December 29, 2010

Burgundies in Vogue

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Thanks to the face-off this evening, I arrived at the Specialist's home a whole 45 minutes late, a little buzzed.    The rest of the guests were already sipping the bubbly while the canapes have been laid out.  I quickly got down to business by opening my bottle and grabbed a flute.

I started with some raw oysters and gravlax from my favorite club in Hong Kong.  Thankfully the rest of the meal was home made... We were then served with a couple of crab cakes, which were curiously made with some diced sandwich ham.  These were pretty tasty.

I was surprised to see baked rice with pork chop (焗豬排飯) - a Cantonese favorite - on the menu tonight.  Very tasty stuff, and pummels the version mass produced by Cafe de Coral (大家樂) into a pulp.  The Specialist chided me for not plating it properly before snapping a shot.

The braised oxtail was not made with wagyu, but I didn't mind.  OK, so even after 2 days the meat wasn't exactly falling off the bone, but it was tender and tasty enough.  How could it not be when it was braised with a bottle of Côte-Rôtie?!  I decided to bite my tongue and refrained from asking for the identity of the producer.  This was a very sweet stew with all the carrots, and I had to have seconds.

I nibbled on some Mimolette and Comté Doux, passing up the Tête de Moine and aged Gouda.  There was a delicious angel cake, and I wished I could have had a huge slice of it.

The Specialist was very proud of her helper's madeleines, and this was a request from Dr. Poon.  They smelled wonderful... lots of butter and the fragrant orange blossom water.  These were a little more brown than I'm used to seeing, which meant the edges were playfully crunchy.  Taste-wise they were great, but I just wasn't a fan of the texture.  I like my madeleines fluffy and a little bit spongy.  These were a little wet and mushy in the center.  I was told to wait for them to cool down and dry up a little, so I took a second one some time later...but found only marginal improvement.  Oh well... the others seemed to like them.

Given the Specialist's penchant for Burgundy, we decided to bring some Grand Crus from the 80s and 90s.

Egly-Ouriet Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru - this is one of my absolute favorites when it comes to Champagne.  Made from 100% Pinot Noir, which clearly is the favorite varietal for our hostess!  Nose was caramelized, a little yeasty, and at the end of dinner it smelled a lot like Comté!  Dry mid-palate with a slightly sweet finish.  Got even drier with the briny flavors of oysters still in my mouth.

2003 Vogüé Bourgogne Blanc - this was declassified Musigny Blanc, with nose of minerals, toast and a hint of sharpness.  Actually a little ripe on the palate.

1996 Mommesin Clos de Tart - Rice called it "the cheapest monopole in Burgundy."  This was a bit sweet on the nose with minty notes.  Interestingly this appellation is just next to that of the next bottle...

1985 Vogüé Bonnes Mares - my contribution for the evening.  I realized Rice was around both times I chose to open this wine, but this particular bottle drank waaay better than the last one.  Didn't decant this bottle.  Really fragrant and floral, sweet and very elegant.  Nose of strawberries, rose, lovely fruit, a bit farmy, caramel and cashews.  Still going strong some 3 hours after opening.

1999 Dugat-Py Charmes Chambertin - fruity, sweet and still pretty concentrated.  Still kinda tannic.  This should continue to drink well for a number of years.

1995 Haut-Brion - smoky, brett, sweet fruit, a bit sharp, potpourri, mint, spruce, tea leaves, a little savory almost like soy sauce.

1977 Graham's - I've never been a fan of vintage port, because the alcohol in the nose is just too sharp and piercing.  This had a sharp and potent nose, with blackberries and pine needle.

I'm happy that the remainder of this evening turned out great... and kinda made me forget about losing the face-off earlier!

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