October 5, 2014

Leaf day wine tasting

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Gayliao was in town for a few days, and took the opportunity to host his MNSC tasting tonight.  We kinda debated about where we would have dinner given all this Occupy business going on around town, and eventually settled on Seventh Son (家全七福).

Deep-fried chicken barbecued kidney in egg custard (雞子戈炸) - chicken "kidney"?!  Really?!  I always thought this was made with chicken testicles, if people were still using that as an ingredient at all...  I should probably ask the kitchen next time.  Anyway, the chicken flavor was certainly very prominent tonight... and tasted like chicken soup.

Deep-fried tofu cubes (椒鹽豆腐粒) - not bad.  Thankfully not too much chili and deep-fried garlic to mess with our palates.

Roast gold coin chicken (燒金錢雞) - I am still moaning the loss of my beloved Manor Seafood Restaurant (富瑤海鮮酒家) and the gold coin chicken there.  The thin slices of chicken liver, pork fat (think lardo or bacon without any red bits) and char siu (叉燒) is a heavenly combination, and the char siu was pretty charred around the edges.  This wasn't bad at all, but at half or even a third of the size of what I used to get at Manor, it just isn't nearly as satisfying.  If anyone is friendly with the owners behind the West Villa (西苑) group, please ping me because I have a proposition for them...

Double-boiled sea whelk broth with sliced dried yam and chicken feet (淮杞杏圓鳳爪燉螺頭湯) - pretty nice, with tiny longans, Chinese yam, goji (枸杞) berries and apricot kernels that have been cooked until slightly mushy.

Barbecued whole suckling pig (大紅片皮乳豬全體) - yum yum yum... Couldn't resist grabbing more pieces of the crispy crackling...

Tiger grouper two ways (老虎斑二味):
Stir-fried filet with black bean and green pepper (豉椒炒斑球) - not bad at all... one of the better preparations that doesn't involve steaming.

Steamed head and belly with jujube and black olive (紅棗欖角蒸頭腩) - a more interesting alternative to the standard Cantonese steamed fish, with Chinese black olive (欖角) instead of black beans.

Stir-fried wagyu cubes with kailan (蘭度炒和牛粒) - oh this was very, very good.  The wagyu was nice and fatty, while the kailan was just sweet, crunchy and delicious.

Traditional baked chicken in rock salt (正宗連雜鹽焗雞) - very good stuff, but the liver was pretty salty... while the gizzard was slightly better.

Fried rice with chicken and Indian almonds (油雞欖仁粒粒炒飯) - this was soooooo good!  With black fungus, carrots, corn, kailan, shiitake (椎茸) mushrooms, Indian almonds (欖仁) and spicy Chinese black olive.  I was full but just couldn't resist getting myself another bowl.  INHALED.

Walnut cookie (合桃餅) - the fragrance was irresistible.

Sesame sachima (芝麻沙琪馬)

As good as the food was tonight, our attention was squarely focused on the wines because, after all, it's an MNSC dinner!  Gayliao had served the wines to us slightly chilled - which was the right thing to do on hot summer days - but this meant that the nose for the wines was initially a little muted.

We were all wondering why there was a pattern of the wines seemingly not performing at their best, when our resident expert professional asked to check the biodynamic calendar.  As it turned out today was a leaf day, which was then taken to explain why the wines all did so poorly...  Pineapple then proceeded to rattle off a list of the best producers in Burgundy who are big believers in biodynamic viticulture, saying that they wouldn't even hold important tastings on a leaf or a root day.  Oooookay....

Anyway, just about all the wines drank well tonight, although looking back I suppose some of them could have performed even better than they had.

First pair: opened and poured 30 minutes before serving.
1970 Mouton-Rothschild - a little green with animal notes.  Some ripe fruit here.  Flat on the palate with relatively high acidity and short finish.  90 points.

1983 Mouton-Rothschild - nice ripe fruit, very farmy with lots of animal notes, smoky and minty.  93 points.

Second pair: opened and poured 30 minutes before serving.
1985 Jaboulet La Chapelle - good, ripe fruit with leather notes, smoky nose.  Really lovely and smooth.  A little lean and not too sweet on the palate.  94 points.

1985 Faiveley Chambertin Clos de Beze - sweet on the nose like candy.  A little tropical fruit.  Pretty light on the palate.  93 points.

Third pair: decanted almost two hours prior to serving.
1995 Petrus - really smoky, pencil lead.  A very big wine with animal notes, almost a little exotic.  Pretty tannic.  95 points.

1995 Rayas - really sweet, candy-like, alcoholic.  A little forest pine and very fragrant nose.  96 points.

Fourth pair:  Decanted about 1½ hours prior to serving.
1999 Rousseau Chambertin - toasted corn with ripe fruit.  Kinda tannic.  95 points.

1999 DRC Grands Échézeaux - really ripe and sweet, more metallic, forest notes.  96 points

Many thanks for Gayliao's generosity, and I'm a little disappointed with myself for not picking out the Faiveley...

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