November 6, 2010

Acker Hong Kong XI: part 1

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Back at another Acker auction after missing the last one.  Since I'm an occasional customer and by no means a big fish, I found myself sitting in the back of the room.  This means instead of getting the choice wines served to me, I got the run-of-the-mill stuff.

I passed on the 1995 Haut-Marbuzet and wait for something better.  1995 Ducru-Beaucaillou showed up and was certainly better.  Nose of mint, cigar smoke and fruit.  Initially OK on the palate, then turned pretty funky and a little nasty.  A second bottle drank better, with noticeable floral perfume in the nose on top of the sweet fruit.

My friend John very kindly came over and offered me a glass of 1933 Bouchard Beaune 1er Cru.  I had no expectations for this wine, and was pleasantly surprised by the nose of salty plum, smoke, grilled meats, beef jerky and a hint of herbs.  Smooth but not watery and light.

2005 Hervé Roumier Clos Vougeot - I guess I'm more familiar with Georges Roumier... minty, sharp, reasonable amount of fruit...but not great.

1999 Armand Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Beze - smoky, earthy and peppery.  Decent amount of fruit underneath but needs time for the smoke cover to dissipate.

Prices continue to reach stupid levels, although not to the levels seen last week at the Sotheby's auction.  Hammer prices continue to exceed estimates when it comes to Lafite, although there seemed to be a lot less of it this time around.  The multi-vintage verticals of Bordeaux First Growths weren't very popular as they were offered later in the evening, and went for prices below estimates.

The Acker auctions continue to be long and increasingly painful for me to sit through.  John's pace isn't very fast when he's in Hong Kong, and the pace seem almost snail-like when Gil is wielding the hammer while trying to impress us with his Cantonese.  I felt like pulling my hair out while waiting in between lots I wanted to bid on.

And what's up with these guys hiring a bunch of (mostly European) leng mos (靚模) as spotters?  Other than looking tall and (somewhat) pretty in very short skirts - one showed up in a very revealing dress looking like a Mainland hooker - they weren't very useful.  Some of them weren't in position, and those who were didn't really do their jobs of pointing out bidders who had raised their paddles.  My friend who works for a large auction house made one comment: "Cheap".

In the end I did pick up a few lots, although none of them were the birth vintages I had originally set my sights on.  I even wore a long-sleeved UNICEF shirt in my lucky yellow, matching the color of the auction catalog... but no dice.  Oh well... At least I can console myself with some 1990 Amoureuses...

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