November 18, 2007

A very good dinner in Taipei

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I hosted a dinner in Taipei with current and potential investors, many of whom are friends of mine. The restaurant was Forchetta, a new place that has gotten some good reviews lately from friends.

There were nine of us, and understandably we would get a bit loud and rowdy, although honestly I think we were mostly well behaved. We were seated at the front of the restaurant, and half of us had a good view of the deck outside through the floor-to-ceiling windows. The food was fairly good at the restaurant, although a little heavy on the spice (black pepper and chili) to go with the wines.

We started with lightly seared scallops, thinly sliced and topped with uni and lemon foam. This was paired with 2001 Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru "Caillerets", a smooth and delicious wine. I really loved the buttery nose and the minerals.

The next course was la grenouille paired with a cup of consommé. We paired this with 2001 Joseph Drouhin Chassagne-Montrachet. This village wine had a more complex and heavy nose, with minerals, smoke peat. But as a drinking wine, especially with food, I preferred the Pillot. Unfortunately there was a bit too much black pepper in the consomme and it detracted from the wine.

We had the 1999 Claude Dugat Gevrey-Chambertin with the prawns, but the dressing was a bit spicy for my taste. The wine was pretty good but a tad expensive for a village wine, a function of both the vintage and the producer. Lots of minerals on the nose.

The table next to us was having ham, so we asked for an extra plate of it. Each of us got 2 slices of jamón ibérico that the restaurant/supplier smuggled in (since they didn't go through customs). Unfortunately we didn't have sherry so we made do with the 1990 Certan de May. My friend Victor loved it so much (he's a Bordeaux lover so this is not a surprise) that he immediately called up the owner of the wine shop where I had bought the wine, and wanted to order 2 cases!

We had a small serving of angle hair pasta with chili, black pepper...etc. It was nicely done and delicious, but, again it doesn't work with the wine. For this we had something heavier - 1994 Dominus. This was supposed to be a classic - probably the best Dominus ever. However it is also famous for bottle variation and this one was not quite as good as I had hoped. But the nose was pretty sweet with caramel a bit of tropical fruit.

The main course (either beef ribeye or lamb chops) was paired with the 1985 Stag's Leap Cask 23. This is a legendary wine, and probably the favorite vintage of Warren Winiarski, Stag's Leap's owner. I had the pleasure of tasting through a vertical of Cask 23 with Warren in 2000 in Singapore, and I loved the '85 back then.

This time I had bought 2 bottles from the wine shop, and the shop had sent the whole batch of wines to the restaurant. I meant to open ony 1 bottle for dinner and take the other bottle home. Before dinner, I called ahead to the restaurant and asked them to open all the reds. Unfortunately this meant that the spare bottle of the '85 Cask 23 was also among the opened bottles....anyway. The nose was pretty amazing, and I really had no regrets of buying the wine. Of course it had more than 2 decades to age, so it has now developed nicely.

We had soufflé for dessert, and finished it off with the 1996 Chateau Guiraud. Not a bad effort with typical tangerine and caramel on the nose.

Pretty drunk by the end as we had split 8 bottles between the 9 of us....

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