September 12, 2010

Palate fatigue

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I was exhausted today. The long dinner, the wines, and the late-night ferry ride back to Hong Kong took a lot out of me. For the first time, I was dreading an MNSC gathering and wished I didn't have to attend. But I dragged my ass uphill to the Jockey Club anyway...

Lord Rayas played host tonight and booked a function room so we didn't have to abide by the dress code of the Derby Room. The club have themselves a new chef, and it would be our first time sampling his cuisine. Knowing my strong dislike for blind tastings, Lord Rayas also intended to reveal the identities of the wines quickly, to allow us the pleasure of appreciating the wines without the pressure of guessing.  The menu was designed entirely with red wines in mind.

I arrived a little late and got to have the last slice - literally - of jamón from Joselito. Apparently Lord Rayas ordered it as a result of the SCMP article a few days ago...

Surprisingly we went full-steam ahead with the first course, taking down roasted pork belly, red wine reduction, spider crab, rocket. There wasn't a whole lot of skin, which was a little disappointing to me. The meat was tender, although the lean meat at the bottom wasn't as soft as I'd like.

Fricassée of frog's legs, scallops and vea sweetbreads, Madeira jus, green asparagus, grapes - kinda interesting, yet I wonder if this was just too many ingredients being thrown together? The scallops were good but definitely not red wine friendly. The frog legs were pretty good, and the sweetbreads were nicely browned but somehow I wish they were a little creamier.  The bits of bacon were very, very yummy...

Slow cooked foie gras, beetroot reduction, cherry purée, toasted almonds, tea jelly - one of the sweetest versions of foie I can remember.  Nicely done.  Not sure the almonds were needed but the cherries on the side were great.

Roasted Boston lobster, red wine jus, celery, leek, Parmesan compote - roasting makes the lobster meat a little chewier, but I appreciated the flavors from the process.  The celery, leek and cheese combination at the bottom was pretty yummy.  The funniest quote of the evening has got to be from Dayliao, who blurted something along the lines of :"This was lobster, yeah?"

Seared sea bass, port wine essence, white bean purée, artichoke, Perigord black truffle - I must say the chef did a very good job with the sea bass, as the skin was soooo perfectly browned.  The fragrance of the truffles was very obvious, and I inhaled that purée...

Australian Black Angus "cote de bœuf", sauce bordelaise, roasted shallots, sautéed potatoes and bone marrow - by this time I've hit against the wall... my exhaustion and consumption of the previous courses have taken their toll, and I barely managed to finish one slice of the beef.  The beef itself was reasonably tasty, as were the greens on the side.  The best part, of course, was the bone marrow...

No cheese or dessert for me.  I didn't even take my usual espresso for digestion, as I simply didn't have space...

There was a lot of wine, which I couldn't finish due to the physical condition I was in, but they were pretty enjoyable.

I only got to take a couple of sips of the 1990 Krug. The nose was oxidized, with candied pineapple, straw and marmalade notes. Acidity was fairly high.

1971 Cheval Blanc - smoky, minty, a little salty - almost like soy sauce, and a little sweet, with gamey, grilled meats.  92 points.

1971 Voguë Musigny Vieilles Vignes - kinda funky at first, definitely sweet like cherries.  Very smooth, light and thin on the body.  94 points.

1978 Vieux Telegraphe - nose was very Rhone-liked, with ripe, almost stewed fruits.  Kinda became muted after a while in the glass.  92 points.

1978 DRC Echezeaux - I don't mind wines with oxidation, since I love drinking Madeira and Tawny Ports.  But this was way too oxidized for most people's liking.  The nose was sweet, nutty and ripe, while the palate was dry.  This was purchased off the Jockey Club's wine list, and we asked Leo to waive the charge for this bottle.

1978 Solaia - Lord Rayas ordered this bottle after the DRC was taken back by the Club.  Minty, funky, a little chalky with some caramel.  94 points.  An enjoyable wine but far from the one I tasted at the Solaia vertical...

1990 La Dominique - I can say that with more than 10 years of wine tasting under my belt, this was the very first red wine where I could smell nothing but lobster bisque.  Yes, lobster bisque!  And Dayliao concurred with me on this.  At first I thought it was soy sauce or tomalley, but then I've been having so much lobster lately that it hit me...  There were also some ripe prunes in the nose.  85 points.

1990 Troplong Mondot - very alcoholic, a little salty, and...I don't believe it!...also a hint of lobster bisque.  I think my sensory organs must be suffering a complete breakdown... or my neurons just shorted and got completely rewired...  90 points.

1990 Angelus - most certainly the wine of the evening for most of us.  Lovely nose of grass, a little potpourri, a bit smoky and some coffee grinds.    96 points.

I was over the edge, and wanted to go home and sleep.  Alexandre was already nodding off at the table.  So we called it a night, and I rolled back downhill and promptly hit the sack...

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