November 10, 2008

The twelve disciples

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Tonight we were invited to dinner by a fellow customer of my go-to wineshop. It's been a while since our friend has had the suckling pig at the Kimberley Chinese Restaurant (君怡閣), and we were more than happy to join him on this outing! The food at the restaurant was exemplary as usual, and it doesn't hurt to have the restaurant's manager sitting next to you!

We had two starters: some nice and soft Chiuchow tofu (鹵水豆腐) and braised beef shank with five spice (五香牛腱). Both were great to start with, especially the beef shank.

The pig trotters and the deep-fried fish skin were also excellent. The fish skin comes from the salmon that the hotel uses for its buffet, and I'll remember to doggy-bag a plate of the trotters on my next visit. It's just sooo good...

Next came a very fragrant stewed fish and watercress soup (西洋菜燉生魚). I was very tempted to have a second bowl, but resisted when I thought of all the dishes which have yet to come.

The tiger prawn done two ways: body baked in butter; head in salt and pepper (大蝦貳味:生油焗身,椒鹽頭) was impressively displayed in a large bowl, and we all decided to take pictures of this dish. The prawns were huge, and the head was especially yummy.

Next we had a large garoupa baked in salt, herbs and spices (鹽燒大海青斑), which was interesting in that the chef used lemon and orange rinds, and it tasted a bit like the fish you find in Thai restaurants.

Then came the pièce de résistance - the stuffed suckling pig (金陵全豬烤香苗). What more can I say about this pig that I haven't said before in previous blog entries? It's just one of the loveliest creations ever...

For veggies, we had an interesting creation of stir-fried cucumber with black/green olives and rice crispies (黑白欖脆米炒青瓜).

The final dish of the evening was the oxtail with radish in claypot (蘿蔔炆鮮牛尾配蒸饅頭). This was really interesting as it's the first time I've had oxtail with the skin still attached. The skin was actually a bit chewy, but added extra flavor because of the layer of fat underneath. The chef apparently gets the tails fresh locally. It's an excellent way to finish.

We had some desserts and fruits, and the deep-fried egg cuillers (蛋散) were really excellent, even better than what you'd find at Maxim's City Hall.

But the gathering really is all about wine, and we had 12 bottles to share amongst the 11 diners! Our resident sommelier did a pretty good job in arranging the bottles in order for us to taste.

Jacquesson Cuvee No. 729 - this is technically a non-vintage wine but is based on the 2001 vintage. Toasty nose with citrus and a hint of caramel. Nicely balanced in mid-palate with a bit of a kick, and slightly acidic on the finish.

1996 Pol Roger Rosé - initially served too cold, nose showed some orange marmalade as it warmed up. Smooth on the palate with a nice, long finish.

2002 François Cotat La Grade Cote - this is technically a Sancerre, but this vintage was declassified by the authorities because of too much residual sugar/chaptalization. Without the Sancerre appellation printed on the label, we all thought this was a Chenin Blanc, and was very confused when I detected the trademark nose of green apples that screams Sauvignon Blanc... The pretty nose also had lots of muscat grapes, minerals and flint. A very refreshing wine that was ripe on the palate with a good balance between acidity and sweetness. I can see why the authorities worried about chaptalization...

2005 Henri Boillot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos de la Mouchere Monopole - nose of toasty oak, minerals, ripe fruit and a hint of wet chalk. The wine is still a bit too young, but eventually sweet grass emerged, and finally turned much more steely and flinty towards the end. For me this and the Cotat were the white wines of the evening.

2006 Peter Michael Chardonnay La Carriere - nose of sweet Anjou pear, lemon citrus, marshmellow, vanilla and a bit of toasty oak. Surprisingly the finish was a bit hot and bitter. The nose pretty much fell apart in glass with time...

2003 Dame de Coeur du Chateau Peyfaures - this is a Bordeaux Supérieur with a pretty label, and actually drank quite well. Nose was sweet blackcurrant and a bit jammy and stewed, with plenty of smoke to balance out.

1989 Jean Raphet Charmes Chambertin - a beautiful classic Burgundy, with telltale farmy, smoky nose full of bacon and grilled meats. Lots of sweet fruit in the nose here. A very clear, light-colored wine due to its age.

1999 Landmark Pinot Noir Grand Detour - nose was classic Californian Pinot, a bit sweet, jammy and grapy with orange marmalade notes. Surprisingly cloudy in its appearance.

1998 Clos Erasmus - the last time I opened this wine was in 2003, and of course 5 years makes a lot of difference in the development of a young wine. I am no longer blown away by the fantastically sweetness of the nose, but the wine has matured and developed into something much more complex. Initially the nose was a bit funky, chalky and medicinal. But star anise, mint ad a bit of brett came out later. Interestingly tannic and acidic on the palate at the same time, this wine can do with a few more years of aging. Fortunately I still have a couple of bottles left...

1997 Masi Amarone Costasera - a very alcoholic wine with acetone notes, nose is a bit minty and stewed. Like the Clos Erasmus, this was acidic and a bit tannic on the palate at the same time.

1998 Sine Qua Non E-raised - it's been 6 years since I last opened a bottle of this wine, and it still exemplifies what I love about SQN. The nose had lots of minerals, iron/blood, orange, and vanilla, coffee and caramel from the oak. Very smooth on the palate now, I can see this wine developing much further with age. I guess I will keep my remaining bottles in the cellar for now. Definitely my red wine of the evening.

77 Taylor's - being a fortified wine, you would expect this to be alcholic but I was still taken aback. Nose of wet chalk and ripe fruit like Ribena, a bit sharp. I haven't had a lot of vintage Ports but do prefer my Madeiras...

I know I sound like a broken record, but once again I was really drunk...but happy.

1 comment:

Changunnie said...

No wonder you are drunk!!


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