December 20, 2010

Margaux vertical

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Juliano very generously hosted another MNSC dinner tonight at Wagyu Kaiseki Den.  It's been more than 6 months since my last visit, so I was pretty happy to have a chance to return.

Grilled dried puffer fish

Chicken wing - not a bad way to start.

前菜: wagyu tartar; taraba kani, uni, caviar with goma sauce, jelly - the wagyu tartar was nice with the sauce.  The combination of sweet crab meat and sea urchin with the salty caviar was interesting. 

蒸し物: shirako, maitake, aona, ponzu - my foodie friends know of my general distaste for shirako (白子), particularly because my first introduction to fish sperm was in its raw state...  This version has been poached so the texture was somewhat different, and I must admit that eating the entire contents in one mouthful - with ponzu jelly and the accompanying vegetables - wasn't bad.  It's just one of those things where if you didn't know what it was, you'd be fine eating it. 

寿司: chef's selection sushi - how can anyone complain about sushi made with raw, marbled Japanese beef and white truffle shavings?

造り: chef's selection sashimi; wagyu sashimi - very fresh fish, and of course the raw wagyu just melted in my mouth...

焼物: akamutsu, karasumi mochi, myouga - rosy sea bass (赤鯥) was pretty tender and tasty, but the surprise was the mochi (もち) filled with bottarga (カラスミ) filling... very tasty.  There was a little piece of myoga ginger (茗荷) as well as a seasonal chestnut.

炊物: gyu tan, daikon, nanohana, yuzukosho - the piece of beef tongue was soooo soft and tender - the definition of melt-in-your-mouth, as someone remarked.  The radish was delicious, and the yuzukosho (柚子胡椒) was indeed spicy as the waitress warned. 

主菜: charcoal grilled wagyu - each of us was served a 6 oz. piece of wagyu that Juliano bought through the restaurant.  The beef wobbled as my knife cut through it, and the marbling just gave it so much flavor.  Wow!  It's been a while since my last big piece of Japanese beef, and what a way to get re-acquainted!   

Wagyu sandwich - this has always been one of my favorites at the restaurant, and as the guys egged me on, I inhaled it in one single bite...  What makes the sandwich - besides the obviously yummy beef - was the ripe and sweet tomato sauce.

雲丹,松葉かにトリュフ土鍋ご飯: sea urchin, matsuba crab truffle rice - the rice here has always been amazing, and tonight was no exception.  I, for one, cannot resist the combination of black truffles, sea urchin and crab meat.  As soon as the claypot was brought into the room, the fragrance permeated the air inside.  I had two bowls of this without any hesitation.

甘味: dessert - the custard had a couple of black soybeans at the bottom, and the syrup was made with muscovado (黒糖).  Pretty yummy.  there was also a chocolate-covered chestnut.

A very delicious meal, and I wish I had more stomach space to fit in more rice...

The main event were the wines, and tonight Juliano opened our eyes with a vertical of Margaux...including a pair of '61s!

1989 Philipponnat Clos des Goisses - very oxidized nose, dominated by salty plum (話梅), caramel, minerals, toasty oak and roasted nuts. Absolutely lovely and beautiful.  96 points.

1961 Margaux - savory minerals with soy sauce, big smoky nose but with obvious sweet fruit core. A bit of straw, brett, lead pencil. Surprisingly sweet on the palate but not sugary. 92 points. Breathed for 1½ hours in bottle.
1961 Palmer - sweet, grassy, slightly herbal and vegetal nose, with a little mushroom and light smoke. Slightly more tannic than the '61 Margaux. 94 points. Breathed for 1½ hours in bottle.
1990 Margaux - really sweet and jammy, with minerals, a little metallic and sharp, a bit smoky, exotic and tropical fruits like lychee. Wow! What an amazing wine! Finish was a little weak so this was just short of perfection. 96 points. 2 hours in decanter.

1995 Margaux - brett, medicinal, a bit of smoke, a little sharp but with some sweet fruit. 94 points.

1986 Margaux - lots of sweet grass, a bit smoky, slightly green and vegetal, smoky, brett, minty with minerals. 92 points.

1988 Margaux - smoky, brett, nose a little muted. Slightly more tannic.  92 points.

What a privilege to have been able to drink these beautiful wines!  Many thanks to Juliano for his generosity.

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