February 17, 2012

Shivering on the roof

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I was invited by the Specialist to join her friends for dinner tonight.  For some reason she thought it would be a good idea to do a barbecue on the rooftop above Hong Kong Wine Vault in February, although she did advise us to dress warm for the occasion.  I suppose it was my own fault for not adding a woolen layer underneath my jacket…

The first thing I noticed besides the temperature - which dropped lower as the evening went on - was the smoke.  Given that the evening was mostly about wine, the smoke was definitely an annoyance.  We would have been better off staying in the dining room downstairs…

As the evening went on, the wind picked up and I started to shiver.  My friend next to me very kindly lent me her spare scarf, but that wasn't enough.  I started spending more and more time standing next to the outdoor heat lamp, jokingly hugging them for warmth.  I probably looked like one of those unfortunate homeless people in the States, keeping warm by standing next to an open flame inside an oil drum…

There was a lot of food… starting with some sausages, meat balls and fish balls as snacks.  Some of these were coated in a honey glaze.  After we were seated, the more "serious" courses started to arrive…

The scallops were pretty big.  They were done mi-cuit so the centers were still pretty raw, although the edges were slightly on the tough side… which was probably a limitation of the cooking method.

The baby abalones were nice, although I could have done with a little less garlic.

The ox tongue was very tender and yummy…

…but I wasn't such a fan of the eel, even though the honey glaze made it slightly better.

The ribs were tender and tasty...

…and the pork chops were also very juicy and tender.

The beef wasn't bad, either… and we had side dishes like mixed mushrooms, mussels in white wine…etc.  We finished with some grilled pineapple that was pretty nice.

The highlight of the dinner, though, had to be the chicken wings.  They were a little more salty than I preferred, but delicious nonetheless.

As usual there was way too much wine.  Tonight there were 14 bottles for the 10 of us, although we did have the resident manager join us halfway and share the wines with us.

Egly-Ouriet Brut Tradition Grand Cru (disgorgement Juillet 2010) - toasty and mineral on the nose.  Pretty light and watery on the palate.

1999 Dom Pérignon - oaky with lots of toast, lemon.  Tart on the finish.

1999 Salon - more elegant and subtle compared to the last two, with very fine bubbles.  Very nice on the palate.  Asian spices and lemon notes.

2002 Kistler Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard - sweet and ripe on both the nose and palate, maybe a little over-ripe and became tart.  Lots of oak.  Actually lighter on the palate than expected.

2002 Bruno Clair Corton-Charlemagne - a little more grassy on the nose, lemon and buttery.

1994 Dominus - nose was a little muted at first… a little green with a hint of smoke, then savory minerals. Still a little grippy on the palate, which is evidence of the power that this wine possessed early on in life.

1991 Opus One - I drank a bottle of this wine a mere two days ago, but the two bottles were very different.  This one showed smoky, mineral notes which were savory, drawing out soy sauce, smoked meats and eventually coffee.  Very nice.

1996 Philip Togni - one of my favorite producers, and showing more Californian elements than the other two French transplants.  Smoky with some sweet fruit, tangerine and mint.

1990 Léoville-Las Cases - classic nose of smoke, a little earthy and medicinal.

1988 Léoville-Las Cases - not as enjoyable as the 1990… showing dusty, dirty and wet cardboard nose, along with some cigar smoke.

1964 Pio Cesare Barolo - a little wet cardboard, along with sweet grass and green peppers.

1989 Paul Jaboulet La Chapelle - sweet, tangerine, a little alcoholic still, very ripe, with a hint of plastic.  Later on the nose turned a little dusty.

1995 Chapoutier Ermitage Le Pavillon - pine needle, minty, forest, a little smoked meats and herbs.  Very interesting and fragrant.  My contribution drank surprisingly well.

1990 Schloss Schönborn Erbacher Marcobrunn Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese - lots of orange rind, acetone, honey, a little nutty, ripe grapes and raisin.  Very, very sweet and sticky.

Not surprisingly, this was a lot to drink and I was pretty drunk… and ended up falling asleep at the table once we left the rooftop and settled into the dining room at the end of the evening.  But I did get my second wind after a brief nap, and ended up being awake enough to appreciate the TBA I fished out of my cellar.  It's gonna be some hangover…

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