Here at K&L, we work really, hard. We've made a serious commitment to this store and the owners make it worth our while. Last week, Clyde Beffa Jr. one of the esteemed founders, came to Los Angeles to give us a tutorial on '08 Bordeaux. While I may be the spirits buyer, my heart will always be with wine. Dubbed the last "affordable" vintage, the '08s showed great value and a lot of long term potential. A stark contrast to the over priced '06 and modern '07 vintage, the 2008 vintage is more classically styled showing good acid and strong tannins. Purchased before the dollar's precipitous fall and without the rabid fanfare of the '09 or '10s, our line up revealed a couple of real gems. The big boys (Pichon and Cos) were rich and powerful, showing lots of potential for the long term. Pontet Canet usual angular structure seemed rather rounded for the vintage. The only disappointment was the Lagrange & Larcis, which one too modern and the other bit trashy. Three incredible values emerged from the pack -D'Aiguilhe, Cantemerle, and Malescot- all showed incredibly well under $50. Can't forget the Lynch-Bages Blanc which is relatively expensive, but showing very well considering its disappointing critical acclaim. Needless to say, if you like a classic structure style claret and want to save a bit of money, I highly encourage you to seek out the '08 for your cellar. The highlight of the evening, however, was a BBQ prepared by the man (Mr. Beffa) himself along with a selection of incredible wines from his personal cellar. I'll mostly let the pictures speak for themselves.
I don't mean to rub it in, but that's USDA Prime, some legit franks, and Monsieur Marcel's saucisson. We'd lucked out, a customer with perfect timing had returned a lovely bottle of '96 Leoville Barton -don't ask me why. It wasn't at all corked, but it was several days old, so onto the steak it went. A little Amora Moutard de Dijon and we were in heaven...
This is the finest grill on the market!!!
The Feast begins....
Uh oh...'82 Mouton Rothschild pulled out of inventory due to leakage. It didn't disappoint, not at all a bad bottle, just not quite living up to the hype. Nonetheless, Bubba looks on longingly.
'83 Pichon Lalande was probably the highlight of the evening. Still with lots of life, vibrant color all the way to the rim and a precision that cut down the palate like a scalpel. The 83's are often over looked and Clyde considers this one of his favorite wines ever. Tough to disagree.
The only dud of the evening was this bizarre private label, most likely made by Inglenook. The clear glass did not affect the color, which was still vibrant, dark and rich looking. Unfortunately, this bottle smelled like hot trash when it was first opened. I was shocked to see it come back around after an hour or so, but it still didn't stand up well to competition.
By far the most interesting offering was the '61 Hallcrest Cabernet. Still with plenty of life, it took several hours in a decanter to fully blossom. Hallcrest is one of the original greats of California wine. When they set out to make world class wine in the hills above Santa Cruz, no one expected them to succeed on this level. This is one of the earliest vintages and played an historic role in establishing California as one of the world's great wine growing regions. A bouquet of hearty earth, desiccated currants, and masculine brute. Bretty, intoxicating and powerful, truly a special bottle of wine that I will rank near the top of my most special and unusual experiences.
On to Harvard & Stone where Mia Sarazen of Black Market was running the R&D bar. She's exceptional and this was as well. All the drinks were named after '80s films hence why I remember none of their titles. Ingredients here: Goslings, Benedictine, and Lemon if I remember correctly.
Another Sarazen creation. Her punch was painfully easy to consume: vodka, sake, other stuff a blur.
The Fabulous Trinidad Sour, a Harvard & Stone classic. The base is Angostura Bitters with Lemon, Orgeat, and Root Liqueur to balance. Interesting, invigorating, definitely one of my favorite cocktails in Hollywood. We finished our night thusly. I hope you're not only seething with jealous rage, but also that you learned something! Thank you Clyde for the exceptional wine and thank you Mia for the wonderful cocktails!