December 11, 2013

The long lunch

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For the last few years I've been getting invitations to join some friends for a "long lunch" in mid-December.  A bunch of wine lovers take half a day of work, get together and unwind as we close out the year.  Unfortunately for one reason or another, I've never been able to attend in past years.  This year, though, I decided that I needed a break from work... so I put my hand up and asked the boss for a half-day off.

I arrived at Hong Kong Wine Vault and headed for the rooftop.  The weather turned out to be real nice today, and as the sun came out the temperature actually got pretty warm.  More than 20 of us gathered at lunch today, including most of the MNSC boys.  The Ox had arranged for the Press Room to cater the event since there were barbecue grills on premise, and we had plenty of food to go around.  I nibbled on some corn on the cob, yummy, fatty lamb chops, sliders, barbecued chicken wings... but kept my food intake in moderation.

The three co-hosts had all celebrated their 40th birthdays this year, and were rolling out some birth vintage wines along with others.  Some of the guests brought along other interesting bottles, and as usual some of us went downstairs to dig out more bottles from our cellars as the day progressed.  This would turn out to be a real eclectic mix...

2010 Jean-Marc Boillot Puligny-Montrachet - oaky, toasty, lemon citrus on the nose.  Nice acidity on the palate.

1973 Maison Roche de Bellene Volnay 1er Cru Santenots - savory like black olives, ripe, a little stewed fruit and slightly tired.  Lovely and interesting ruby color.  Almost took it for a dark rosé...

1973 Chave Hermitage Rouge - violet and floral nose, with farmy and bacon fat notes.  Very lovely and drinking well.

1973 Latour en jeroboam - what a beautiful wine!  Minty, smoky, earthy, tea leaves, dried herbs... Very fresh and vibrant.  Smooth on the palate but by no means light and diluted.  A little acidity on the back palate.  Wow!  This is meant to be ex-château stock from an auction house, and it really shows!

1992 Château de la Maltroye Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Grandes Ruchottes - mature, caramelized nose, sweet with Chinese licorice notes.

1973 Tortochot Chambertin - nice and sweet fruit, acidity a little high, a little savory.  Long and spicy finish.

1998 Bouchard La Romanée - minty, a little potpourri, perhaps fermented without de-stemming?  Good power here, but needs more time.

1998 Jean-Jacques Confuron Romanée-St-Vivant - fresh, fruity, pine needle notes.  Lovely and open.  Much more ready than the La Romanée.

1975 Ducru-Beaucaillou - sweet, grassy, smoky.  Pretty open.

1963 Averys Romanee St. Vivant - nose of leather, animal and sweet fruit.

1971 Maison Leroy Echezeaux - a little savory with a little fruit.  Not open yet and gone too quickly.  My contribution.

1994 Rayas en magnum - fruity, sweet, cool fruit, pine needle, potpouri, a little ripe.  Drinking very nicely.

Macallan 18 Years, distilled in 1973 - really beautiful and nutty.  The old style of Macallan.

1998 Yquem en demi-bouteille - polyurethane, honey, apricot and nutty.

1981 Rayas - leather and animal notes.  Very nice.

1987 Guigal La Turque - so much bacon fat, sweet and round.  Drinking beautifully.  Awesome.

1990 Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses en demi-bouteille - a little tight, not great. sharp alcohol with shiitake mushroom notes.  A pity that this was drunk just after opening, without proper aeration.  My contribution.

1996 Domaine Leroy Romanée-St.-Vivant - forest, sweet fruit, beautiful, nice with dried herbs.  Pretty rich and powerful.

1997 Gaja Barbaresco Sori San Lorenzo - smoky, nice concentration, drinkable now and very nice on palate.

This picture was taken about halfway through the afternoon, so not all the bottles were in the picture...

...and this was a nice little pile of corks...

I arrived at 12 noon, got home at 7pm, went straight to bed and slept for 11 hours...  Let's see what happens next year.

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