June 11, 2010

Throwing a birthday party in style

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My friend threw a birthday party at her apartment tonight, and invited the lot of us to spend an enjoyable evening together.  Long before I arrived, and indeed throughout the evening, our hostess threatened warned me - on pain of limb loss emasculation death - not to include certain words which she felt derogatory in whatever I would write the next morning.

So, what transpired tonight was a gathering of wine lovers/experts, all of whom were much more knowledgeable than yours truly, since they all met while taking classes in pursuit of a diploma on wine.

Our hostess brought in a caterer who provided us with a variety of Southeast Asian cuisine, starting with a selection of yummy Vietnamese appetizers like deep-fried spring rolls, pork sausage, shredded chicken salad and steamed rice flour rolls.  I was hungry and everything was yummy, so I had seconds of everything.  The hot food arrived, and besides the nice roast pork neck, I was surprised to find the very delicious otak-otak.  Certainly much better than what I'd had at Sh!ok.

There was, of course, a lot of wine.  I actually arrived at the party a little buzzed, having sipped on some 2004 Kongsgaard VioRus in the office.  The wine was not bad but not what I had hoped for.  Nose of honey, straw, apricot and a bit of oak.  It's a funny age for this wine, when the Viognier has lost its freshness and the Roussanne is starting to mature and take over.

1999 Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill - yeasty and toasty nose, a little sweet and later a little funky.  Pretty nice.

NV Egly-Ouriet Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru (disgorged August 2009) - I looove this wine from Egly-Ouriet, and in fact anything from this house.  This is a delicious Champagne... a poor man's Vieilles Vignes Français.  Lovely oxidized nose of cotton candy, caramel and lemon...  The acidity is a little higher here.

1999 Leroy Meursault 1er Cru Les Charmes - the nose was clearly oxidized, but I like them like that.  Pretty sweet nose with a light touch of oak and lots of caramel.

1999 Chave Hermitage Blanc - pretty oxidized nose of cotton candy and a hint of minerals.  There was slight ripeness on the palate.  A beautiful wine.

1999 Leroy Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot - this just blew the Meursault away... A very powerful and huge nose of toasty oak, popcorn, with lots of sweetness.  This is what a 10-year old Chardonnay should be!

1994 Chapoutier Ermitage Blanc De l'Orée en magnum - I brought this big baby to the party, but it had just come out of the office fridge and was too cold to drink.  After letting it warm up a little, I took a sip and was surprised at what I found.  The nose was dominated by plastic and petrol.  Was I drinking a German Riesling?  There was also some lemon, and the nose was a little alcoholic.  A second pour much later continued to show lots of plastic, with enough ripeness and honey.  The palate was pretty well-balanced, but it was still a weird wine.  Not what I expected at all.

1996 Les Forts de Latour - classic claret nose of smoke, mint, sweet fruit and cedar... Very fragrant with a little rose and floral notes.

2001 Marcassin Pinot Noir Marcassin Vineyard - I'd be happy drinking any Marcassin wine on any given day, and this one was a winner.  Very sweet nose as expected, with a little pine needle, very fragrant - almost floral.  Pretty sweet on the palate but there was some acidity to balance it out.  A little alcoholic.

1996 René Engel Clos Vougeot en magnum - very open and beautiful nose, with farmy, toasty oak notes along with sweet, black fruits.

2003 Bouchard Corton-Charlemagne - kinda sweet, toasty with minerals and some popcorn.  Good balance between the acidity and ripeness.

2006 Catena Zapata Malbec Adriana Vineyard - really sweet fruit, a little ripe, with some forest, mint, coffee and vanilla.  Acidity was a bit high with reasonably soft tannins for a wine this young.

2006 Numanthia - funky nose, really alcoholic...so much that it burned my nostrils.  Pretty ripe and sweet, with coffee, smoke and coconut butter.  Surprisingly soft on the palate.

2004 Leroy Bourgogne - what a treat... the gang rushed for the bottle as soon as the cork was popped, and I managed to get the very last few drops.  Beautiful and explosive nose.  Smoky, farmy, a little sweet and floral, and slight acidity on the palate.  The wine was so ready it didn't need any time to aerate.  Our hostess was kind enough to bring out a second bottle since not everyone had enough of this.

Passopisciaro Bianco Dolce - a little ripe, grapey, honey, orange and botrytis.

1985 Noval - a little forest, ripe fruit, a little medicinal, medjool dates, a little nutty, preserved longan (桂圓), and alcoholic.  Naturally the port was sweet on the palate.  Very nice.

1996 Lignier Clos de la Roche - sweet, ripe, a little farmy and minty.  Very elegant and nice.

We kept racking up the bottle count, and there was one more bottle of 1999 Vogüe Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru that was opened.  Unfortunately, I was a little too far gone to partake in it.  Kinda dozed off on the couch there...  I called it a night and left most of the crowd to party on.

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