January 22, 2013

George and Willy

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OK, so despite having declared myself to be staying away from all the "tapas bar fad" that's taken Hong Kong by storm, this is now my third entry to a Spanish establishment this month…  But tonight's venue was not my choice… It was chosen as the venue for this wine dinner by the importer.  And it just so happens that for one reason or another, somehow I have never managed to pay a visit to FoFo by el Willy.  Tonight I finally got my chance.

The first time I met George Levkoff was at a similar dinner around this time of the year 2 years ago, organized by my friend who imports his wines.  George is a really cool dude, and his story is one that many would be envious of, including myself.  Here's a guy who left a career in finance - and I know lots of my friends have been pondering this move - and went on to do something that he's passionate about.  He knew nothing about winemaking, and dropped everything to start that career in his forties.  He didn't care if people laughed in his face, but persisted until he got a job at a winery.  That takes real cojones.

It was good to see him again, and I'm glad to see that his business has expanded to about 10 times of its original size.  It does amaze me, though, that it's still a one-man show…  Other than the grape-picking on harvest days, he literally does everything himself.  At least he's man enough to admit to being a control freak…

The evening started with some bubbly on the rooftop.  The Anna Spinato Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Extra Dry was elegant and subtle, with nose of green apple, flint and minerals.

Pan con tomate - a little tomato but not too much.  The olive oil really came through.

Selection of montaditos:
Foie gras mi cuit - pretty nice, with a little salt to bring out the sweetness of the foie.  A little apple and quince.

Iberico ham - a yummy piece of jamón ibérico on a piece of pan con tomate. Is there anything better?

Smoked salmon - with truffle cream cheese providing a nice little bit of acidity.

Iberico ham croquettes - can't go wrong with croquetas… even without throwing jamón into the equation.

2009 George Pinot Noir Sonoma Coma - metallic minerals, minty, sweet fruit, leather, grape stems and forest notes.  The fruit was ripe but not overdone, rather cool.

Snapper ceviche with confit piquillos, roast nuts and beetroot - kinda interesting… I guess I was expecting ceviche to have a little more acidity.  The hazelnuts were interesting and added crunchy texture to something that was otherwise very smooth.  The beetroot sorbet was not bad at all.

2009 George Pinot Noir Ceremonial Vineyard - Dijon clone grapes are sourced from the Martinelli family, from a vineyard near an apple orchard.  A little bit higher in alcohol.  A little sweet on the nose, with tangerine, a little mint and forest.  An elegant wine showing finesse.

Truffle linguine egg yolk and black truffle - black truffle is always welcome, and would always work well with a little pasta.  I did think, though, that the linguine was a little overcooked…

2009 George Pinot Noir Martaella Vineyard + King Family Vineyard - an all-Pommard clone blend of 60% Martaella and 40% King Family, due to the small yield of the vintage.  Nose of tangerine, ripe fruit, metallic minerals, a little sharp, a little forest and some leather here.  Light-bodied.

Iberico pork secreto, potato and black truffle gratin, rocket salad - we were surprised by the size of the portion, but I was a pretty happy man.  This was some seriously rich-flavored pork!  Really intense flavors.  Some people might find it a little strong, but I was relishing it...

2009 George Pinot Noir Leras Family Vineyard - a little more minty and forest notes here.  Sweet and pretty ripe on the nose.

Slow cooked Wagyu beef and wild mushroom rice - the beef was naturally nice and tender, and how does one go wrong with mushroom risotto, especially when you're drinking Pinot?  The risotto was not bad, although there was still a gap with what comes out of Bombana's kitchen...

2009 George Pinot Noir Hansen Vineyards - definitely very farmy, typical nose of cow manure, metallic, salty blue cheese.  No question that the nose is influenced by the 300 cows grazing near the vineyard.  With no disrespect to George, I told him again that his wine smelled like shit, but it was definitely good shit!

Churros with vanilla ice-cream and chocolate sauce - how do I say no to churros?!  After a pretty big meal, I still managed to have three of these… Muahahahahaha!

I must say that I had a very good time… It's always good to be drinking George's wines, and I'm glad I had a chance to try out the delicious food at FoFo.  I hope to see George on his next trip back to Hong Kong…next year...

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