January 4, 2015

Taste-off dinner

Pin It

In the 11 years or so that MNSC has been running our blind-tasting format, we've had a couple of instances with two people tied for last place - necessitating a "taste-off" - but we've never had a tie for first place... until 2014.  As Dr. Poon and Lord Rayas ended the year with exactly the same score, we needed to hold a tasting to determine the ultimate winner.  We took the opportunity to kick off the year with a "spot tasting" where each of us would bring a bottle according to a theme - going back to the original format of our gatherings.

As I've never had the opportunity to have dinner at Duddell's, I suggested that we do our dinner there.  I figured that going there with the boss certainly couldn't hurt!

We kicked off the evening with a pair of young Bordeaux which had garnered perfect scores from wine critics.  It was a tough tasting, as the wines were simply too young to extract much information which could differentiate them - even after being in decanters for more than 2 hours.  We were initially accused of serving the champions-to-be supermarket wines...

2010 Pontet-Canet en demi-bouteille - very young, alcoholic, ripe, jammy, with a little leather.  Very tannic, naturally.

2010 Vieux-Château-Certan en demi-bouteille - nose was more open than the Pontet, with cedar notes and a softer palate.  Tasted even better with the second pour, and was definitely sweeter on palate.

After the taste-off was done and the winner determined, it was finally time to get some food in our bellies!

Fried fish maw with egg and fresh crab meat (鮮蟹肉桂花炒魚肚) - I'm glad to see that this dish was made with fish maw in lieu of shark's fin, although given the restaurant's clientele I suspect having shark's fin on the menu would have drawn some flak.

This was pretty good, but could have done with a little more wok hei (鑊氣)...

Wok-fried fresh prawn with fish sauce (香露乾煎海中蝦) - it's been a while since I last had prawns done this way, and I loved them.  However, I did wonder why the tip of my tongue was tingling - usually a sign that I've taken in MSG - until I looked at the menu again and saw that this was done with fish sauce instead of soy sauce.  I guess it's the umami in the sauce...

Steamed star garoupa (清蒸海東星) - just over 2 catties.  Perfect execution.  Wonderfully soft, and one can taste the freshness.  The only problem was that there was a slight hint of muddiness...

Pan fried Iberico pork loin with scallion (香蔥煎西班牙黑豚肉) - my least favorite dish of the evening.  The pork was a little on the lean and tough side, although the seasoning was good.  It may be "Iberico pork", but I wasn't able to taste any difference...

Roasted baby pigeon (紅燒BB乳鴿) - oh this was just too damn good!  The baby pigeon had wonderfully crispy skin, and as I gnawed on the pieces between my fingers, I could taste the glistening fat between the skin and the flesh.  I could have had another couple of these... if only I had the stomach space.  Curiously, the pigeon was flavored with ginger - which I certainly didn't expect.

Poached pea shoot with garlic in supreme soup (上湯蒜子浸豆苗) - very nice, and I enjoyed drinking the superior soup.

Casserole rice with air-dried meat (臘味煲仔飯) - old fashioned table-side service, with our captain heating up a claypot to make sure we get a nice, lightly charred layer of rice crispies.  Of course you gotta have the preserved meats, and these looked wonderful.

Loved the rice crispies.  Add a little bit of viscous sweet soy sauce, and voila!

Baked sago pudding with lotus seed paste (蓮蓉西米焗布甸) - pretty interesting, and I found myself inhaling this even though my stomach was on the verge of bursting...  There was also a sesame paste bun (蔴蓉包) in the middle, as well as a yummy coconut and pumpkin pudding (椰汁南瓜布甸) on the right.

The theme for tonight's tasting was mature Burgundies (pre-2000) under a certain budget.  The wines were given to the sommelier, who organized them into flights and served to us blind.

First flight:
2000 Méo-Camuzet Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Au Cros Parantoux - very nice, cleaner on palate but a little more stinky on the nose, with a little orange.  Opened 1½ prior to serving.

1996 Domaine Leroy Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Beaux Monts - really ripe and sweet, beautiful, more voluptuous, more floral.  A little more tannic.

Second flight:
1988 DRC Échézeaux - a little leaner than the 1996.

1996 DRC Grands Échézeaux - rich with sweet fruit, floral notes, really lovely.

Third flight:
1971 Maison Leroy Echezeaux - a little smoky with some sweet fruit, nice and light on the palate.

1971 Bouchard Musigny - nose of Chinese medicine, animal, and leather.  Nice and richer than the Echezeaux.

1983 Armand Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Beze - sooooo sweet on the nose, with honeydew melon, a little banana that reminds me of paint thinner like banana oil (香蕉水).  Was this really a Pinot?!

This was a very good evening... the food was pretty good overall, and we had a great lineup of wines.  I'm very much looking forward to our next gathering... at a local claypot rice restaurant!

P.S. Our outgoing secretary proposed that starting from this year, instead of having the last four finishers foot the bill for our annual dinner, we donate our dinner budget (a not-inconsiderable-sum for a meal) to a charity chosen by that year's champion.  The losers will still be penalized, but they will instead be donating to charity while the cost of the annual dinner will be shared by everyone.

That was a fantastic proposal, and everyone readily agreed.   In the fifteenth year of its existence, MNSC will no longer be just be a bunch of boys indulging in expensive wines and fine dining... We will collectively give back to society, in addition to whatever efforts we are already making as individuals.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you all for your contributions. Where would we be without them?


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map