March 11, 2012

Meeting Ann Colgin

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I'm a big fan of Californian wines, and I've been buying direct from some of the wineries for the better part of the last decade.  Colgin Cellars has long been a favorite among the Californian "cult wines", and a few years ago I was ecstatic to receive my first email informing me that, after a 3-year wait, I was finally off the waiting list and officially on the mailing list.

So you can imagine my excitement when one of my friends invited me to join her for an intimate lunch with the lovely Ann Colgin and her beaming husband Joe Wender.  This power couple was in town - like many power figures in the wine world today - for my friend Pineapple's wedding tonight.  But that's the subject for the next post...

We met up at Summer Palace (夏宮) since it was convenient for the guests, and a good chance for them to try a Michelin-starred restaurant in town.  Of course for me the food didn't really matter… I would have eaten at a dai pai dong or a McDonald's with them.  Unfortunately for the guests, our host had left the ordering up to me, so I can only hope that they weren't too disappointed with the food.

Baked barbecued pork buns (脆皮叉燒餐包) - slightly different from what I expected, as the outer layer was more crumbly than I had imagined.  Taste-wise this was not bad

Deep-fried bean curd skin rolls with shrimp and diced pork in bouillon (上湯鮮竹卷) - pretty decent.

Steamed pork dumplings with scallops (帶子蝦燒賣)

Steamed vegetarian dumplings (上素齋粉果) - these were pretty good.

Steamed fresh shrimp dumplings (水晶蝦餃皇)

Steamed Shanghainese pork dumplings with conpoy (瑤柱小籠包) - I didn't get to this while it was still piping hot, so I can't really tell how it compares with other xiaolongbaos.  I was definitely distracted, but didn't notice any conpoy flavors...

Pan-fried Japanese minced pork buns (黑豚肉生煎包) - very soft and puffy dough, which was unexpected.  I guess they used minced kurobuta (黒豚) meat but I think it might be wasted here…

Steamed spinach dumplings with diced scallops and goose liver paste (鵝肝醬帶子菠菜餃) - an interesting combination… there was a little bit of liver pâté but the flavors came mostly from the scallops and spinach.

Barbecued pork and roast pork belly (叉燒拼燒肉) - I wasn't sure that the guests would take the fatty pork belly as they seemed health conscious, but I hoped they would try at least a little piece…  The char siu was not bad, and I didn't ask for fattier cuts like I normally would.

Chinese mustard hearts in superior broth (上湯芥菜膽) - I was also worried that the slight bitterness of the veggie would be a little off-putting for the guests, but was relieved when they decided to have seconds.

Steamed thousand-layer sponge cake (千層糕) - not very good… bland and mushy.

Deep-fried dumplings with red bean paste - these were OK.

Knowing that Ann and Joe are lovers of Burgundy (they met at an Henri Jayer dinner, and own Camille Giroud), we decided to bring some light Burgs for lunch.

2000 Raveneau Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons - dug this out from my overflowing storage cellar.  Good acidity balance on the palate, clearly on the dry side compared to the sweeter, riper wines from more southerly appellations.  A little alcoholic, with honey and paraffin in the nose.  Minerality became very prominent on the palate together with seafood.

2001 Rousseau Ruchottes Chambertin Clos des Ruchottes - sweet, fruity and floral.  An absolutely lovely wine that was just like a soft, velvety blanket you want to wrap yourself in.

What an absolute pleasure it was to meet Ann and Joe today!  And I'm so looking forward to meeting them again next week at a dinner in Taipei featuring their wines!


Anonymous said...

Who the merchant that will host the dinner next week in Taipei? Thanks. Ben

Peech said...

Sotheby's is hosting several dinners around Asia in advance of their next auction, featuring older vintages of Colgin.


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