January 1, 2009

Another quiet new year's eve

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It's new year's eve, and I'm not in Taipei watching the fireworks at Taipei 101. I had a belated change of plans and needed to be back for work, so I ended up staying in Hong Kong without plans for year end. Fortunately I was taken in by good friends who invited me to their home for a quiet get together. There would be 7 of us in all.

My friend Mr. Ho is a pretty good cook, and I've been fortunate enough to be a guest at their house on many occasions. We would start with some terrine and foie gras paté, move on to the salad, and sample his seafood risotto. Mrs. Ho would bake us some brownies for a sweet finish.

Because there were quite a few of us - and this being new year's eve - we would end up having a good amount of alcohol...but what else is new?

2003 Beaucastel Blanc - I have always liked the wines made by the Perrins, and this is a really beautiful white wine. Nose of honey, minerals and pear. This was our pre-dinner wine.

1999 Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos Jebsal Selection de Grains Nobles - I remembered that Mr. and Mrs. Ho really enjoyed the Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris SGN during our meal at El Bulli, so I thought it would be a good idea to have this with the foie gras. Very sweet on the palate, with nose of marmalade, acetone and some floral notes. However I was a little disappointed with this, because I expected the nose to be more complex and blow me away. Oh well.

2004 Clos Dady - Mr. Ho opened this bottle of Sauternes as the SGN was running out. Nose of marmalade, honey and a bit of acetone. Not as sweet on the palate was the SGN.

1997 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay - I wanted to bring a nice bottle of white to go with the risotto, so I took this bottle that has been aging in my cellar for a few years. Turned out to be a great choice. Buttery nose with notes of oak, minerals, spices, orange and sweet grass. Color is now golden, and the nose just kept on giving...wonderful stuff.

1999 Clinet - one of the guests brought this bottle, which was drinking wonderfully. Telltale nose of brett, smoke, sweet fruit and lots of bacon, with some mint and slightly alcoholic. Still reasonably tannic on the palate, but what a wine!

2005 Torbreck the Bothie - this nice little Muscat that Mr. Ho brought out was perfect with the dessert. It reminds me of the Muscat de Baumes-De-Venise from Rhone, with its telltale lychee nose, and makes perfect sense given David Powell's lineup of Rhone varietals. The boys hung out on the balcony after dinner for cigars and some nice Cognac.

Mr. Ho very kindly shared with us some of his 1976 Cognac made in Petite Champagne, given to him by his parents. It has a nice little story behind it, and is the third time ever that I've actually liked Cognac (incidentally all within 2008).

We toasted in the new year with a bottle of 2000 Dom Perignon, which I still think is a really good wine given the quantity it is produced in. It capped off a really good evening, and I hope that everyone will have a very good 2009!

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