One of Boulder’s true gems is OAK at Fourteenth located downtown just off the famous Pearl Street Mall. The cuisine is described as “Seasonal New American” and the menu makes heavy use of their wood burning oven and is a combination of small and large plates that are easy to share. In addition, they have a terrific wine and spirits list, which is overseen by Jenica Flippo.
On this occasion, my wife Traci and I were dining with some dear friends and ordered a number of plates over the evening to share. This is one of the few local places to do fried pickles – which is a favorite of Traci’s – and the Apple and Kale Salad is a perpetual starter. The Tagliatelle was excellent, and both the Halibut and Hanger Steaks were perfectly cooked. While the small plates may be labeled as small, they’re far from it and can easily feed 3-4 people as a starter.
On the wine front, we started with a bottle of the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain from O’Shaughnessy, which is a terrific estate located on Howell Mountain in Napa Valley. This inky colored, unctuous beauty was loaded with notions of creme de cassis, lead pencil shavings, truffle and violets. It’s surprisingly forward and sexy for a 2013 and is already drinking incredibly well. Still, it has the depth, purity and density to keep for 15+ years.At this point, we needed another bottle and I asked the Sommelier (Jenica Flippo) to pick a bottle she’d like to drink. Her description of low sulfur and multi-vintage had me slightly concerned, but the MV Hiyu Syrah The May was terrific with an undeniable northern Rhône-like style in its lavender, pepper, olive and black and blue fruits. It’s forward and supple on the palate, and while I wouldn’t push the aging curve, it’s going to drink nicely for at least another 3-5 years. This cuvee comes from the Hood River Valley in northern Oregon (it’s in the Columbia Gorge AVA), saw a touch of whole clusters, and a crazy 90-day maceration before being pressed into a half barrel. It’s a singular, outstanding bottle of wine.
If you’re ever in Boulder, this charming, impeccably run bistro is well worth your time and money.
Thanks for reading!