October 6, 2007

Drinking a very special wine with dad

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I flew in to Taipei today for a dinner with my parents, on the occasion of dad's birthday. We all knew that Typhoon Krosa was coming towards Taiwan with a vengeance and that I could be stuck in Taipei, but it's a chance I had to take.

As usual the venue for dinner was Paris 1930 at the Ritz Landis Hotel. They have one of the best chefs in town for French cuisine (if not the best), and I have been celebrating special events there for the last few years. We chose from the special menus and I was not disappointed. The chef was pretty creative, and the use of foam and other light touches were employed.

The main event, of course, was the wine. I had brought in the last of the 2 bottles of 1940 Haut Brion that I purchased a few years ago, and we drank it even though I knew it was suffering from bottle shock. Unfortunately I didn't have the foresight to bring it in on an earlier trip to Taiwan and it only had 4 days of rest after being knocked around in a checked-in luggage.

The nose was reminiscent of the last bottle that we drank, and of the other older wines from similar era. The fruit was still there, but this time the "preserved plums" was very evident. Mom loved this wine. I have never seen her so eager to drink anything with alcohol as she did tonight. She commented that this was "her type of wine" because she liked the acidity and the maturity.

Since we drank the wine without decanting (for fear of the wine collapsing in the decanter), the wine was fairly acidic on the palate at the beginning. Of course we knew mom really, really liked all types of Chinese preserved plums so this is definitely up her alley. As aeration occurred in the bottle, the tannins gathered strengh and the acidity faded on the palate. This, of course, meant that mom enjoyed the wine less as time went on.

Since the wine had been knocked around a little and we didn't decant it (hence no chance to run it thru the usual coffee filter), it was fairly cloudy. As we neared the bottom, I stopped pouring because we were obviously going to get the sediement. Wouldn't you believe it, mom insisted on emptying the bottle! She waited until the sediment had time to settle in the glass, then drank the clear (if you can call it that) wine in one quick swoop before the sediment had time to move.

It's been a while since the 3 of us had such an enjoyable meal together. I'm glad we had the occasion to do this and to taste such a special wine. Now I look forward to buying more wines from dad's vintage, and also to mom's birthday next year when we drink a bottle from her vintage!

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