March 27, 2013

Love and dishonor

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A year after my first (and second and third) meeting with them, I had the pleasure of seeing Ann Colgin and Joe Wender again.  They were back in Hong Kong for a few days, and hosted a tasting of their wines at Hong Kong Wine Vault tonight.

I was glad for another chance to catch up with Ann and Joe - who was beaming as usual - and took the chance to introduce them to Chef David from On Lot 10 - my date for the evening.  Maybe on a future visit to Hong Kong, we can organize a dinner with this group…

The wines we had were a little on the young side, but surprisingly some of them were already showing well.

As she did last year over dinner, Ann explained the significance of the "IX", which was the parcel number of the vineyard.  The number 9 also featured prominently at the couple's wedding.  The 2003 vintage of this wine was the first wines allocated to me when I got on to Colgin's mailing list.

2009 Colgin IX Estate Red - alcoholic, very fruity, sweet, tangerine with coffee notes.

2008 Colgin IX Estate Red - seemingly more concentrated, with forest, mint, eucalyptus, vanilla, oak and coffee notes.

Cariad is Welsh for "love".  The fruit comes from David Abreu, and is mostly from Madrona Ranch.

2009 Colgin Cariad - more metallic, mineral, forest and pine.  A little tannic.

2008 Colgin Cariad - pungent, farmy, animal, and a little medicinal.

I love that they make a Syrah.  Why do I not have more of this wine in my cellar?!

2009 Colgin IX Estate Syrah - Wow!  I was really liking the bacon and leather notes.  Fruity with blackberries, a little floral, smoky.  Still alcoholic.  What a beautiful wine!  Ann did whisper to me that she thinks this is the best vintage they've ever made...

2008 Colgin IX Estate Syrah - tangerine, sweeter, tropical fruits, banana.  Seemingly more alcoholic.

I very much look forward to cracking open some of these wines in… oh… another 10 years or so…

After bidding farewell to Ann and Joe, David and I headed off to grab some food.  We decided to stop in at Ronin to try our luck.  Well, I figured I was in good hands since David and Matt are pals, and Ronin is just a stone's throw from On Lot 10.

They were able to squeeze us in, and we stood in the back of the room and David ordered just a few things for us to nibble on…

Our amuse bouche was bamboo shoots in olive oil and sansho (山椒).

Tai sea bream sashimi. Karasumi. Yuzu - apparently this was done as a kobujime (昆布締め).  There was the slightest hint of yuzu (柚子), and that worked really well with the bottarga (カラスミ).

Ebisu rock oysters. Ponzu ice. Wakame - the oysters were nice and briny at first, but actually sweet and creamy inside.  Nice with a little citrus.

Market chips. Black sugar. Kyoto shichimi - we were told that they used sweet potato and "whatever they pickup"… there was definitely lotus root and what looked like purple sweet potato.  The sauce was interesting in that the combination reminded me of what's used in grilled eel.

Sardines. Pickled eggplant, Tomato. Cauliflower - so yummy.

Whitebait. Shiso tempura - interesting to dip the tempura into the shiso (紫蘇) salt on the side.

Tokyo turnips. Chorizo. Clams. Miso - this was an excellent warm salad.  Loved the acidity and spiciness here, along with turnip sprouts and garlic.

Fried quail. Orange. Sansho - absolutely loved the sansho on quail.  Funnily enough the combination of orange and sansho almost made me think of lemongrass…

Kagoshima beef. Maitake. Egg yolk - YUM!  This was like a sukiyaki (すき焼き), and the beef was barely cooked… and incredibly soft and velvety.  The maitake (舞茸) had absorbed a little much of the sauce and was just a little salty for me, but still very yummy.  Nor surprisingly the deep fried garlic chips really added a few extra points to this dish.

Udon. Mentaiko. Shiso - I'm not sure I got the shiso, but the burnt Korean chili was definitely front and center!  For some reason it instantly reminded me of the jar of homemade gochujang (고추장) still sitting in my fridge from 3½ years ago…  A nice way to wrap up the meal.

I washed down my food with a couple of glasses of Hitachino Nest White Ale (常陸野ネストホワイトエール), which was excellent and my type of beer - done in the style of Hoegaarden witbier.

This was a great evening - starting with some of my favorite wines and ending with some casual and good eats.  I had never been to Yardbird because it always seemed impossible to grab a seat, and naturally that perception carried over to Ronin when it opened.  Looks like I need to make more of an effort to come back for Matt's food…


johannes said...
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johannes said...

Where them Ronin pictures ?

Peech said...

Well, Your Highness, standing in the back of the room means no light, so of course there were no pictures… And I don't like flash photography


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