October 14, 2010

Bubble, crackle and pop

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I had a pretty busy evening as I ran around town trying to meet a couple of friends who are in town for business.  My first stop of the evening, though, was at a tasting of Krug Champagne hosted by a friend in her wine shop.  I had tasted all the wines at a dinner last year, but how could I turn down free bubbly, especially Krug?!

Krug Grande Cuvée - always my favorite wine at these tastings, since it is often the most mature of all the wines as it can contain 15-year-old reserve wines.  Beautifully fragrant, with plenty of toasted corn, a hint of caramel, lemon, yeast, and almost a little pipi de chat...  We would have this again as our fourth glass in the tasting.  What a wonderful wine.

1998 Krug Clos de Mesnil - once again I was blown away by how sweet the nose was... almost bubblegum-like, with sugarcane, dates, fairy strong caramel and toast.  Initially kinda weak on the palate.  With the second pour from a bottle on ice (and therefore colder) the acidity was sharper, and the wine was also much more powerful on the palate with a long finish.

1998 Krug - again I was surprised by the sweetness on the nose, which was also a little yeasty... almost like ma lai gou (馬拉糕)... a little bit of lemon and sharp acidity in the nose.  As was noted at last year's tasting, this was only the second ever vintage (since 1981) where Chardonnay was the dominant varietal in the blend.  This was clear from the sharper acidity on the palate compared to the Grande Cuvée.

Krug Rosé - the wine with the most limited production in the stable.  Again the nose was rather sweet, with floral and mineral notes.  More "fruity" with berry notes.

I left the tasting early as I was already a little buzzed, and headed across the harbor to meet a friend for dinner at Nobu.  I was never really a big fan, and once again there was no "wow factor".  I asked the waiter to check the items which we would have as part of the omakase, but the dishes didn't seem very exciting so we ordered à la carte.

Saga beef tacos - pretty disappointing.  The tacos were tiny and I could basically inhale them with one bite.  The corn tortillas were very nice as the flavors were very prominent.  I suppose the chef wanted to highlight the Saga beef (佐賀牛), so the cubes were only lightly seared and there wasn't much salsa to distract the taste buds.  The end result was fairy bland...

Roasted whole squid with Nobu genmai salsa - was a little surprised that this was served cold...but no matter.  The squid was alright, and the genmai salsa was al dente and typically astringent. 
Fish and chips Nobu style - we were wondering how this would be different from the regular stuff, and we figured it'd have to come down to the batter.  Sure enough... the batter was tempura-style  The fish was pretty juicy and succulent, but it was the wasabi mayo with chives that made the dish.  The other dip was nowhere as interesting.  The chips were a little too hard for my liking, and the powdered curry and green tea were too gimmicky for me.

Kagoshima pork loin with balsamic teriyaki sauce - by far my favorite dish of the evening, although to be honest the pork was overcooked and dry.  At least they used the nice pork with that strip of fat down one side, and the sauce was pretty yummy.  The accompanying veggies were pretty interesting.

I should have ordered the Suntory whisky cappuccino, but decided to go for Pop and corn: monaka corn ice cream, pop corn and corn soft drink.  I've always loved corn ice cream, and this was pretty cool.  The ice cream was in a crispy shell with a crunchy center.  The pop corn with caramel shell was good, too.  The "soft drink" left a little to be desired... it was like ground corn flour in liquid form... yes, there was the sweet corn taste, but too powdery and stuck to the back of my throat.

I left my friend at Nobu and headed off for a late drink with another friend at a nearby hotel, and decided to remain sober.  The drinking bit will come later this weekend...

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