November 6, 2012

Rive Droite x Dark Side

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Hong Kong Wine Vault hosted a tasting of wines from Château La Conseillante and Clos Fourtet tonight.  I met Jean-Michel Laporte for the second time 2 years ago at an earlier tasting organized by Wine Vault, and do like their wines.  I am less familiar with Clos Fourtet, so the combination of the two châteaux made this an interesting event for me.

I arrived fairly late due to an earlier meeting, and fortunately it didn't take me too much time to cross over to the Dark Side and get to the industrial warehouse.  My late arrival, though, meant that I had to rush through the tasting and not spend too much time socializing.  In fact, I didn't spend any time speaking with the gentlemen responsible for making the wines…

2001 Clos Fourtet - really ripe, sweet and exotic, smoky.  Enjoyable.

2003 Clos Fourtet - bigger nose, more open and fragrant, with bacon fat, leather, mint, pine resin and smoke.  In fact this could almost pass for a Rhône…  Very nice.

2007 Clos Fourtet - sweet nose with coffee, a little smoke and mint.

2010 Clos Fourtet - more minty, potpourri, perhaps showing characters from the stems.  Later on showed sweet fruit.  Not bad at all given the young age of the wine.  It just needs more time.

1994 La Conseillante - first bottle was clearly corked, showing obvious wet cardboard notes on top of smoke.  I asked for a pour from the second bottle, and this time the wine showed smoky and minty notes.  Still grippy on the palate.  Not great.

1998 La Conseillante - lighter smoke initially, with metallic tones, then cigar smoke.

2006 La Conseillante - ripe and jammy, a little minty, pine resin.  Medium bodied with a slightly tannic finish.  Very enjoyable.

Unfortunately I didn't get to the 2009 La Conseillante before it ran out…

It was time to bail for dinner, and we walked down a nearby dark and dodgy alley to get to Hung Fook Hot Pot (鴻福海鮮四季火鍋).  This place is pretty well-known for a number of reasons, not the least of which for being featured in the movie Infernal Affairs (無間道) - the Hong Kong hit movie so successful that it inspired a Hollywood copycat in the form of The Departed.

Every table here seems to have two charcoal-burning pots - one for the hot pot, and another for grilling.  Broken tiles are placed on the table to shield it from the heat, but every table still has its wounds from the charcoal.  For most of the ingredients ordered, one can choose to grill it over open flame, or cook it in the hot pot broth.

We ordered a drunken chicken (醉雞) hot pot, and the chicken was well-marinated with Chinese wine.  The soup base had plenty of herbs and things like Chinese angelica (當歸) and wolfberries (枸杞).  The soup base made everything taste yummy.

We ordered some giant clams, grilled some and boiled some to try out different methods.  Grilling seemed to produce good results, as we forgot about the clams in the hot pot and overcooked them…

Baby abalone was also a good choice, and we put these over the grill as well.  As these were still alive, we witnessed their writhing as they reacted to the heat…

There was also some beef diaphragm (牛胸爽肉), which was yummy after a quick dip in the pot.  The local fatty beef was pretty good, too.

The waitress recommended these "BB/baby clams", which were kinda interesting.  Very strong "fishy" flavors, though...

Salt-baked crab (鹽焗蟹) - plenty of tomalley and roe.  I could definitely taste the enhancement from the salt.

We finished up with some chrysanthemum greens (茼蒿), which we cooked in the pot.  By this time the pot was full of goodness from the drunken chicken (we poured the excess wine marinade in the pot), the seafood, the beef and of course the herbs.  All of that added to the already distinctive flavor of the veggie, and of course there was some liquefied chicken fat coating which made the greens glisten…

Very, very full at the end of the evening.  We smelled like lumps of burning charcoal by the end of dinner, but left the place with big smiles on our faces.

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