November 29, 2017

Week of drunkenness: Sine Qua Non toast, part 3

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Roughly 6 months after our last gathering, our organizer once again rallied the troops for another tasting of Sine Qua Non wines.  Originally we had been promised seats at the tasting organized for the Hong Kong Wine Society tomorrow night, but as there was unexpectedly high interest and most of us aren't members, we were not able to join.

Undaunted, we decided to do our own gathering tonight - meaning that our organizer would be doing back-to-back all Sine Qua Non nights.  We agreed that we would bring out the "big guns" - meaning that wines had to be rare and generally older and more mature.  Beefbar was chosen as the venue, and we took the private room.

A menu was set up, and we decided to add a little extra, too.

Pan fried langoustine with Jerusalem artichokes and lemon - this was pretty decent, and I was surprised by the crust on top of the langoustine.  The Jerusalem artichoke purée delivered some nice sweetness, which worked well with the lemon zest.

Kobe mini burger with paprika and sesame seed sauce - I normally dislike these burgers made with fatty beef, but this was not bad as there wasn't much melted beef fat dripping down as I bit into the burger.  The sauce had a nice, spicy kick to it. 

Signature kale salad

Homemade sea urchin tagliolini - this was very, very good.  The sauce was rich and thick, and incredibly delicious.  Also came with a spicy kick that gradually built up and got my tongue tingling as I finished.

Homemade tagliolini with white truffle - we decided to add another portion of pasta so that we could have some white truffle shaved on top.  Just beautiful!

American Prime "Black Angus" rib-eye cap - this was very, very tender and quite tasty.  Good amount of charring on the outside. 

Australian "Wagyu-crossbred" bone-in rib-eye strip - compared to the American Black Angus, this had a strip of fat down one side, and in fact turned out to be much more chewy in terms of texture.  I preferred the USDA Prime.

Mashed potato

Creamy spinach

Chocolate cake, salted pine nuts and cream cheese ice cream - not bad.

But the focus tonight was all on the wines.  The 8 of us would open 10 different bottlings - or the equivalent of 9 bottles of wine.  Given the alcohol levels of most of these bottles, I knew well ahead of time that I would be pretty toast by the end of the evening...

2009 Sine Qua Non Packin' Rosy - 70% grenache, 16% syrah, 14% roussanne.  15.5% alcohol. A little pungent at first, with lots of toast and plenty of cool fruit.  10 minutes later showing more sweet fruit, with tons of strawberries like a young Rayas, or a young pinot.  Really ripe and hot on the palate.

1997 Sine Qua Non Twisted and Bent - 60% roussanne and 40% chardonnay.  14% alcohol. Rich and mature now, with sweet grass, a little acetone, and a hint of polyurethane.  Beautiful and fragrant.  Totally awesome with straw notes.  45 minutes later the nose was full of sugarcane and vanilla.  1 hour 15 minutes after opening it smelled like cotton candy.  2 hours 15 minutes after opening the wine was just sooo buttery.  Fantastic!

2012 Sine Qua Non Pearl Clutcher - 100% chardonnay.  15.3% alcohol.  Showing beautifully 15 minutes after pouring... toasty and stunning.  40 minutes after it showed a little American ginseng.  1 hour 25 minutes after there was this huge, amazing, toasty nose.  Fucking awesome!  2 hours after it showed like a Kistler chardonnay, with lots of popcorn.

2001 Sine Qua Non Midnight Oil - 96% syrah, 2.5% grenache, 1.5% viognier.   14.9% alcohol.  Served 1 hour 20 minutes after opening, and already beautiful, sweet, with nice oak.  Almost metallic, with vanilla, a little dried herbs, and forest pine.

1999 Sine Qua Non The Marauder - 100% syrah.  14.9% alcohol.  Served 2 hours 50 minutes after opening.  Lovely but still needed a little more time.  Pretty smooth on the palate now.  3 hours 20 minutes after minty notes came out, but one could still smell the alcohol.  3 hours 30 minutes after, more cedar and woodsy notes showed up, and at 4 hours 10 minutes a hint of burnt rubber came out.

1998 Sine Qua Non E-raised - "predominantly syrah, with a spritz of viognier and a dash of grenache".  14% alcohol.  1 hour after opening there was still plenty of iron, with eucalyptus, really sweet fruit, a hint of leather, and some smoke.  1½ hours later the wine was beautiful.

2003 Sine Qua Non The Inaugural Syrah - 97% syrah, 3% viognier.  15.8% alcohol.  2 hour after opening the nose was soooo big and fragrant, woodsy, so alcoholic it was singeing my nose hairs... So ripe, but sooo fucking good!  2 hour 40 minutes after opening the wine was beautiful, a little smoky, so concentrated, and the alcohol was still burning my nose hairs.  3 hours 40 minutes after some coffee notes showed up.

2004 Sine Qua Non Poker Face - 96% syrah, 2.5% mourvedre, 1.5% viognier.  15.5% alcohol.  2 hours after opening it was showing a hint of grass, but still ripe and sweet.  I briefly wondered whether it was lightly corked, but perhaps not.  Very smooth on the palate, but the tannins were still there.  A little smoky, too.

2006 Sine Qua Non To The Rescue Roussanne - 100% roussanne.  10.5% alcohol.  Honey, grapey, honeydew melon, acetone, and polyurethane. 

2001 Mr. K The Noble Man - 100% chardonnay.  11.3% alcohol.  Richer on the palate, nutty, more honeydew melon, more marmalade.  Sweeter with more depth.  Beautiful.

What an incredible evening!  Every single bottle of wine tonight was showing well, and more than a few were simply stunning!  It's rare to have a chance to taste some many of the older bottlings together, and this was certainly one of the best tastings I've participated in this year.  Now I look forward to our next gathering... hopefully I wouldn't have to wait till next November!

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