January 3, 2009

Vega Sicilia vertical

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Tonight was our MNSC annual dinner, and we pulled out all the stops for this. Both organizers (for food and wine) did a tremendous job to make this an evening to remember. The venue was Yung's Club (嚐真), which is on the 8th floor of the Yung Kee Building. Here's the menu for the evening:

Millenarian lobster salad a la Hong Kong (風雲際會邁千禧) - with a name right out of the popular Hong Kong kungfu comic 風雲, this is actually a version of the popular Singaporean dish 撈魚生. Shredded veggies, lobster, pomelo and tortilla-like chips give this a very interesting texture.

Then came the three appetizers:

Deep-fried scallops (椒鹽釀帶子) - very nice and the outside crust is fluffy, while the flesh was sweet and had the springy consistency of very fresh scallops.

Smoked marinated layer pork (松子雲霧肉) - the smoky flavor is actually pretty heavy, and the fatty layers were just so delish... It's cholesterol city but waddaya gonna do abouddit...

Pan-fried goose liver sausage (香煎鵝肝腸) - no, this is not pan-fried foie gras, although it's certainly a different take using the same ingredients. I'm a huge fan of liver sausage, and this is a great example of why I love this stuff.

Fatty charred char siu (肥窿叉燒) - I always thought this was one of the best char siu in town...

Roast goose with mushrooms and fungus (家鄉鵝) - really, really good roast goose...this is gotta be the goose that Yung Kee is famous for. The black fungus is also pretty nice.

Double-boiled sharks fin soup with crab pincer (高湯蟹臂包翅) - can't say enough for how good this is...the stock is just wonderful, and the addition of the crab meat is a nice touch.

Braised goose web with dried giant grouper skin (龍躉皮炆鵝掌皇) - the goose web is never disappointing, and the dried garoupa skin - from one of those giants - adds an interesting element due to its texture.

Steamed giant labird (清蒸蘇眉) - this Napoleon wrasse was a pretty large fish, and it's so fresh and in great condition (tail was in perfect shape). This was steamed perfectly, and the flesh was soooo tender...probably the best steamed fish I've had in some time.

Rice in lobster soup (龍蝦頭爪泡飯) - this is pretty interesting, with a consistency somewhere between Cantonese congee and Japanese ochazuke (お茶漬け).

Finally we have two little steamed dumpling with mini crab roe (禮云子粉果) on the side. Nice with the fresh prawns inside.

I was full after the sharks fin, and was bursting after the steamed fish. There really was too much food tonight, but to be honest this is probably the best Cantonese meal I've had in the past 12 months.

As the title says, we had a vertical of Vega Silicia Unico tonight. What is amazing is that of the 7 vintages tonight, the 1970 (which I have served twice including once this year) was the youngest!

1942 Unico - sweet nose with strawberry bubblegum, preserved plum notes. It was a bit acidic on the palate at first, but later on it also tasted like preserved plums (話梅) with licorice (甘草). 93 points.

1967 Unico - very sweet nose with a bit of smoked meats and mint. Acidic on the palate at first, but with some grippy tannins at the same time. 94 points.

1957 Unico - very sweet nose with prominent bacon and grilled meat notes. A bit medicinal but a wonderful wine. Still pretty full-bodied on the palate. 94 points.

1962 Unico - a bit plasticky and alcoholic. Nose is sweet buta bit chalky. 92 points.

1964 Unico -Very sweet nose with a bit of smoked meats, and strong notes of stone and gravel, a bit flinty and steely. 94 points.

1953 Unico - lots of caramel, vanilla and mocha notes enveloping the core of sweet fruits. A bit chalky. Very awesome and my wine of the evening. 96 points.

1970 Unico - a real shame because this wine did not have enough time to open up, as we finished the dinner earlier than expected. There was some sweet fruit but it was still pretty closed.

This was quite an eye-opener. One may get to taste older vintages of Unico from time to time, but I never expected to be able to do such a vertical of these older vintages, especially when you consider that there were only 12,000 or 25,000 bottles made of some of these vintages. I'm sure the chances of finding more bottles of these old wines are pretty slim...

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