April 27, 2015

Vegetarian wine dinner

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After being treated to a fantastic lineup of 100-point wines last month, it was now time for the second MNSC tasting of the year.  This year we are doing things slightly out of order, and Curry was kind enough to act as host for tonight.  Knowing that some of us are increasingly concerned about our health, our gracious host asked the kitchen at Seventh Son Restaurant (家全七福) to come up with a special vegetarian menu for us.

I was told that the vegetarian food here was good enough to meet the standards of strict Buddhists, but I did have my doubts.  It is a Chinese kitchen, after all... and these days I don't trust many Chinese kitchens to cook without meat stock - not after what I went through last year.

Deep-fried vegetarian custard with wild mushrooms (野菌素戈炸) - this is supposedly the vegetarian version of the chicken custard, although a couple of us thought we tasted chicken... At least there were chopped bits of mushrooms here.

Stir-fried vegetarian shark's fin with bean sprouts (銀牙炒素桂花翅) - I really liked the glass vermicelli, since this was stir-fried at high heat.  The yellowed chives (韭黃) were definitely tasty.

Bird's nest soup with winter mushrooms (冬茸官燕羹) - pretty thick and viscous, no doubt with plenty of corn starch added on top of lots of winter melon purée.  A little bit of egg drop here, and a few Tonkin jasmine (夜香花) buds on top.  Very nice.

Pan-fried twin vegetarian treasures (煎釀素孖寶) - pieces of green bell peppers and eggplant were stuffed with paste that included finely diced water chestnut and mushrooms.  This is normally done with minced pork, and the vegetarian version came with a rather sticky texture.

Deep-fried taro cake (荔茸香酥餅) - very, very nice.  Basically it's my favorite taro duck without the layer of duck, but I still get to have the top layer of crispy taro mash.  Awesome.

Sweet and sour bearded tooth mushroom with pineapple (菠蘿咕嚕猴頭菇) - the vegetarian version of that classic dish... The bearded tooth mushrooms (猴頭菇) were surprisingly chewy.

Eggplant with Japanese tofu and vermicelli casserole (薑蔥茄子日本腐件粉絲煲) - awesome dish.   Plenty of spring onions and garlic here to accompany the tofu and eggplant.  Surprisingly the vermicelli tasted of crab... or at least it was sweet like the crab vermicelli that I love so much.

Fried rice with termite mushroom (油頭瑽粒粒炒飯) - another dish that was excellent because it was stir-fried at high heat.  Couldn't resist having a second serving.

Black sesame rolls (芝麻卷) - my favorite dessert here.

We also had a fruit plate to finish, and I took the opportunity to fill up - and probably exceed - my quota for that food group.

We weren't the least bit surprised by the wines our host had in store for us this evening.  After all, we don't call him Curry Jayer for nothin'...

1989 Krug Collection - opened 3 hours prior to serving.  Absolutely beautiful nose.  Oxidized nose with savory minerals, marmalade, a little bit toasty, flinty, yeasty.  Not much bubbles here.  The palate was a little weird, and the acidity was mild.

First flight: opened 70 minutes prior to serving.
1980 Henri Jayer Echezeaux - very clean, nice nose with animal, a little toast, a little stinky, slightly grassy, and almost a little floral.  93 points

1981 Henri Jayer Echezeaux - a little fruitier, a little richer, a little sweet and exotic.  94 points

Second flight: opened 2 hours and 15 minutes prior to serving.
1990 Rouget Echezeaux - younger than the first flight.  Slightly sharper nose, with nice fruit and toasty notes.  93 points

1993 Rouget Echezeaux - much richer and riper, with forest notes.  Beautiful.  95 points

Third flight: opened 3 hours prior to serving.
1988 Méo-Camuzet Richebourg - animal, sweet fruit, and leather notes.  94 points

1993 Méo-Camuzet Richebourg - bigger, with more toast on the nose.  95 points

Fourth flight: opened and decanted 3½ hours prior to serving.
2004 DRC Echezeaux - tons of floral notes, violet, forest, leather, and bacon fat.  Pretty sweet on the nose.  High acidity on the palate.  Beautiful... just fucking awesome.  97 points

2002 DRC Echezeaux - really sweet nose, very floral, violet, with bacon fat and leather.  Really beautiful.  98 points

Wow!  Another evening of amazing wines with this gang, and once again our host moved us with his generosity.  As a wine merchant friend remarked later, I guess we're just doing our bit to reduce the supply side of the equation for all those Jayer bottles...

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