to turn that corner (though better vintage to begin with). 2008 was okay, not super impressive, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out really good in 10 years.
LA done good, sounds like a great tasting! Republique is a really solid restaurant, I could see it excelling for an event like this. Bummer though about your ‘12 Reynard. In SF it was a show stopper.
Also don’t feel like they were made in the same way pre 95 and after.
I’ll try to post my notes later when I have a few minutes, really fun event though!
very cool tasting!
Jamet’s Cote-Brune is the closest as you’ll get to Gentaz - and it’s really, really close. Always shows up too.
Good notes! Need to get tips on your photos lol.
I’ve always thought 07 was a sleeper vintage, partly because I tasted tank samples that were really vibrant at the time.
Man, if I could get Cote Brune for even close to Chave or Allemand, that would be nice.
Buy an expensive camera
Buy expensive lens
Use white balance
But most importantly - learn how to use Lightroom . Ever since I really started to dive into Lightroom it’s really changed everything. I’m still learning a lot but even slightly above basic stuff is really noticeable outside of the general exposure/contrast/highlight/saturation
Ok lol. I have Elements, which probably gets me the same tools you use in Lightroom.
Some free associative thoughts on a fun evening:
Republique is a perfect spot for these types of wine dinners – the private room, the outstanding cuisine, the stemware, the deep and relative fairly priced wine list, the friendly and efficient service. There’s a reason it’s on the NYT just published list of the top 25 restaurants in town. It’s money, but one caveat: it costs money. You will spend some decent coin to eat there. But worth it to me.
Most of you don’t know it, but Charlie is a more than capable fill-in somm. He is expert at divvying up and pouring wine in multiple glasses. He has a keen memory and steady hand. If this whole legal thing doesn’t work out, I’m sure he could get a decent job on the floor. He’d just have to work on his personality.
Michael “Heavy Pour” Chang is more than a shrewd amasser of fine wine. He’s a tough dude. He showed me a gnarly scar on his bicep from a recent mishap in which another brawny guy broke his arm by snapping his humerus in half during a public wrist-wrestling contest!
Our fearless WB leader Tood French is more of an astute taster than he lets on. Don’t let the aw-shucks Midwest demeanor and Newsom-like flow fool you …
- I’m not usually a fan of tasting menus but Republique always does an excellent job of portions and plating and mixing up flavors/textures. There’s nothing fussy or goofy. I do have to admit that the dishes didn’t necessarily match up with traditional ideas of N. Rhone red wines – I’m looking at you Dover sole and Santa Barbara spot prawns. But somehow the whole thing worked. Michael and I noted how the Kanpachi crudo actually did work with some of the Chave and Allemand wines. We made the obligatory Parker joke about sushi and CDP en magnum. Honestly, the umami in a potato/leek soup with uni and oyster did play off the red wines well.
I came into the evening squarely in the Team Chave camp, but left waving the Allemand banner. The Cornas wines wine had a cool elegance that I appreciated. The Allemand wines just seemed a bit more crystalline and inward-facing – calm and balanced. The Chaves were more meaty and smoky and earthy – bacon fat and tapenade in spades. The Allemands had more of a stony, blackberry thing going on.
I hate agreeing with Charlie but we both settled on the top 3 wines of the night. It seems unfair that the interloping Cote Roties stole the show, but they did. Cote Rotie is my favorite appellation in N. Rhone. They just seem more delicate on the palate, with underbrush and red fruit notes and white pepper. I slightly preferred the rare Dolium on the night for its flamboyance, but the Brune would appeal for those looking for sublime concentration and poise.
The Allemands did not run away with the contest. My informal straw poll of attendees showed 6 votes for the Allemands and 3 for the Chaves.
Matthew, thanks for the thoughts on the evening. About the pairings - I’m a deep contrarian on this subject. Basically my view is that food friendly wine (more or less anything from France or Italy) can work well with a wide variety of foods. As long as the dishes aren’t too extremely, delicate or spicy. Yes there are some pairings that work especially well. But when the wine is epic, it will compliment nearly anything.
Had the 10 Jamet Cote Brune in Paris earlier this year at Willi’s
First and only time having a Cote Brune. Holy crap what a fantastic wine.
Half price for what it goes for here.
The 10 brune is epic. Drank it alone at 11pm at willi’s when the family went to bed
Also picked off a 10 Cote brune at willi’s! What a fun spot!
drank it solo as well cause the 18 year old daughter doesn’t drink
drank the regular 10 two days earlier
A spectacularly funny and true post, insightful but free-flowing… I’m just going to copy off your notes.
(This is the perfect example of bringing people into the event who weren’t there and letting them experience what we did)
We especially appreciated his humerus anecdote.
Didn’t we all pose for a photo at one point?