September 8, 2012

The debut performance

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Tonight marked a momentous occasion in the history of MNSC.  For the first time in more than 10 years,  we were inducting a new member to our little group.  As a few of us were spending most of our time away from Hong Kong, it was thought we needed new blood.  The topic was discussed at our last dinner and our new inductee was nominated and handily won over other candidates.  We wasted little time in getting him to host his very first dinner.

Megan's Kitchen (美味廚) was chosen as the venue - a location most of us know well, as we are friendly with the owner.  We were very much looking forward to some great food, and an evening of nothing but wines from Henri Jayer…

Appetizer Trio:
Deep-fried Bombay duck (椒鹽九肚魚) - the fillets are bigger than the strips I normally see, and not as melt-in-your mouth.  Delicious nonetheless.

Deep-fried tofu cubes (黃金豆腐粒) - not bad.

Deep-fried cuttlefish (椒鹽鮮魷) - deep-fried.  'Nuff said.  There seemed to be something extra other than the usual deep-fried garlic and chili… perhaps a little five spice (五香) or turmeric.  I couldn't stop eating this…

Double-boiled soup with pork and walnut (滋補核桃豬腱湯) - very sweet and delicious.

Deep-fried prawn toast (脆炸鮮海蝦多士) - this was certainly the premium version of the classic dish… with whole prawns.  Very yummy.

Deep-fried stuffed chicken wings (糯米飯釀脆雞翼) - this is dish number five and all of them have been deep-fried.  I was beginning to think that our host was deliberately sabotaging our palates!  This wasn't as good as a number of other versions of the same dish in town, since the stuffing was a little plain, but deep-fried food just tastes good…

Stir-fried crabs with scallions, ginger and rice vermicelli (薑蔥炒大肉蟹伴炒米粉) - soooo delicious, especially the vermicelli that has soaked up all the seasoning.  However, our host is continuing with his attempts to screw up our palates for red wine - ginger, scallions, crab…

Pan-fried ox tongue with honey marinade (香煎美味蜜糖汁咸牛脷) - I must confess that I have a thing for salted ox tongue, and this is even better with a little bit of honey marinade.

Tofu with truffled minced pork (黑松露免治豚肉絹豆腐) - what's not to like about something with black truffles?

Stir-fried kale with ginger sauce (薑汁炒碧綠芥蘭) - very good, sweet from natural sugars.

Boned steamed chicken with galanga (秘制去骨沙薑雞) - very good chicken, and the galanga sauce was delicious.

Glutinous rice balls with sesame filling in ginger broth (薑茶寧波芝麻蓉大湯丸) - soooo good… and what a way to finish this wonderful meal.

This being the debut dinner for our friend, we were naturally expecting him to generously share his vast collection of Henri Jayers with us.  Would this be a vertical of Cros Parantoux?  Alas, what was in store for us was something entirely different, but no less interesting.

1973 Dom Pérignon en magnum - lovely, mature, oxidized nose, with marmalade, apricot, straw and honey.  Round mid-palate but sharp and acidic on the finish.  What a beautiful wine!  Perfect condition.

First flight:
1991 Chave Cuvée Cathelin - blackcurrant, leather, cedar, floral, sweet on the nose.  Smooth but short on the finish.  Opened 5 1/2 hours earlier.  95 points.  It's actually pretty amazing to be able to taste this wine twice in the space of 2 months, and to have it at 2 MNSC dinners in a row.

1991 Méo-Camuzet Richebourg - nose was funky, stinky and smelled like cheese at first.  This funky side faded after 1 hour, and exotic coconut butter emerged.  More concentrated on the palate than the Chave.  Opened 3 1/2 hours earlier.  91 points.

1991 DRC Grands Echezeaux - very clean fruit, fragrant.  More body mid-palate.  Opened 3 1/2 hours earlier.  94 points.

Second flight:
1989 Haut-Brion - the nose was so medicinal, strong hospital disinfectant… with smoke, soy sauce and minerals.  Opened 7 hours earlier and decanted for 2 hours at the start.  93 points.

1989 Beaucastel Hommage à Jacques Perrin - a hint of smoke, but nose was initially not showing.  Later on there was some toasty corn and a little mineral.  Opened 7 hours earlier and decanted for 2 hours at the start.  90 points.

1989 Penfolds Grange - lots of tropical coconut butter, vanilla, smoke, mint, coffee… very exotic.  Sweet on the palate.  Opened 6 hours earlier and not decanted.  96 points and my wine of the evening.

Third flight:
1993 Ponsot Clos de la Roche - mint, dried herbs, a little floral and violet.  A little acidic on the palate.  92 points.

1993 DRC Romanée-Saint-Vivant - dusty, smoky with some fruit.  88 points.

This was an incredibly enjoyable evening.  Food was very delicious, even though the menu was really "heaty" and killed our palates for wine.  As for the wines… our host showcased some of the best offerings from different regions, and no one had cause to complain about the absence of Uncle Henri…  We hope this is the sign of things to come from our newest member!

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