April 16, 2008

A casual wine dinner

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Tonight I got together with a few friends for a long-awaited dinner to taste some good wines. We chose Cuisine Cuisine as the venue, to have some Chinese food with the wines for a change. Menu for the evening:

We started with蜜餞叉燒皇 which was pretty good and more classic than the char siu I had the night before at Yung Kee. But I think the Yung Kee version was probably more impressive.

As with last night, 脆皮燒腩仔was also on the menu, which was pretty good and fatty.

避風塘鱈魚粒 - now here is a very tasty dish involving cubes of fried cod covered under a bed of deep-fried shredded cod and garlic. Highly recommended.

The restaurant was trying to be creative with蜜汁玉子魚柳卷, but I was not very impressed with the effort. The蒜香頭油脆皮雞was very good with crispy garlic flavored skins and tender meat.

The 桂花脆鱔球 was interestingly presented on the plate, but taste was only OK. We also had a plate of kai lan (芥蘭) which was pretty decent. To round out the selection, we were recommended to take the 咖喱牛坑腩煎米粉,another creative dish that actually worked for me. Josa the eager waitress set us up with complimentary desserts and fruit to finish off the evening.

Of course the main event was the wine, and there were four bottles for the evening. We started with the 1985 Rayas Blanc - a really nice, mature Rhone with a little chalky, moldy nose that reminded me of a Sauternes. There was also a slight hint of acetone. Delicious, full-bodied wine but the finish was a little short.

We decanted the bottle of 1995 Olivier Leflaive Montrachet to speed up the aeration process. It's not everyday that one breaks open a bottle of Montrachet, so expectations were high. When we first started tasting the wine, it was still a bit tight, but already the sweet, grassy nose was showing along with sweet corn. There were also the classic flinty, mineral notes. As the evening progressed, the wine opened up further and was drinking very nicely when we finished the last drops at the end of the dinner.

The 1990 Hubert de Montille Volnay 1er Cru Les Taillepieds was quite a surprise. The first whiff produced a nose of stewed prunes and I was a bit skeptical. But as time went on, I began to really love this wine, with nose of sweet red fruits and classic smoke. The wine was smooth on the palate and a medium finish. Not bad at all for a Volnay.

The last wine of the evening was the 2002 Chave Hermitage Rouge. Now it's very, very early days to be drinking a wine from this vintage. The powerful nose with an explosion of minerals, particularly iron which reminds me of blood, was a bit too sharp at first. This wine really needs time to age in the bottle to mellow out. As time went on, floral notes emerged in the nose. Now this was a real surprise, since this is normally what we expect of Cote-Roties with Viognier blended in, but we are talking about Hermitage! This is 100% Syrah so where did the floral nose come from? It remains a mystery to us, but what I do know is that I love this wine. It needs another 5 years of bottle age, but I am going to go out and buy a case of this baby and lay it down.

This really was a great evening - four very enjoyable wines that we don't get to drink everyday. Looking forward to our next gathering...


b said...

Saw on your facebook profile that you are an SAS alumni. I just graduated from there last year! I really like your blog, I also love trying all the good food places in hk!

Peech said...

Thanks! You just graduated last year?! OMG you are a young 'un! Now I feel really old...


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